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This post is from the Apperian blog and has not been updated since the original publish date.

Last Updated Jun 22, 2015 — App Management expert

What the Apple Watch and Other Wearables Mean for BYOD

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Announced in April and available in stores from June 26th, the Apple Watch is poised to finally bring wearables into the mainstream. Research firm IDC predicts that in just three years there will be 112 million wearable devices in the hands—and on the wrists—of consumers. For enterprises, the Apple Watch and other wearables present both a challenge and an opportunity.

Proactive vs. Reactive

The initial flood of personal smartphones into workplaces took enterprises largely by surprise. Instigated by the release of Apple’s first iPhone in 2007, many IT departments were slow to react to employees using this new form of mobile technology for business purposes. With wearables like the Apple Watch starting to make major waves in the consumer market, it appears as though we are on the verge of yet another step in the evolution of mobile devices. However, this time instead of playing catch up to technology, enterprises have an opportunity to take a proactive approach to the introduction of wearables into the office.

Is Your Network Ready for Wearables?

The addition of new devices to a network raises both a number of security and infrastructure concerns. According to a recent survey conducted by security firm Trend Micro, 90% of respondents stated that their IT or BYOD security policies would require updates in response to the rising wearable trend. Preparing for wearables means that organizations will have to find the balance between enabling access and connectivity for a new range of devices while also ensuring the security and integrity of their networks. An influx of wearables is likely to add more strain on wireless networks. Before embracing wearables as part of your BYOD strategy, make sure your network is ready for the additional load.

Turning Wearables in the Workplace into a BYOD Asset

Together with mobile enterprise applications and mobile application management (MAM®), the BYOD movement is completely transforming the way employees work and interact with their employers, other businesses, and customers. The introduction of the Apple Watch and other wearables is likely to take this transformation one step further. The Apple Watch is best described as an extension of an iPhone. It builds on the existing iOS experience and alerts users to updates, notifications, messages, and other vital information without the users having to look at their phones. While its purpose may seem subtle, the implications of the Apple Watch as a new BYOD interface are enormous. Wearables provide and offer valuable real-time data. In the finance industry, an alert on your wrist could make all the difference when trading stocks. For organizations with field employees working in strenuous conditions, the Apple Watch’s health monitoring capabilities can offer vital feedback. And just as smartphones have made employees more efficient through basic applications, wearables make it that much easier for users to keep track of meetings, respond to urgent calls and messages, track flight times, and even catch a taxi. The impending wave of wearables in the workplace is not without its initial growing pains. Organizations will need to ensure that their networks are secure and robust enough to handle and additional load of devices. However, the earlier you act and embrace new devices like the Apple Watch, the sooner your organization will benefit from them.

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