Wearables: Making Back to the Future a Reality

In 1989, Back to the Future’s Marty Mcfly was transported into a 2015 world of flying cars, hoverboards and smartwatches.

We are now 26 years on from the movie’s release and while we are not quite at the flying car stage, smartwatches and other wearables have now infiltrated our daily lives.

The release of the Apple Watch was pivotal in the wearables space - which it now dominates. According to research by Canalys, Apple has fought off fierce competition to make it the market leader, having now shipped 4.2 million units worldwide. We’ve already seen these devices used widely to track fitness and to access documents and read emails. But, they have so much more potential.

Wearables across the board

Organisations are constantly developing new devices for a whole host of industries and sectors. According to research by Ipsos Mori, healthcare is a key area of focus. Its research found that three in four doctors have used health apps and wearables and 80 per cent of UK doctors agreed that digital health is here to stay.

Considering wearables have not been available for public consumption for long, they are making a staggering impact on a number of industries.

BYOC: Bring Your Own Challenges

Wearables can also monitor and capture valuable data regarding staff productivity to give employers a more informed insight into employee performance trends and inhibitors. Capturing this data will allow businesses to streamline internal processes in order to increase efficiency and therefore reduce costs.

But wearables will create additional challenges to organisations already struggling to cope with the increased use of personal tablets, smartphones and other devices in the workplace. Businesses struggle to limit which devices employees and guests bring to work, so it might be prudent for them to review and strengthen strategies to ensure the integrity and security of company data.

IT Managers must also grant multiple users, including guests and employees, the flexibility they demand for using different devices, whether corporate-issued or part of the Bring Your Own Device (BYOD) trend.

Is your business ready?

Mobile will continue to evolve and adapt, and the number of devices, and applications on them, will continue to multiply. Research by GSMA found that the global mobile penetration rate in 2014 was 50 per cent and we are likely to see this increased to 59 per cent by 2020.

Providing enterprise-class access to all devices – and having a truly service-aware network that can be scaled up or down, depending on the number of devices in the workplace – can help organisations prepare for the wearable revolution.

Administrators need to maintain visibility over what is entering the network and what it is being used for. This way, they will be able to control the potential complications the wearable trend might present.

Once this control is in place, businesses could start to discover the true potential of wearable technology and reap the benefits of the myriad, as yet unimaginable, use cases.

David Greene, CMO, Aerohive Networks