It's Time to Prepare for Wearable Technology


By Samuel Greengard

Over the last several years, more than a few CIOs have found themselves drowning in consumer devices and BYOD. The explosion of smartphones and tablets has turned organizations and IT upside down. While these devices and tools have created new opportunities, they've also unleashed huge challenges, both practical and in terms of security.

For better or worse, the genie is out of the proverbial bottle. Yet, what we've witnessed so far is just the beginning. Over the next decade, wearable technology will invade the enterprise and drive changes that make the introduction of today's Android phones and iPads look positively quaint. Already, Google Glass is creating a stir, partly because it represents a potential security threat to the enterprise.

A 2012 report from Juniper Research, Smart Wearable Devices: Fitness, Healthcare, Entertainment & Enterprise 2012-2017, predicts that the wearable devices market, including smart glasses and head-mounted displays, will surpass $1.5 billion by 2014, up from approximately $800 million last year. A more recent Jupiter research report predicts that the market will grow tenfold, reaching 150 million devices by 2018.

Expect other wearable devices, including electronic wristbands and sensors built into clothing, to appear at a workplace near you, too. Already, medical professionals, rescue teams, warehouse workers and others are starting to use devices that overlay images and relevant data on goggles. The rise of the Internet of Things will further fuel this trend. It's not difficult to imagine these tools altering a wide swath of industries.

For example, a repairperson could view a schematic diagram or read an article from a knowledge base while viewing and working on a motor or component. Clothing with embedded sensors could warn firefighters and HAZMAT teams when danger looms—or what type of conditions. The possibilities are limited only by imagination.

CIOs should begin planning for a wave of Bring Your Own Wearable Device systems, particularly as the likes of Google, Apple and Samsung introduce mainstream devices. As always, it's critical to separate hipness and hype from bottom-line benefits and real-world results. Organizations that begin planning for wearable devices, including addressing privacy and security concerns that will result from this technology, will be far better equipped to deal with the future.


2 Comments for "It's Time to Prepare for Wearable Technology"

  • red pill September 09, 2013 12:14 pm

    While folks can cite some one-off exceptional examples where this could be beneficial, it is intuitively obvious to the casual observer that should this become pervasive, it will put the final nail in the coffin of any sort of privacy. Overall, this will condemn society to all the darkest scenarios found in science fiction for decades; not the least of which is the old stand-by of 1984. The pattern of "cool" sounding ideas like this is that once they take hold in the marketplace, it becomes effectively impossible to avoid them -- go try buying a modern car that does not have some sort of monitoring or remote communications capability in it. OnStar, I believe, is the GM offering, but I believe all the major manufacturers have similar tech. You can't buy a new car without this stuff on it. Being computerized as they are, it would likely take quite an effort to have it disabled/removed after-market, and would certainly void any warranty. So, effectively, the public is pressured to buy this tech whether they want it or not, which is pretty tyrannical to my way of thinking. Apply that pattern to this idea of wearable technology and there's no good that can come from it. What happened to the idea of a free society? Have we in the U.S.A. grown so staggeringly ignorant we don't see the dangers? Or, is it that we simply don't care about privacy and freedom anymore? Presumably somebody out there whose body temperature is still above room temp. realizes that privacy is essential to freedom. Man created technology to work for Man; we have become dependent on it in many areas of modern life, but take care -- down this path lies the constraint of Man by technology. At the other end of this tech will be some hacker or somebody with a badge or in a political office. Ask yourself if that's really something you want to make possible or not. The foolish response of "I've got nothing to hide" only works so long as those at the other end of these "strings" happen not to care about your opinions or actions, but as soon as social or political winds shift, you might well find yourself on somebody's radar.

  • Bryant @ GTXCorp August 26, 2013 8:17 am

    GTX Corp has just announced the availability late 4th qtr of our new wearable GPS tracking device, GPS InSoles that fit any shoe. The target market is children and adults that suffer from Autism, Alzheimer's or other forms of dementia or TBI and may wander. Visit www.gpsinsole.com for more information and to view a short video on this new life saving product.

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