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Apps Will Unlock the True Potential of Wearables

16/07/2014 14:31 BST | Updated 15/09/2014 10:59 BST

Wearable devices are one of the hottest technology topics at the moment. From the recent launch of Google Glass in the UK, to the battle of the smart watches and the release of Pebble, we are fascinated by these devices. But translating fascination into actual uptake is another matter. Ultimately wearables will only achieve the level of sales enjoyed by other similar technologies, such as smartphones and tablets, if we deem them to be useful enough to our everyday lives. Let's face it - most of us are not going to wear Google Glasses, or a Pebble unless there is a massive benefit for us.

Wearable technologies definitely have the potential for a pivotal impact on the way we live and work, helping us become more efficient - be that by switching on the oven on your way home, monitoring your heart rate during a morning jog, or participating in a training session on your glasses.

However, this success will only be possible if consumers buy into the practicality of the applications. Think of the early days of the smartphone - the most obvious and relevant parallel to draw on. Smartphones really took off when consumers realised that they were more than just a phone in a pretty shell - the apps could not only entertain, but also educate and help us be more productive in our professional lives. And in doing so, applications became the making of the smartphone. This is the same process that wearable devices will have to go through because, at a basic level, we are not likely to buy a device we do not think will enrich our lives in some way.

Analysts forecast that spending on wearable technology will hit $19 billion by 2018; but for wearable device spend to come close to that figure, app developers will need to be encouraged to create with the same vigour and ingenuity we saw at the beginning of the smartphone revolution.

That's why we need initiatives like Salesforce Wear, which empowers developers to create enterprise apps for wearable devices. Platforms like these will encourage rapid app development for wearables that will fuel their popularity, enabling them to reach the level of success enjoyed by tablets and smartphones.

And it isn't all about consumers either. As we have seen with mobile computing, technology trends that start in the consumer space often cross over to the enterprise world as employees seek to replicate their home experience in the work environment. Enterprise apps for wearables will not only boost business productivity and efficiency but I believe will be an important contributor to enabling wearable technology to reach that $19 billion figure within four years.

'There's an app for that...' was ingrained into our collective consciousness as we flocked to buy the devices which enabled us to access apps for everything we could imagine. It is now over to developers to create these apps-we-can't-do-without for wearables. Only then will this technology achieve mainstream success.