News Column

Wearable tech heralds BYOX era

June 9, 2014

Bonnie Tubbs

Just as corporates are getting to grips with BYOD, the advent of wearable tech brings with it a new set of challenges. Just when corporates have started getting to grips with the phenomenon of bring-your-own-device (BYOD) in the workplace, a new strain of mobile technology – wearable tech – is making its way into the mainstream, bringing a new set of challenges to the boardroom table. This time, however, businesses are likely to be more prepared as they have already fought the BYOD battle and have now resigned themselves to the fact that the influx of new technology cannot be confined to employees' private lives. This is according to analysts and comes as 2014 – dubbed by some as the year of the wearable device – moves into its second half. At the beginning of 2013, ABI Research forecast that by next year, 485 million wearable computing devices will be shipped annually. This year alone, Samsung – which has upped its focus on enterprise mobility and instigated much of the new wave – introduced the Gear Fit and Gear 2 alongside its new flagship smartphone, two months ago. Meanwhile, Apple is reportedly (../index.php?option=com_content&view=article&id=135175:Apple-readies-smart-watches&catid=161) preparing to sell its first wearable device this October, aiming to produce three million to five million smart watches a month in its initial run. Reports suggest these will also be geared towards a health and lifestyle focus. Addressing media at a round table to increase awareness of Samsung's enterprise mobility drive on Friday, Paulo Ferreira, head of enterprise mobility at Samsung SA, tagged wearable tech as one of the elements that would be a concern for companies going forward. "Because these devices go hand-in-hand from a connectivity perspective, they ultimately find their way into the enterprise by virtue of their symbiotic relationship." Ferreira says, in the short-term, corporates should plan for the infiltration of wearable tech as it will ultimately be part of the equation as the innovation curve matures. inherently invasive nature (../?id=111774:%27Intrusive%27-Google-Glass-not-for-SA). "Businesses will find themselves having to deal with the etiquette of wearables more than the effect in terms of data demand, at least in the early stages."

World Wide Worx MD Arthur Goldstuck says businesses will have to deal mostly with the etiquette of wearables in the early stages of workplace infiltration. Ferreira says, while there is little concern to the corporate if wearable tech is being used purely for health and lifestyle, one caveat is the availability of the camera on some of these devices. "[This] does present a security concern for some organisations." Goldstuck says the camera functionality of wearables like the Samsung Gear has the potential to boost data use once supported by apps that make for easier sending and sharing from the wearable device. "Most other functionality is still low end and does not pose as much of a challenge." The real tipping point, he says, will come when video is built into wearables. "Although that is the case with Google Glass, it has such limited penetration, and such a social stigma, that it won't in itself result in this kind of shift."

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Source: ITWeb

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