Salesforce.com Inc. is announcing a slew of new partnerships with some major league wearable device makers, including Jawbone and Oculus, as well as eight new apps built for its ecosystem – all in the service of making wearables attractive to the enterprise.
Back in June, Salesforce launched Salesforce Wear, a device ecosystem with enterprise-targeted apps built on the company’s Salesforce 1 platform. Back then, it had some hefty wearables working with it – the Pebble smartwatch, Google Glass, Samsung Gear, Android Wear, plus two Canadian offerings, the Myo armband from Thalmic Labs in Kitchener-Waterloo, as well as the Nymi wristband from Toronto’s Bionym.
Now, Salesforce is announcing it’s now supporting even more devices, like the Oculus Rift virtual reality headset, the Jawbone Up fitness tracker, the Epson Moverio smart glasses, Meta Glasses’ 3D smart glasses, and the Vuzix M100 smart glasses – giving Salesforce.com Wear compatibility with almost all of the major players in wearable devices.
Yet it’s going further than that in its bid to get the enterprise on board with using wearables – not a small feat, considering a lot of the devices seem designed for consumer use. In fact, at first blush, vendors were dubious, says Daniel Debow, senior vice-president of emerging technologies at Salesforce.
“When we started this initiative, we sort of had to convince the vendors that no, enterprise is really a great opportunity … What a change a few months has made, since we started talking about this and evangelizing,” he says.
While Debow didn’t have any hard numbers on consumer interest, saying it was still early, he says what convinced vendors to join the ecosystem was the lure of being able to scale up.
“We wanted to build this platform that [vendors] could be on. We wanted to connect their devices to developers, and I think that’s probably the thing that got them the most excited,” he says.
“Even though all these device manufacturers have created [software development kits] for people to build apps on top of them, none of them have built what the Salesforce1 cloud provides. And that is the ability to build real business apps with workflow, triggers, rules, database structure, UX components, and that they’re truly multi-platform. And not just those components, but also the scalable cloud infrastructure.”
To go along with its wearable device partnership announcements, the company announced a slate of new enterprise apps:
- 2lemetry’s app for seniors who want to stay connected from home. Using the SafetyCare wearable device, the app allows them to ask for help during an emergency.
- Alpine Metrics’ app allowing salespeople to track trends and get analytics on things like order estimates.
- APX-Labs, allowing hydro or telecom employees working in the field to log cases remotely in the Salesforce Service Cloud.
- Brivo Labs, working with Bionym’s Nymi wristband to authenticate a user’s identity so he or she can access a laptop or physical space, based on his or her unique cardiac rhythm.
- ClickSoftware, working with the Samsung Gear II to help employees clock in and out on their shifts.
- Etherios’ series of apps, which monitor patients’ health after they leave a hospital. The apps tap into data from connected scales, blood pressure cuffs, and so on, but allow patients to get better from home, rather than in a hospital bed.
- FacialNetwork’s HospitalityID app, which allows customer service employees to recognize guests through using smart glasses and data from Salesforce 1.
- Proximity Insight’s Android Wear app, designed to help staff in the hospitality industry with recognizing VIP guests within the range of their location. That gives them more insight into how they can personalize a guest’s experience by meeting his or her specific needs.
Still, with all of these wearables coming into the enterprise, there is still some room for thought on creating good experiences that don’t infringe too much upon user privacy – especially as people begin using wearables for work.
“With every application, there’s a tradeoff between value and privacy. I think what really needs to be thought about in the enterprise is, how are you adding value to the consumer experience in a way they feel comfortable that they’re trusting you with their information?” Debow says. “We can’t stick our heads in the sand and say, capital ‘P’ privacy, we can’t innovate. I think we need to figure out the right way to look at the right experience.”
All of the apps announced today should be available within the next month or so, though some of them are already available in the Salesforce AppExchange, Debow says.