Wearable technology

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Researchers have called 2014 the year of wearable technology. Wearable devices, such as eye glasses, clothing, wristbands and watches, are helping users perform countless tasks—from surfing the Web to checking email to navigating travel to monitoring personal body performance. Approximately $4.6 billion was spent globally on wearable technology in 2013, and close to half of U.S. consumers said they expected to be in the market for some form of it in the near future. Clearly, we are in the midst of a wearable technology revolution.The demand for wearable technology is on the rise. In fact, it is expected to exceed tablet demand by year-end. Yet, the majority of businesses report they are unprepared to manage this trend. For more information on how wearable technology may impact your business and ways you can prepare for its expected influx, keep reading.Preparing for the wearable technology revolution

The decision to implement wearables in the workplace requires some thoughtful consideration. Although wearable technology can increase productivity and boost job satisfaction, it has the potential to negatively impact data protection, privacy and network security if not implemented correctly. Avoid some of these potential pitfalls by being prepared.

  1. Data ownership: Wearable technology poses a whole new set of challenges when it comes to data protection because it provides employees with yet another way to access and potentially misuse sensitive business information. Keep your organization one step ahead by having sufficient data-security controls and protection policies in place. Be sure data ownership is clearly addressed and communicated up front. For example, does data contained in wearables belong to the employee or the company? And will the company be allowed to access all data contained in a wearable … even if it is personal?Being certain your employees understand data-protection policies is a must. Provide clearly defined policies and training before allowing staff to access company information via wearables. Make training sessions fun and interactive by providing helpful Q&A games to drive home your message. Reward correct answers with a little something to keep their gadgets in tip-top shape, like an Eye Glass Cleaner or media spray.
  2. Privacy protection: Employees using wearable technology will be able to interact and engage with countless interfaces—so many that your organization may have trouble keeping up. This poses the challenge of knowing exactly what information is being collected, recorded or even distributed. Just as the Bring Your Own Device (BYOD) trend forced companies to take additional measures to safeguard trade secrets, proprietary information and customer data, so does wearable technology.Clear usage guidelines, policies and tight security controls are a must, and your current BYOD policy can be a great starting point when it comes to developing a wearable-technology privacy policy. It’s worth restating that policies need to be read and clearly understood in order to be effective. Distribute policies company-wide and reinforce the message by having employees take a quiz. Do this during normal work hours so there are no excuses, and hold a drawing for top scores as a way to encourage employees to do well. Prizes, such as multi-device charging stations, high-powered power banks or solar-powered chargers, make great motivators.
  3. System security and bandwidth: A recent article, The Effect of Wearable Technology on the Corporate Network in 2014, predicts that the number of devices an employee uses to access corporate networks could jump to as many as 15 to 20 in the upcoming years. This will present huge challenges to information technology (IT) functions. IT will need to up its game when it comes to network security, and it will need to prepare for the effect this increased traffic will have on bandwidth. This can mean extra hours and extra manpower—especially in the beginning. Keep morale going and show gratitude for those exerting extra effort with a small token of gratitude. Department lunches, an unexpected half-day (paid, of course) or a company logo’d Columbia® microfleece make a great thank-you.

Remember, preparation is key when it comes to successful implementation of wearable technology at work. For more information on the subject, check out our two-part series of Blue Papers®: Wearable Technology, Part 1 (Abracadabra … introducing the magical world of wearable technology) and Wearable Technology, Part 2 (Prepare to be amazed—the magic of wearable technology is coming to a theater near you).

“Wearable Technology, Part 1.” 4imprint Promotional Products Blog RSS. N.p., 19 Aug. 2014. Web. Retrieved 19 Aug. 2014

“Wearable Technology, Part 2.” 4imprint Promotional Products Blog RSS. N.p., 27 Aug. 2014. Web. Retrieved 27 Aug. 2014

Rossi, Ben. “85% of the public sector is unprepared for the impact of wearable technology on its IT infrastructure.” Information Age. N.p., 01 Apr. 2014. Web. Retrieved 17 June 2014.

Porro, Alessandro. “The effect of wearable technology on the corporate network in 2014.” TechRadar. N.p., 14 Jan. 2014. Web. Retrieved 10 June 2014.

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