Wearable tech – is your business ready?

The next wave of gadgets

Just when you thought that you were getting to grips with the wave of tablets and smartphones that are now commonplace in almost every business, the next generation of technology is on the market and potentially causing headaches for the HR department of many businesses.

The next generation of smart computing is here, and it’s known as wearable tech. Literally, technology that you wear on your body.

Computers that you wear

Already, many of the big players in the world of technology have smart watches on the market. Smart watches connect to smartphones wirelessly via Bluetooth, are connected to the internet, and often have cameras attached to take photos or video.

Smart glasses take this a step further, with the internet beamed directly into the eye of the wearer, who can also take videos or photos with just a voice command.

There is a range of smart rings, jeans, t-shirts and hoodies in production too.

Potential security breaches

As we’ve seen with tablets and smartphones, handheld computing can be extremely valuable to businesses. However, the very nature of these tiny devices mean that they have the potential to be used secretively, inappropriately or illegally, especially in the workplace.

It could be very easy indeed for someone to photograph your sensitive and confidential data and upload it for the world to see with a few words or button presses. Wearable tech is available is right now, so it’s important that businesses act proactively to update their security processes to accommodate for them.

HR policies to the rescue

By now, your policies ought to include what is and is not allowed in terms of your business computers, as well as your employees’ own phones and tablets. Now’s the time to review these policies to include smart glasses and watches too.

This is most likely to affect your Computers and IT policy, and your Social Media policy too, if you have one. However, don’t forget about your Dress Code policy – it’s just as relevant here.

Is banning the answer?

Some companies might take the option of a straight ban. For instance, in America, some cinemas, theatres, banks, sporting venues, hospitals, schools casinos and bars have already taken the step of banning smart glasses.

But is banning the right choice for your business? It might be a better idea to clearly spell out to your employees the instances in which wearable tech shouldn’t be used in your company, and allow your workforce to use their judgement.

Business benefits

In some cases, wearable tech might actually be a powerful tool for your business. Some experts are predicting that smart watches could be used to:

  • monitor the wearer’s location and speed;
  • allow workers to securely access software and hardware without passwords;
  • scroll through slides during presentations; and
  • control machinery and robots.

Already, smart glasses are being trialled in:

  • warehouses;
  • the military; and
  • the police.

Remember that it’s always a good idea to communicate any changes to your policies to your workforce. Explain what’s changing and why to ensure that everyone is aware of what is and isn’t acceptable.

It may seem like wearable tech is still a way off, but early adopters really are using this hardware right now. Protect your business from the risks, and consider the benefits of this leap in technology.

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