Kronos the workforce management service provider which advertises its services with “Workforce Innovation that Works” has worked with Harris Poll to create a study of the use of wearable devices at work and at home.
The study looked at the use of wearable technology at work, at home and how 281 believe wearables will benefit the workplace. The survey polled 9,126 adults in Australia, China, France, Germany, India, Mexico, Great Britain and the USA during September 8 – 16, 2014. There are no error margins available as the survey is not based on a probability sample and the results should be viewed more as trends than as statistically valid numbers. Nevertheless, the results are surprising and require some analysis to understand what they really convey.
First of all, the term wearable is used in a very literal way and includes anything technical that can be worn. This will include headphones, security badges for access control and the like. This is certainly a much wider definition than our typical wearables definition but based on this wider definition the high usage rates becomes more understandable.
According to this survey, the adoption of wearable devices at work as well as in the home is highest in China, India and Mexico. These three nations make up over one third (roughly 38%) of the world’s population, which certainly makes a statement about the acceptance of wearables by consumers. Some of these numbers may be explainable by the unusually wide definition of wearable technology, but there is no reason to believe that these countries will change their position towards wearable devices, once the devices become smarter.
It also shows that there is a disconnect between the countries developing such technologies and the countries most likely to use them. The leading countries in this survey have used less advanced technologies at home and at work, which may have lowered the barrier of entry to this kind of technology in these countries.
Other findings in the survey show that 31% of employed US adults have no concerns about using wearables at work, though 44% believe that privacy concerns could be an issue. This may explain the hesitation of US employees when it comes to wearable technology. As it seems for now, developing nations have a greater affinity to new technology than established economies. This is another technology adoption that the US is not leading. It will be interesting to see if this expands to all future technologies and all developing nations. – Norbert Hildebrand