How Will CRM Fare in the Age of the Wearable?
2015 has largely been pegged by analysts as the year in which wearable technology will become mainstream, with a number of new devices flooding the market in recent months, from Apple’s first range of smart watches, to virtual reality (VR) and augmented reality (AR) headsets. New products launches from several other major technology manufacturers — among them Sony, Huawei, LG and Samsung — over the coming year is likely to further accelerate the uptake of wearable devices.
The rapid rise of wearable tech is also expected to have significant implications for the Customer Relationship Management (CRM) market, with a new Market Report from marketing intelligence provider Key Note predicting that vendors will becoming increasingly responsive to the ever-diverse range of devices now hitting the high street, particularly as such devices offer numerous possibilities to the enterprise in gaining key insight into consumer behaviour, by enabling businesses to connect with customers anywhere and at anytime.
The sophistication of such devices, many of which can monitor a range of data points, from pupil dilation to heart rate and physical activity, is also expected to provide a more holistic view of the consumer to businesses, thus helping brands to build more relevant, personalised and, importantly, targeted sales and marketing campaigns, based on a particular customer’s behaviour.
Several CRM vendors have already begun to adapt to the new age of the wearable with the launch of adaptable platforms and applications specifically designed for integration with wearable tech. Market leader Salesforce, for example, announced the launch of the Salesforce Wear Developer Pack in 2014, the industry’s first initiative for wearable computing in the enterprise, which so far supports a range of wearable devices, including Android Wear, ARM, Fitbit and Pebble, among others. Other CRM vendors have also begun to collaborate with wearable technology manufacturers; for example, Microsoft Dynamics is now compatible with Google Glass, while the recent launch of Microsoft’s own AR hardware Hololens is likely to provide further cross-expansion opportunities in the future.
Meanwhile, in November 2014, SAP announced that it would be partnering with Samsung to create a host of CRM applications (apps) designed specifically for compatibility with wearable devices. The partnership will combine Samsung hardware, the Android platform, SAP mobile applications and the SAP HANA cloud platform to create tools that will help organisations develop business apps focused on wearable tech.