If someone told you that you could manage your BPM with the Apple Watch, you probably wouldn’t think twice about it. After all, the Apple Watch is hot in the consumer health market, and tracking your BPM or heart rate is a typical feature of most apps in that space.

But there’s another BPM ­that’s taking the Apple Watch into the enterprise. With business process management software, organizations like Ryder and the Dallas Fort Worth Airport are using mobile devices to run their businesses.

CMSWire talked to Matt Calkins, president and CEO of Appian, to find out where wearables are going in the workplace.

Hardware: Only Half of the Story

Matt Calkins
With a focus on hardware, Calkins said today’s mobility is only halfway there.

“Real mobility means you can bring with you the software you can work with,” he said. “We’re looking forward to the time when mobility is going to mean more than hardware that is mobile. People haven’t considered the portable software revolution that is going to follow.”

Calkins boasted that Appian is ahead of the curve because its software was written to run on any device, such as tablets, Google Glass, Apple Watch and even Oculus Rift.

“We want the world to know that we’re ready for this — you can take the enterprise and run it on the mobile device of your choice,” he said.

For example, companies like Ryder are using BPM on tablets to make the truck rental process more efficient, he explained.

“Customers can take a photo of a scrape, fill out the information, and make a payment – and it’s all run by a junior, inexperienced employee,” he said. “By allowing the software to be used in the field on a tablet standing next to a truck, they’ve cut their rental time down.”

From Everywhere to Everywhere

Calkins said many of today’s mobile devices, such as Fitbit, have limited functionality because they are more useful as data gatherers than mobile computers.

“In the past, you would draw information from one place to run on one device,” he said. “This ‘from one to one’ model of software is busted. Data is going to come from everywhere and it is going to go everywhere. That’s what mobility and the Internet of Things are doing to the software industry today."

Because of this, Appian developed software that does the gathering and delivering for you, he continued.

Learning Opportunities

“We have the beginning and the end taken care of,” he said. “You just have to do the drawing in the middle.”

Interfaces Want to Be Big

Calkins said that one of the major challenges with wearables is the size of the interface.

“The watch and the glass are computers limited only by their interface,” he said. “The thing that’s holding back your Apple Watch is the size of its screen, not its processing power.”

Until we can find better ways to communicate with machines, the devices can’t get any smaller, he said.

“Eventually, the mini screen has to stop,” he said. “Keyboards shouldn’t get smaller unless we have microphones. We need to find ways to increase the bandwidth of communication between machines and ourselves – wearables want to be small, but interfaces want to be big.

“The maximum ratio of communication bandwidth to mass – that’s going to be an area of innovation by wearables.”

Calkins thinks mobile will become most valuable when software can travel with users.

“Wearables are part of a much larger trend. From everywhere to everywhere is an important step toward the future in which hardware and software are mobile together. That’s the real mobile revolution.”

fa-solid fa-hand-paper Learn how you can join our contributor community.