Mercedes announced a tie-up with the Pebble smart watch company at the CES in January (Photo: Daimler)

In a move to speed up the integration of so-called "wearables" in corporate IT systems, is launching a developer kit specifically targeting the new mobile communications devices.

Wearables, which include cloud-connected smart watches, glasses, wristbands and other devices that are worn on the body, only recently made their appearance. Google led the trend with the introduction in 2012 of Google Glass, essentially a computer display embedded in a pair of connected glasses.

"Wearables are the next phase of the mobile revolution," Daniel Debow, senior vice president emerging technologies at Salesforce, said in a press release. "With Salesforce Wear, companies can now capture the massive opportunity these devices offer to connect with customers in new ways."

Market researchers IHS expect sales of around 50 million wearable units this year, rising to more than 180 million a year by 2018.

Given the expected strong growth rate, Salesforce said companies need to understand how consumers will use the new devices. "Wearables are the future of mobile," it said.

Salesforce Wear will allow developers to build apps that let wearables connect to its Salesforce 1 CRM platform. The kit holds out the possibility of wristbands seamlessly connected to customer data, contextually aware sales apps or new connected tools for service technicians.