CMI Blog

The Devil Wears Gadgets: 5 Things to Consider as Wearable Devices Gain Popularity

Wearable computing may not quite rival the luxury brands yet in terms of fashion statements, but wearing devices is on the rise. In fact the IDC predicts 112 million wearable devices in just three years’ time.  What does this mean for businesses?  Believe it or not, it may mean your network crashes, your office connectivity grinds to a halt and a virus causes an IT meltdown.  But this rosy picture doesn’t have to be your company. Below are the top 5 things to consider as wearable devices become mainstream:

1.  As more devices connect to the network, there will be significant performance implications, not just on the wireless infrastructure but on the entire office IT network. To mitigate any risks, perhaps think about the number of devices within the company, rather than the number of workers. For example a workplace of 150 members of staff will not be limited to 150 devices. With mobile phones and wearable devices in the mix, it could easily be double this number, particularly for companies with younger workforces.

Top tip?  Ensure that wireless access points are put in suitable locations to optimise performance across the whole of the building and choose solutions that can be managed centrally.

2.  Firewalls and applications security will need to be re-evaluated to ensure secure access to the internet for all devices. With only so much traffic able to come and go through the firewall door at a time, wearables are likely to create bottleneck issues.

Top tip?  Talk to your IT provider about your firewall set-up and whether it is suitable for the future as the number of devices connecting to your network rises.

3.  Ask yourself: Does your IT department have oversight of employees’ mobile devices? If not, then your company is not ready for wearables. Without this capability, there is no way for your IT Manager to monitor and control access to enterprise data, or separate corporate from personal applications on smartphones (or wearable devices).

Top tip? Make sure your company has a mobile device management system in place, which will allow you to track and manage your employees’ mobile devices. This will ensure your staff stay productive and don’t breach corporate policies.

4. There is value in employees wearing devices, and in an ideal world, you are not worrying about employees bringing wearable devices into the workplace, but actively encouraging their use. As well as enhancing the customer experience for some sectors, they could improve organisational effectiveness and productivity, especially if real-time data is key.

Top tip? As Raj Mistry, SVP for solutions engineering at Salesforce, explains:

 ‘[By using wearable devices] sales personnel will be able to make discount requests and pull customer information regardless of their location, and customer-facing staff will be able to receive alerts about urgent issues in order to handle them more quickly.  Both will be able to receive motivating notifications when they have reached a goal or received positive client feedback.’

5. As the wearable device trend becomes more prominent, security will become the key consideration for enterprise infrastructure and IT mobility strategies. Modern consumer devices are inherently prone to leaks because they are built to explicitly make it easy for users to share data. Popular consumer apps can easily move data outside corporate controls without the user knowing, creating huge security issues for the enterprise.

Top tip? If you require device-wearers to keep your enterprise data in separate, encrypted containers (which a knowledgeable IT company can help with), it is possible to keep corporate data secure. It may entail controlling the flow of alerts to smart devices as well as controlling the flow of data between app, but it is possible and a must for any business wanting true security.

Are you now itching for a wearable device?  Check out 50 wearable game-changers HERE.

And for help with your IT device strategy or implementation, get a free consultation from BTA today by emailing enquiries@bta.com

 

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Peter Filitz

Peter is BTA's Sales Manager (who would prefer all meetings to be on the golf course).