Is that a computer on your wrist, or are you just pleased to see me?

Wearable computing generated a buzz at this year's Consumer Electronics Show. Business use might not be far behind.

Inside the Enterprise: Wearable technology is not new. Those of us who grew up in the 1980s will remember the original Sony Walkman. Long before anyone invented a smartphone, unsociable teenagers would hide underneath their headphones, listening to mix tapes.

Wearable tech? Yes, the Walkman came with a belt clip. There was even a lurid, yellow, water-resistant Sports version.

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Today, playing music is simply another app. So the electronics industry has moved on. At this year's Consumer Electronics Show (CES), companies queued up to show wearable computing, especially smart watches.

Smart watches, again, are not new. Microsoft developed smart watch technology 10 years ago, through a service called MSN Direct. This streamed information, such as weather reports, and even email, to digital watches.

Wearable tech? Yes, the Walkman came with a belt clip. There was even a lurid, yellow, water-resistant Sports version.

At the time, they were quite a fun idea, but the high-end watches made by Microsoft partners such as Fossil and Suunto didn't really catch on. MSN Direct was switched off in the US in 2008.

But now, with high-speed cellular broadband, and the ability to synch a watch, or other wearable technology, to a very powerful smartphone, the electronics industry is looking at wearables again. So, too, are businesses.

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There is more to wearable technology, even smart watches, than simply fashion or convenience. Enterprises are looking at the technology from two angles: as a tool that can be used within the business, and as another channel to interact with their customers.


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