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Where Wearables Are Headed

October 15, 2015

Wearables are becoming popular accessories—an extension of our smart phones, but even smaller and more personal.

These small devices are most commonly found in the form of a wristwatch, bracelet, or a device on a shoe. They are becoming a mainstay of the consumer Internet of Things, with more than 21 million “things” sold last year alone. Wearables can track everything from simple health factors, like heartbeat and steps taken, to receiving an individual’s phone calls or displaying an app’s notifications.

Major players in the tech field are making significant investments and product releases to get ahead in the space. The original players, Fitbit and Jawbone, are not alone. Now Google, Apple, Samsung, and similar major developers are digging in to the next wave of wearables, most notably the Apple Watch. Will increased technology and more robust operating systems drive a higher adoption rate? Only time will tell.

In the Workspace
Just as the Bring-Your-Own-Device movement demands businesses consider and adapt new policies about data and security, wearables in the workplace will raise many of the same issues.

Keep these considerations in mind as wearables make their way into the hands of employees:

> Minimize Uncertainty 
There are so many unknowns about wearables and how information will be shared or potentially tracked. Be aware of new devices and the impact they could have on your IT policies.

> Be Open to Transformation 
In time, wearables have the potential to boost productivity and performance in business.

> Keep the Team’s Interests at the Forefront 
Wearables—or other devices connected to the Internet of Things—can be used as tools for tracking performance. Consider these resources for evaluating efficiency and simultaneously boosting employee motivation.

What’s Next for Wearables?
On the cusp of breakthrough, wearables remain in the “Blackberry age” of development. While the chips and sensors that have made wearables a reality are cheaper and smaller, the devices still lack many attributes that will lead to greater adoption and innovation. Longer battery life, functioning without being in close proximity to a smartphone, and the ability to deliver tools that stand independent of smartphones will begin to distinguish wearables.

Wearables are making their way into the business world, with applications tested on monitoring employee safety, for example, or transmitting data about productivity. Monitoring patient health throughout clinical trials could be streamlined with wearable technology in the healthcare space. These gadgets represent another wave of interconnected devices that have the potential to provide useful data about consumer, patient, and business behavior. Wearables are worth watching.