After months of waiting and weeks of digesting the initial media reviews, the Apple Watch is finally available to the masses. Though gadgets like Google Glass and Samsung’s own line of Gear watches came before it, the Apple Watch marks wearables’ definitive entrance into the mainstream.
Despite its availability in a trio of models, a mix of colorful bands and a wide range of prices ($349 to $17,000), the latest Apple device aims to be more than a luxury timepiece. The Apple Watch—along with other wearables on the market today—is positioned as a lifestyle device, a tool to help busy people navigate their busy lives more easily. Given this premise, we can probably expect tech-forward consumers to introduce wearables to the workplace soon enough.
It’s taken years for most organizations to acclimate to employees’ smartphone and tablet dependencies (especially in the realm of BYOD); wearables only add another layer of complexity to situation. Here, we take a look at the pros and cons that the Apple Watch and other wearables may have on office meeting behavior.
Cons: Wearables Just a semi-fashionable distraction for conferencing
One of the most prominent arguments made against wearables is the same one waged against its mobile predecessors: they’re another source competing for employees’ attention. We already know that mobile conferencing attendees are distracted mid-call; it’s easy to see how smartwatches and other wearables enable those habits.
Though the Apple Watch has been heavily promoted as a way to minimize reliance on our phones, it’s still another screen to look at and another vehicle for constant updates. Its incorporation of haptic feedback (essentially using small “taps” or vibrations rather than audio signals for notifications) is another novelty that could prove disruptive during in-person and virtual meetings, at least in the short-term.
Pros: Wearables boon for meeting etiquette and efficiency
On the other hand, wearables do offer a degree of functionality that just might make conferencing logistics faster and less frustrating.
Having meeting reminders pop up on your wrist or a micro-screen in front of your eyes stands to improve dial-in punctuality. It’s harder to ignore a notification that you’re wearing than one on your phone, especially when said phone is buried in a bag or left in another room. In the event that conference attendees are running late, a smartwatch could allow them to quickly text other participants and reschedule the meeting with a few taps.
Looking ahead, advancements in proprietary and third party wearable apps may bring even more conferencing benefits. InterCall users, for example, can take advantage of our Reservationless-Plus Passbook integration to access and maintain updated call credentials via the Apple Watch.
It’s too early to tell exactly how the Apple Watch will resonate with consumers or how it will impact the workplace. Whether it becomes a best seller or not, it’s still a harbinger of wearables’ significance—and a reason for companies to start bracing for the next wave of employee technology use.
What are your thoughts on wearables? How do you see them fitting in to conference calls and other office processes?