Word that Microsoft is shutting down its line of Band devices could be a blow to the future of mainstream enterprise wearables.
Computer Weekly discussed the impact of Microsoft’s decision to kill off its Band series of smart watches. This decision marks the exit of the only large enterprise vendor active in the wearables field.
“We have sold through our existing Band 2 inventory and have no plans to release another Band device this year,” said a spokesperson discussing the disbanding of Band’s hardware team. Microsoft has also taken down any Microsoft Store references to Band devices and its related software development kit.
Though Microsoft’s Band primarily focused on personal health, its demise further proves the challenges facing enterprise wearables of any kind.
A Kony report from last month found that wearable developers are finding it very difficult to transition from consumer applications to business-focused products. The report found that almost 75% of those surveyed found designing wearables for the enterprise market was challenging.
“Forward-thinking enterprises are eager to take advantage of the wealth of new devices and form factors entering the market today, but capitalising on these innovations remains a challenge for today’s mobile app design and development teams,” said Kony’s Dave Shirk.
The report also found that 40% of respondents saw communication problems between IT stakeholders and developers as a top challenge.
Microsoft isn’t the only struggler
Meanwhile, consumer wearables are facing their own share of difficulties.
A report from this summer found Apple Watch sales had fallen to 1.6 million in the second quarter of 2016, representing a 55% decline from the 3.6 million sales recorded in the same quarter last year. This combines with predictions by analyst Ming-Chi Kuo who sees Apple Watch overall sales falling in 2016 despite the Apple Watch Series 2 launch.
One bright patch comes from China, which could become the world’s largest wearable customer in 2017, if sales continue to surge. In the past year, the country has seen an 84% increase in wearable sales, reaching 9.5 million between April and June.