Over the past six months, Apple and IBM have released 22 industry-specific apps to grow usage of the iPhone and iPad in the enterprise. Last week, the two companies updated three of their apps with new Apple Watch versions.
The healthcare app Hospital RN allows nurses easy access to patient data. It uses iBeacons to identify patients by location and push notifications to alert nurses to patient requests, lab status, safety alerts, and more. The new companion Apple Watch app lets nurses view notifications right on their watch, so they can see urgent notifications more quickly.
Field Connect is an app to help field technicians from energy and utility companies work more efficiently. They can get updates on downed power lines and outages, hazards, crew member information, and severe weather. The Apple Watch app again allows users to get important alerts without needing to pull out their iPhone or iPad.
Finally, there's the Incident Aware app for public safety and law enforcement officials. This app gives a birds-eye view of scenes using GPS map data, the location of officers on an incident, and live video feeds. Live police records can be accessed, plus data about where and when other first responders will arrive. Like the others, this companion Apple Watch app allows users to receive push notifications on their wrist.
To be honest, many of the third-party Apple Watch apps haven't been very good. This can largely be blamed on the fact that many developers were required to ship their apps without actually having used the Apple Watch. Some attempt to do too much, while others don't provide enough functionality.
The best apps, like the ones released by Apple and IBM, focus on providing urgent notifications direct to the wrist, without the need to pull out a phone. These three industries—law enforcement, nursing, and field technicians for power companies—are obvious candidates for such a useful feature, so it's easy to see why Apple and IBM chose to outfit them with Apple Watch support.
This is a big change from most of the marketing materials for the Apple Watch, which focus on consumer uses of the watch, like working out, receiving text messages, and getting directions.
A number of other Apple and IBM apps have potential for the Apple Watch, and it's likely that we'll see more enterprise watch apps going forward. With 22 apps launched so far, Apple and IBM have promised to deliver 78 more by the end of 2015.
How much traction do you think the Apple Watch will gain in the enterprise? Let us know your thoughts in the discussion thread below.
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Jordan Golson is an Apple Columnist for TechRepublic. He also writes about technology and automobiles for WIRED and MacRumors. He has worked for Apple Retail twice and has been writing about technology since 2007.