Do smart watches have a place in business?

With Samsung launching the Galaxy Gear and Apple rumoured to announce the iWatch, will smart watches find a home in the boardroom?

Samsung's latest Galaxy Gear smart watch is much more than just a device to tell the time.

It connects to a Samsung Galaxy S4, S3, Note 2 or Note 3 and will become compatible with the Galaxy S4 mini, S4 Active, Mega 5.8, Mega 6.3, and S4 zoom.

The Galaxy Gear allows you to make and answer calls and view incoming messages and notifications via the watch's 1.63-inch screen. If you want to view the whole notification, you can pick up your Samsung Galaxy device and it will automatically show new messages, missed calls, text messages or any other supported notification in full, without you touching a button.

Smart watches are more likely to enter the boardroom via consumer use cases. Thus far, all the smart watches I've seen have been aimed at early adopters. The market is still waiting for the right combination of practicality, simplicity, and style for the category to go mainstream.

There's a 1.9-megapixel camera onboard, although the photos you can expect to take on the device won't win any awards. You can also control a range of other phone features via the watch, including the music on your mobile nd measuring your activity during the day with a pedometer.

Apps can be installed on the watch, although it's pretty slim pickings at the moment.

The Galaxy Gear has been targeted more at consumers than business users, but with Apple rumoured to launch a watch in the coming months, does this mean a shift for wearable technology like the smart watch? Indeed, we saw business phone policies shift towards BYOD/CYOD as people increasingly turned to the iPhone as an all-in-one business and pleasure solution. Will history repeat itself?

Avi Greengart, research director of consumer devices at Current Analysis, thinks wearable technology and, in particular, smart watches will begin to gain momentum in the workplace.

"I can certainly imagine plenty of business use cases for wearable technology - providing alerts, physical and digital access, personnel tracking, hands-free communication, and more," he said.

"To an extent, these uses are enabled today by other "wearable" technology such as pagers and key cards."

This doesn't mean smart watches will become a business necessity though.

"Smart watches are more likely to enter the boardroom via consumer use cases. Thus far, all the smart watches I've seen have been aimed at early adopters. The market is still waiting for the right combination of practicality, simplicity, and style for the category to go mainstream."

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