How one company uses wearables in the workplace – even if it’s a CIO’s nightmare

James is editor in chief of TechForge Media, with a passion for how technologies influence business and several Mobile World Congress events under his belt. James has interviewed a variety of leading figures in his career, from former Mafia boss Michael Franzese, to Steve Wozniak, and Jean Michel Jarre. James can be found tweeting at @James_T_Bourne.

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Here’s one firm which is using wearable tech at the office. Cloud services company Appirio has brought CloudFit into work, with the aim of improving employee morale and reducing health insurance costs.

The program, which is entirely voluntary, utilises a Fitbit device, and is part of a wider trend seen by Trend Micro in its latest research: employers actively pursuing opportunities to utilise wearable technology in the workplace. 61% of organisations polled in the 100-strong survey said their organisation actively encouraged it.

As it’s such a nascent trend, research which hits Enterprise AppsTech’s inbox is naturally conflicting. Last week IT association ISACA put wearable tech extremely high on its IT Risk/Reward barometer, with the majority of respondents claiming the risk of bring your own wearable (BYOW) far outweighs the benefit.

Trend Micro notes similar risks in its study. 85% of the UK respondents agreed that wearables present IT security risks – the two most feared being data theft and automatic syncing of company data. Yet two thirds (64%) said they were “not concerned” with the amount of wearables that get used at work.

There’s a catch here, of course. As the Appirio study found, the majority of wearables being used in this context are straightforward fitness trackers. Smartwatches are the most popular devices used by organisations with 65% of the vote, followed closely by activity and fitness trackers (58%).

Raimund Genes, Trend Micro chief technical officer, says companies should be concerned about wearables, even if they are taking baby steps so far.

“Any new device that enters the business environment presents a security risk, and it is inevitable that wearables will connect to corporate data, just like other smart devices,” he said.

“These threats will only increase as wearables become more sophisticated and more of them enter the enterprise,” he added. “It is crucial that organisations think about the measures they can take to minimise the threat from wearables, before they become as omnipresent as smartphones.”

What’s your view? Do you trust employees to use smartwatches at work? in hearing industry leaders discuss subjects like this and sharing their use-cases? Attend the co-located IoT Tech Expo, Blockchain Expo, AI & Big Data Expo and Cyber Security & Cloud Expo World Series with upcoming events in Silicon Valley, London and Amsterdam and explore the future of enterprise technology.

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