By Sarah Patrick

As more people access information online and from mobile devices, advice for small businesses increasingly focuses on the importance of having a user-friendly website and going mobile. As the Internet of things (IoT) and connected devices dominate tech news and demonstrate a growing emphasis on frictionless interactions, a new question arises for small businesses: should we embrace wearable technology?

Answering this question is more difficult than hiring a web designer to improve your website or an app developer to enhance your company’s mobile capabilities. As wearable technology continues to evolve, deciding whether to incorporate wearables into your business plan demands much research and reflection. To help you navigate this decision, consider these three factors that often motivate small businesses to embrace wearable technology.

1. Provide Access to Service on Multiple Platforms

Extending a web and/or mobile presence to wearables allows a business not only to implement a third way to access its product, service, or content but also to connect with an audience that finds being tethered to a computer or mobile phone undesirable. A wearable application for an existing device, such as the Apple Watch or Android Wear, allows customers to engage with a company in a new way.

For example, Medisafe, a business that promotes patient adherence to prescribed medications, decided to incorporate a wearable application that focuses on reminders and notifications. Users can see the medications they need to take throughout the day in a virtual pillbox and set up reminders so that they never forget a dose. Medisafe’s wearable application enables the company to connect with its customer in a way that enhances the user experience. Ensuring adherence to medications, Medisafe’s overarching mission, becomes easier and more convenient with a wearable device.

2. Take Advantage of Wearable Technology’s Proximity to the Body

Wearables’ proximity to the body allows a business to close the physical gap between its product and the consumer. This increased connectivity habituates the user to embrace the service provided by the company wholeheartedly. In some cases, this proximity and habituation may help a small business achieve its goal more efficiently.

For example, Tarasov Mobile, a mobile application development company, built its company around the mobile app, Chaos Control, which aims to improve productivity. Tarasov Mobile decided to extend its mobile capabilities to wearables after realizing that a wearable would decrease the amount of time spent interacting with a phone, thus improving productivity even more. 

3. Embrace Early Adopter Opportunity

Small businesses that decide to incorporate wearable technology into their business plan may benefit from the excitement and untapped potential of the new technology. Wearables not only provide another way for customers to access services and interact with a business but also allow a business to improve what they offer.

For example, Sickweather, a mobile platform that acts as a Doppler radar for illness, took advantage of the early adopter opportunity with the Apple Watch to develop a brand new part of its business: the Sick Score. The wearable application focuses on communicating the Sick Score, a threat level index that is calculated based on the reproductive scores of the contagious illnesses tracked in a certain area.

These opportunities not only highlight the factors that color business’ decisions to develop on a new platform but also hint at the variety of use cases for wearable technology. Wearables are not for enterprise use only. Rather, these motivating factors and corresponding case studies demonstrate how the new technology can improve a small business.