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Wearables in enterprises: Good, bad, inevitable

Posted: 27 Oct 2014 ?? ?Print Version ?Bookmark and Share

Keywords:Google Glass? wearables?

2. Battery life and Wi-Fi connectivity are big issues

One of the trade-offs with wearables is that companies will need to invest in the expansion of wireless networks to give remote workers more Wi-Fi connectivity. The battery life of wearables will be another critical issue. Most wearable devices offer hours of occasional use and about an hour of intense use before needing a recharge.

This results in part from chipmakers rushing wearables to market with borrowed components. In May, ABI Research released a report claiming that "no company is able to offer an optimal wearable peripheral solution yet."

The company looked inside several smartwatches and found that they utilised smartphone components, resulting in trade-offs involving unsatisfactory battery performance and superfluous features that impact cost and size. With this in mind, users within an enterprise environment will have no choice but to adjust to using wearables on an as-needed basis or get in the habit of swapping out devices part-way through a shift.

Accenture offers this advice on managing wearable power consumption: "Enterprises can use battery hibernation and additional battery packs, turning off chip sets when not in use, disabling Wi-Fi connections in certain areas, or employing geofences to limit usage in sensitive areas."

However, C. Custer of Tech in Asia seems unconvinced to pay for expensive, power-hungry wearable devices for the "rather minimal convenience" they offerrequiring frequent charging, occasional repairing, updating, virus-scanning, and, well, replacing.

3. Wearable devices will intensify security and privacy concerns

A smartwatch will just be another device IT groups will have to secure as they would any other mobile device. Accenture recommends that companies expand official security measures to protect against data leaks when wearables are connected to the corporate network.

CIOs will also have to appease employee privacy concerns about being monitored. The fact is that wearables can capture personal information on people's habits, behaviour, and health, as well as enterprise information that's deemed intellectual property. Companies should adjust data privacy policies for use of wearables within corporate boundaries.

For instance, geofences can be used to disable wearables in off-limits areas like bathrooms and research labs.

Geofences and data privacy policies notwithstanding, Custer said that compromised security is the ultimate reason why he is anything but thrilled about wearables. He went on to explain that personal health information in particular could be extremely dangerous in the wrong handsdata might be warped by profit-thirsty advertiser, or even malicious hackers, directing users to buy or do things that may well be bad for their health.

For better or worse: The rise of wearables

For all the hype that wearables are creating, be it for work advantages or personal use, wearable technology is emerging as one of the top tech trends.

According to the latest report from The Information Network, the semiconductor content within wearable devices will enable a market worth $9 billion by 2019. The market research firm also stated that high-end connectivity devices for Wi-Fi, Bluetooth and NFC will drive the market and together with software programmable chips will make up more than 50 per cent of the market. (Read full report: Wearables chip market to hit $9B in 2019.)

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