How IT can help introduce wearables into enterprise

October 6, 2014

The tech world is changing every day with disruptively innovative technologies taking hold and changing the way everyone works. Wearables, data collecting devices that are worn on the body and are virtually connected to one another through cloud computing, are a growing part of enterprise.

Because wearables deal in data, their use in the business world will be under the purview of an IT department. IT cannot run from this nascent trend – it seems to be inevitable – but must instead find ways to integrate it effectively and securely.

How wearables are affecting the workplace
Intel wrote on its website that one of the main trends driving the adoption of wearables in the workplace is the ability for employees to work from anywhere. According to Intel, companies that enable their teams to choose where they work report that their workers are happier, that they have access to a global talent pool and reduced infrastructure overhead. But a remote workforce does not come without challenges.

A smartwatch could allow management and staff to communicate instantaneously, speeding up crucial processes. Other capabilities can come from technology like Google Glass, which can be programmed to allow workers to see critical, yet unseen details about their work.

How IT can prepare for the influx of wearables
The possibilities could be endless, but wise IT departments will take a degree of caution when they start adopting wearables. InformationWeek reported that there are three key things for which IT needs to account before wearables can be of use.

  1. Integration. Wearables, while new and exciting, are still just as much a part of the existing IT infrastructure as phones, computers and tablets. Enterprises hoping to incorporate wearables will have to write APIs that successfully integrate wearables into ERPs, CRMs, and other systems.
  2. Connectivity. Battery life and connectivity are the lifeblood of wearables. IT departments must take into account both factors when planning out how to integrate this new technology into their systems. This will require some employee training to make sure that they know how to use the wearables. Employees should know what the limitations are in terms of how long the devices can go without being charged and how to fix connectivity issues.
  3. Security and privacy. Smart devices are just like every other device in that they have similar vulnerabilities. IT will have to ensure that the security measures taken for wearables are equal to the ones for the devices already in use. Additionally, employees must be assured that their personal data that gets accumulated on the device won't be used in a way that harms their privacy.