It’s Time for Smart Watches

Tuesday May 16th 2017 by Carl Weinschenk
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Companies need to prepare support technology, security measures and necessary policies and procedures for an onslaught of smart watches and other wearables that will hit during the next half-decade.

The evolution of bring your own device (BYOD) work structures was linear: As mobile devices grew in power and sophistication, they were used more often by an increasing percentage of people at work. The corporate use of wearables is not as clearly mapped out, however. Consumer and corporate use is evolving in parallel. That makes sense since they were introduced into a world in which BYOD already existed.

In some cases, corporate is ahead of consumer use of wearables. Indeed, wearables offer a world of useful tools to enterprises, from body cameras that can let an expert in the office see what a field worker is seeing to clothing that alerts workers to the presence of dangerous levels of gas.

Smart watches are one of the early winners in the wearables category. Today, Samsung Electronics America and Hipaax introduced TaskWatch, an enterprise-grade platform that targets improved efficiency in the hospitality, retail and transportation sectors. The platform enables businesses to develop customized wearable interfaces that can integrate with the Samsung Gear S3 or Gear S2 smart watches.

Earlier this month, Strategy Analytics released research that said that Apple is now the leading wearables vendor. It rose from 12.1 percent of the market during the first quarter of 2016 to 15.9 percent during the first quarter of this year. It is now just ahead of Xiomi, which had 15.5 percent of the market during the last quarter. Commentary in the press release says that the new Apple Watch Series 2 “is selling relatively well” in many regions.

Computerworld has a nice roundup of how companies are using the Apple Watch. Capital One, for instance, has more than 40 apps that focus on collaboration, customer and info security issues. AETNA provides the device as part of its corporate wellness program. Other companies whose use of the Apple Watch are highlighted are SAP, Good Technology, Salesforce, SITA and IBM. The piece also relates potential corporate uses that Apple sees for the device.

Security, of course, is key. ABI Research predicts that 14 million enterprise smart watches will ship in 2022, a huge increase from the 2 million it says will ship this year. The problem, according to the press release, is that wearables generally don’t come with enterprise-level encryption. Though solutions are available, the problem isn’t going to go away:

ABI Research identifies several security solutions available to smartwatches, but with many enterprises touting bring-your-own-device (BYOD) policies and the mix of devices entering the workplace on the rise, potential breaches are harder to avoid. Addressable solutions include Enterprise Mobility Management (EMM), Mobile App Management (MAM), and Mobile Device Management (MDM). These solutions enable enterprises to automate the connectivity and management of devices on the corporate network.

The bottom line is clear: Companies need to prepare support technology, security measures and necessary policies and procedures for an onslaught of smart watches and other wearables that will hit during the next half-decade.

Carl Weinschenk covers telecom for IT Business Edge. He writes about wireless technology, disaster recovery/business continuity, cellular services, the Internet of Things, machine-to-machine communications and other emerging technologies and platforms. He also covers net neutrality and related regulatory issues. Weinschenk has written about the phone companies, cable operators and related companies for decades and is senior editor of Broadband Technology Report. He can be reached at cweinsch@optonline.net and via twitter at @DailyMusicBrk.

 

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