Despite all the hype that greeted the announcement of the Apple Watch, after the vendor unveiled plans last night to launch a model early next year, the product is unlikely to set many pulses beating much faster in the channel.
Although the wearable technology product category is growing with watches, glasses and users being encouraged to carry smart phones with applications, the impact on the channel so far has been fairly low key.
In the B2B sector the only proven wearable technology is the long established headset and the applications for some of the latest products hitting the market are yet to make ripples in the enterprise space, apart from yet another way to receive email and browse the web.
"It will be some time before the Apple Watch and other ‘smartwatches’ make any impact on the enterprise market. While Apple’s entry into the market is big news for the consumer electronics industry and will inevitably raise interest in the devices, it is just too early to tell what the long-term impact will be in the business world and public sector. This is due to the fact that smartwatches still have no clear use case in business," said Iain Tomkinson, director, ASM Technologies.
ASM specialises in trying to provide technology for customers no matter how niche and obscure it is but has found that so far the calls from the channel for wearable tech have been quite muted.
"Aside from a handful of low volume orders for testing/development purposes, we have seen very little interest in wearables among the IT channel so far. Most telling of all perhaps is that of those resellers that have ordered a small numbers of units for testing, none have followed up with larger orders," added Tomkinson.
The places where wearable technology will converge with the channel is in providing the infrastructure to help support those users that want to connect devices to the corporate network as well as extending security to cover the latest gizmos.
The BYOD movement has already caused some of that investment to be made but the growth of more devices looking for a wi-fi connection could create some more channel opportunities.
"Businesses just aren’t taking wearable technology seriously enough. Very few are prepared for the impact that these devices will have on the corporate network," said Austin O'Malley, chief product officer at Ipswitch.
"Even the healthcare sector, the much hailed early adopter of wearable technology, is not prepared for Apple throwing it’s might behind the wearable device. A recent Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) request by Ipswitch revealed that when asked specifically about managing wearable technology entering the workplace – from Google Glass to smart watches – 83% of NHS trusts admitted to having no strategy in place," he added.
"Businesses and organisations need to plan ahead for WYOD before it impacts on network performance and security. The sheer volume of additional devices connecting to the network is likely to slow down performance. Also, there are of course, security concerns linked to these easily discussable gadgets," he said.
The Apple Watch is going to be available in two sizes and will run apps, provide fitness activity tracking as well as provide the normal watch functions and is going to cost around £216 and be available from early next year.