Tuesday, May 15, 2018

What Are You “Wearing?”

For Mother’s Day my daughters decided to pitch in and present their mother with an upscale fitness tracker that resembles an oversized watch. Actually, it is an oversized watch. Since she’s a faithful gym attendee, it was both a practical necessary gift – although the early returns are in and she’s paying far more attention to it than she is any of us.

Recently, I had been noticing more gym members with fitness “wearables” obsessively monitoring their heart rates and oxygen levels (often to my annoyance while endlessly waiting to use a piece of equipment) and decided to perform some ad hoc research on the market.

Turns out that some 315 million wearable devices were sold worldwide last year and by 2022 – just four short years from now, sales are expected to top $75 billion, (yes, that’s with a B). Obviously high-profile wearables such as the Apple Watch dominate the category and according to tech research Gartner, sales of smartwatches will hit 81 million units within a span of three years.

That gave me pause.

Although I’m about three area codes of being knowledgeable on future tech trends, I could not help but harken back some 37 years ago when IBM rolled out its version of the PC and in just a few short years revolutionized back office accounting.

So my question is how long before wearable technology beings to make inroads into accounting?

Not long. In fact it already has.

Receipt Bank, a provider of automated bookkeeping and data entry applications has already become one of the first vendors to make its Practice Platform available on the Apple Watch. I’m not exactly going out on a limb here predicting that others will follow and very soon. And some probably have already.

The application identifies which clients are submitting data and signals how long clients are keeping their receipts and invoices before submitting them.

Meanwhile, in an employee survey Big Four firm PwC discovered that 44 percent of its employees would agree to a company issued wearable whereupon their employer would be able to extract data from not to mention such things as calendar and emails coming straight to the wrist so to speak.

With conference season now in full swing, it will be interesting to visit a number of the vendor booths to see which ones are making the migration to wearables.

I just don’t want them encouraging anyone to check their emails while working out.

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