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Wearable Tech to take Enterprise by Storm?

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ImageBYOD could soon be adapted to be known as ‘BYOWD’ (Bring Your Own Wearable Device) if wearable devices “take the enterprise by storm”, as predicted will happen by several recent articles. According to Business Insider, the wearable technology market will be worth $12bn by 2018.

The BYOD market is already growing at a rapid rate and is expected to show growth from $67.21bn in 2011 to $181.39bn by 2017. In the “developed” world, it’s now thought that around 44% of workers take their personal devices to work, whilst in emerging economies the figure is even higher at 75%. This leaves room for little doubt when it comes to the success of BYOD in the enterprise.

A GigaOm report which was published last year said that wearable technology now presents an additional opportunity within the workplace; “the enterprise environment will play an important role in the growth of wearable computing because of the hands-free nature of the work. In contexts such as hardware repair, maintenance of heavy infrastructure (e.g., nuclear reactors and sophisticated hardware) or outdoor construction, where real-time geographical information is required, wearables can be ideal,” the report said.

However, this won’t be without its pitfalls and enterprises will have to find the right technology to be able to manage these devices within the overall architecture of a company. GigaOm’s Judy Ranck, the author of the report, said that it’s likely that wearable devices will also drive the form factor of smartphones.

Surprisingly, the biggest obstacle to BYOWD will be employees’ ability to multi task as interruptions tend to impact performance. This is thought to be a bigger threat to wearable devices gaining traction in the enterprise than issues with security.

According to a Silicon Angle report , employees will prefer to bring their personal devices to work, as those supplied by employers can measure can potentially measure the health of their workers, something that employees object to.

“Wearables will definitely accelerate BYOD in the enterprise. Again driven by consumers, I expect individuals will be the first to buy wearables like an iWatch or Google Glass. These peripheral devices will drive the purchase deception of Smartphones and platforms. No one wants to carry two smartphones, and these users will be influencing IT decisions as to what devices to support in a BYOD program,” Chris Fleck, Citrix VP of Mobility Solutions told Silicon Angle.

Silicon Angle backs up this assertion by pointing out the numerous possibilities that exist for wearable technology in enterprise, such as wrist-mounted mini PCs which can be used “out in the field” and smart glasses that offer hands free computing.

According to Fleck, BYOWD will present the same challenges to the enterprise as we first saw with smartphone and tablet use in the workplace. This means that IT teams need “will need to stay ahead of the curve” by taking early steps to prepare the enterprise for the technology.

However, the growing popularity of wearables means that “anything is possible” in enterprise tech, says Fleck.

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