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Get Ready for Wearables in the Workplace

Business January 15, 2016

Wearable technology–a.k.a. “wearables,” as in Apple Watch and its Android equivalents–are seriously catching on. According to International Data Corporation’s (IDC) Worldwide Quarterly Wearable Device Tracker, the global wearable device market will ship 111.1 million units in 2016. That is up 44.4 percent from 2015's 80 million units.

Right now wearables don’t have enough processing power to support demanding business and communications apps. As a result, “Wearable tech at CES 2016 was all about one thing: fitness,” reported CNET.com in January 2016. We’re not just talking Apple Watches. CES 2016 also featured smart running shoes, wireless socks, sports bras that measure heart rates, and more.

Still, Moore’s Law suggests that wearables will one day attain serious processing power; just as cellphones and tablets did before them. And even in their current state, as Lindsey Irvine asserted on ReadWrite.com, wearables can improve the state of the workplace. This evolution is “creating tremendous opportunities” for businesses, as well as risks for those that don’t respond.

Someday soon, business-capable wearables will require IT departments to tackle the same issues they already face with BYOD (Bring Your Own Device) smartphones and tablets. These issues include providing sufficient wireless connectivity to wearables in huddle, meeting, and conferences rooms, as well as ensuring that corporate network security is not compromised by BYOW (Bring Your Own Wearable) devices.

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