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Wearable technology has its pros and cons, but it has staked its claim on the future nonetheless.
In the 1999 movie The Matrix, the general population is literally plugged into a virtual reality. Fast forward to 2017, where it is normal to see someone transfixed in virtual reality through smart goggles, such as Oculus Rift or Google Daydream View. And the wearable technology trend is even growing in the enterprise.
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Wearables bring a multitude of possibilities for many types of organizations. The convenience of the hands-free design allows for seamless integration between technology and a user's everyday life. As the variety of wearable technologies continues to grow, IT must make it a priority to consider issues around implementation, regulation and personal data restrictions.
What wearable technologies are available today?
Wearables are like little computers that users wear on their bodies, usually in a common accessory such as a watch or glasses. Users can store business data conveniently, track locations and monitor personal data using wearables. The hands-free aspect allows users to multitask while maintaining connectivity to their devices. Apple Watch and the Fitbit Flex, which connect to mobile devices via Bluetooth, have both been successful with consumers.
Another wearable technology trend that has hit mainstream use is headsets, such as the Samsung Gear VR, that create a virtual reality using a smartphone. Users can see different perspectives within the graphics by moving their heads for 3D views. But gamers are not the only people following wearable technology trends, as businesses have begun to create simulations using these headsets, too.
How do they affect the enterprise?
There is an array of businesses looking to implement wearables. Healthcare providers can harness remote data from patients, as well as use wearable technology to keep doctors connected to co-workers and data without the hassle of a pager or phone system. Engineering and construction environments see great potential as well, where people such as warehouse technicians can use wearables to receive instant alerts about potential hazards, while keeping hands and eyes independent of their devices. Some governments are using virtual reality headsets to train soldiers for the battlefield. Police officers can even use this technology in the form of body cameras.
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What are the pros and cons?
The accessibility that wearables offer provides an easier means to stay connected. Wearables also can store biometric data for access control and offer step-by-step instructions or GPS guidance. They can even bring cost reductions compared with larger, more complex technologies such as heart monitors or GPS systems.
There are many roadblocks that wearables have to maneuver for widespread adoption, however. The most glaring issue is the lack of integration with other enterprise systems. In addition, many applications are not advanced enough for enterprise use. Businesses would either need to develop those themselves, or involve a third party to do so.
There are concerns over security as well, because data has access to the company's network. It is vital that companies develop a policy specific to wearables to help protect corporate data.
Where is the wearable technology trend heading?
For all professionals, the widespread use will come as wearable technology develops useful apps for their industries. To potentially overtake mobile devices such as smartphones and tablets, wearables must increase efficiency of data integration through apps.
It is difficult to get an accurate read on when to expect more advanced wearables. There are reports of hearables, or wireless computing earpieces, and brainwave-reading technology coming down the line. The wearable technology trend is on its way toward further interconnectivity between personal devices and corporate data.
Can wearables protect people from harm?
How to help spread the wearable wealth
Develop your wearable device management policy now