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Businesses Urged to Make Time for Apple Watch

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Following in the footsteps of smartphones and tablets, wearables are poised to become the next mobile workplace companion, according to a survey from MobileIron, a mobile device management (MDM) company.

The study, conducted by Harris Poll, revealed that 36 percent of mobile device users already own a wearable device like the Moto 360 or Pebble Steel, or are at least somewhat likely to purchase one. The research firm polled 3,521 workers who use mobile devices to perform their jobs in the U.S., France, Germany, Japan, Spain, and the U.K.

Of those smartwatch owners and potential buyers, a staggering 94 percent said they want to use wearables for work purposes. "We have seen headlines about the massive consumer demand for Apple Watch, but it is astonishing to see this level of enterprise demand before it is even available," said Ojas Rege, vice president of strategy at MobileIron, in a statement.

The Apple Watch retail launch is today, April 24, in nine territories, the U.S., Australia, Canada, China, France, Germany, Hong Kong, Japan, and the UK. "We can't wait for people to start wearing Apple Watch to easily access information that matters, to interact with the world, and to live a better day by being more aware of their daily activity than ever before," said Apple CEO Tim Cook in remarks to the press.

Some industry watchers are already predicting gangbusters sales in 2015, despite the late start.

CCS Insight, a technology analyst group, predicted in February that Apple will sell 20 million Watches in 2015. Last month, Strategy Analytics provided a more conservative estimate of 15.4 million Apple smartwatch shipments this year. However, both firms agree that the Apple Watch's arrival will help drive smartwatch adoption across the board.

To enterprises, the message is clear: Get ready for the smartwatch invasion. "Businesses should be updating their mobile strategies to include data and privacy protections that take Apple Watch into account," Rege said.

MobileIron's findings provide insights into how businesses may want to prioritize their wearable device management and security initiatives. For device vendors and app developers, the survey offers clues into the capabilities that professionals are seeking from wearable solutions.

Among those looking forward to wearables-enabled productivity, 58 percent said they want to use their devices to read emails. Another 58 percent want to make phone calls while 46 percent said they would like the ability to compose emails.

Receiving alerts and reminders was a sought-after feature for 43 percent of wearable device supporters. Thirty-nine percent want access to their calendars; 37 percent want to read documents; and finally, 28 percent want to surf their companies' intranets.

Pedro Hernandez is a contributing editor at Datamation. Follow him on Twitter @ecoINSITE.

Photo courtesy of Shutterstock.

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