Big 4 views on wearables invokes contempt

Profile picture for user gonzodaddy By Den Howlett May 7, 2014
Summary:
Wearables is an exploding market but have the Big 4 got their pitch right?

wearables

I'm a huge fan of Adrienne Gonzalez, the scourge of the US accounting profession and the Big 4 in particular. In her 'analysis' around some of the takes by PwC and Deloitte, she has this to say:

If the future includes walking around with an implant in my thigh (for what, exactly?) and all this crap strapped on me like I'm on house arrest in 1995, FORGET IT.

The firms are really starting to hype this crap up, first with Deloitte shilling over at WSJ and now this. PwC is on it, too.

The unhealthy Jawbone UP has a 60 day lifeBarely a week goes by since I was musing on the benefits of the 'healthy enterprise' and one of my f…Sep 6 2013diginomica.comI'm quite interested in wearables although I am no fan of the Jawbone UP, which regular readers will recall I marked down as a massive #fail. And Fitbit hasn't been without its problems either.  But it's hard to argue on the personal impact of wearing something around the ankle as Gonzalez suggests although I am not sure 1995 is the correct year.

Scratching the surface, it is easy to understand what piqued Gonzalez' ire. This from Deloitte and where the image above was taken:

Rethink how work could get done with the aid of an ever-present computing device that delivers the desired information when it’s needed. Organizations that get a head start could gain an advantage over their wait-and-see competitors.

In other words - we've got the skinny on this stuff so come consult with us. PwC on the other hand paints a 'lets have it all' picture. They start off with the expected consulting spin and FUD:

Companies that don’t explore how wearable computing devices change their business, risk being disrupted by wearable tech innovators in the near future. Similarly, exploring this trend involves every aspect of your organization from IT to sales, R&D to operations.

But then - and I am guessing this is an attempt to have it both ways - they swerve off in this direction:

Like any technology adoption however, there are significant risks to early adoption. For example, some businesses such as movie theaters have prohibited the use of wearables at their establishments, given the risk of piracy and copyright infringement. Additionally, other areas of concern remain, including security and privacy concerns, including the potential risk of stolen IP.

Quite.

Verdict

Fun and games aside, consumer wearables are gaining in popularity. I routinely meet people who have some sort of health related device attached to their wrist. The range of health related devices sold at Apple stores is truly mind boggling. And who can't be without their Withings WiFi Body Scale? 

The lead on to topics around 'big data' cannot be far off and with good reason. The healthcare profession knows that prevention is better than cure so anything that helps people adopt healthy lifestyles should be welcome. But how to capture that data in a world where privacy is the topic du jour? What outcomes might we expect in the promotion of healthy lifestyles, treatments, insurance and so on?

Thinking more broadly, there are numerous use cases where the use of wearable devices as a logical extension of say the smartphone could be used in areas like health and safety, plant floor maintenance and so on.

These are early days and it is understandable that the consulting players will want to flog services. I just wish they'd be a bit more original in the way they go to market.

In the meantime, I am wondering if Ms Gonzalez is aware of how not to be a Glasshole?

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