Wearable Technology in the Workplace

Organisations need to be ready to embrace this new wave of wearables, says Mohamed Jamal-Eddine

Tags: Bring Your Own Device (BYOD)United Arab Emirates
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Wearable Technology in the Workplace Organisations should learn from the lessons of the BYOD trend when it comes to wearable devices, says Jamal-Eddine.
By  Mohamed Jamal-Eddine Published  July 10, 2014

As consumers continue to embrace Google Glass, fitness wristbands, smartwatches and other types of wearable technology, it’s no surprise that these gadgets will gradually penetrate the workplace. In response, IT professionals need to stay one step ahead and develop a set of guidelines to deal with this trend. Wearable technology isn’t going away any time soon; in fact, these devices can actually be leveraged in a business setting to increase productivity. Let’s look at some best practices that can help companies deal with their employees’ gadgets while still keeping business data secure.

Learn from past mistakes
Wearable gadgets aren’t the first personal technology devices to make their way into the workplace. Reflecting on lessons learned from previous incarnations of ‘bring your own device’ (BYOD) policies can help IT professionals develop stronger guidelines this time around. With the right preparation, a BYOD policy for wearable devices like Google Glass can actually encourage innovation and productivity at the office. You can also call it as BYOWD “bring your own wearable device”.

Stay ahead of the curve
Don’t take a wait-and-see attitude when it comes to the bring your own device trend. If teams and departments start choosing favorite devices and apps without the approval of IT, problems with data access and compatibility can quickly crop up. IT professionals are better off taking a proactive approach and researching which products and services would make the most sense for existing business processes; these recommendations can then be communicated to department heads.

Develop a security strategy
As time goes by and it becomes clear that certain wearable technologies can be used to do work at the office, your company’s security policy will need to change accordingly. In addition, you’ll need to have a discussion with your vendors about how they plan to secure their wearable technology.

Create a long-range plan
It’s not realistic to expect that your company’s IT department will be able to support wearable devices such as Google Glass in the short term. However, it is fair to request a roadmap for the future. A clear plan for rolling out changes should be developed; this roadmap should take into account the need to create mobile versions of existing applications and modify the company’s security policy to reflect the use of cloud-based apps.

Embrace Change
It’s natural to feel a certain amount of caution when it comes to personal technology in the office: the potential for privacy issues and security problems causes most IT professionals to move slowly when it comes to embracing change. However, businesses need to keep up with the fast-moving pace of technology changes. As wearable technology becomes more and more commonplace, most desirable job candidates will want to take advantage of their personal technology in their working life; companies that are slow to embrace these technological changes could end up at a real disadvantage.

It’s clear that wearable technology is the wave of the future, and it makes sense for IT professionals to learn how to safely integrate these new devices into the office setting. With preparation and the right attitude, this significant business challenge can actually be transformed into an opportunity.

Mohamed Jamal-Eddine is Senior systems specialist, Information Technology, ADPC.

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