It’s a known fact that many IT departments struggled with the growth in BYOD policies adopted by software development companies all over the globe. In an effort of protecting critical business data and making sure that all devices worked properly as employees used their own devices for work, IT had to handle more complex challenges. But that complex problem has now moved on to the next level, as employees have started bringing wearable devices for work.
With the latest announcement of the Apple Watch, alongside other wearable gadgets like Samsung’s Galaxy Gear and Google Glass, the wearable device market is on the verge of exploding. (Burrus, 2014) estimated sale of 10 lakhs wearable devices in 2014, and the same number is predicted to increase to 3000 lakhs by 2018. IT workers need to get prepared now, because wearable devices are making their place in the office premises sooner rather than later.
Wearable devices have the benefit of creating unique opportunities for a software development company though these devices also bring along the threats in a globally connected world.
Assimilating wearable devices into the work environment can arise a situation where company information is even more suitably accessed and utilized. For example, software installation can be done using smart glasses by following step by step instructions in case the installation procedure is complex.
The advantages might tempt business leaders to use wearable devices, but the same technology also brings with it, some drawbacks, the most concerning being increased security risks. IT workers have spent lot of their efforts in testing and approving apps using MDM software. As wearable devices become more prevalent, new apps will be developed, forcing IT department to go through that whole process once again.
IT departments will also have to build security controls for these new devices. Most organizations have controls in place that include a remote lock or wipe feature, where devices that are misplaced or stolen can be locked or wiped to ensure the data which resides inside the device is protected from unauthorized visitors. These controls will have to be created for wearable technology too.
There are also concerns over how wearable devices might be used to steal information by employees within the company (like an employee secretly recording a confidential meeting using smart glasses). So as this new technology comes alive, the search to answer these questions begins.
Even if the security concern is properly addressed, other significant obstacles will keep the businesses away from using wearable devices widely in the immediate future. Currently, most of these devices are expensive with prices out of the range of the average customer. Strategic level employees such as CXOs may use them, but making them available for operational level employees will be difficult until prices decline.
The other concern is the cost of data that comes with using more mobile devices in the work environment. As more innovative gadgets make their way to the workplace, increasing the amount of consumption of data, which can reduce the bandwidth of a business’s network. Pair that with the security risks mentioned above, and prevalent adoption of wearable devices under a BYOD policy might take a year or more to happen.
It took years for software development companies in India to finally get a handle on BYOD when it came to mobile devices and tablets. That epoch of BYOD created a radical shift in the business world which increased efficiency but introduced new security risks.
Wearable devices will likely outgrowth the next revolution in the workplace. If businesses don’t want to be caught unprepared, now is the time to create the policies and procedures to deal with the influx of new technology. With the right strategies in place, every software development company adapting WYOD will be able to gain maximally from the benefits while minimizing the drawbacks.
Burrus, D. (2014). How Wearables will Transform Business. Burrus Research.