CNet is reporting that worldwide spending on wearable tech is going to hit $1.4 billion this year, and $19 billion by 2019. This is largely due to Google Glass, Galaxy Gear, and the anticipated launch of an Apple smartwatch. You know what that means? This stuff is going to show up in your boardrooms, classrooms, warrooms, and so on.
I came close to buying a Galaxy Gear a few weeks ago, when I was drooling over the gorgeous new Galaxy Note 3. It would have been my first foray into wearable tech and I was giddy at the thought of it, until I visualized a day in the life of Christine and her Gear:
- Non stop alerts distracting me
- Big screen uncomfortable on tiny wrist
- Am I really going to talk into my watch?
- Am I really going to try to position it to take pictures?
- Short battery life (nuisance!)
- Limited compatibility with smartphones
- My friends will tease me for buying such a thing (don't tell them I said so)
- And lots of other things, including the fact that we can anticipate much better technology just in the next 6-9 months
I doubt that smartwach tech is right for me, unless it can someday replace something that I'm carrying around with me. If an Apple smartwatch can replace my iPhone, I will take a look.
But how do we address security and network access of these devices? Let me throw some scenarios out there:
- Students use smartphones to refer to cheat sheets during tests
- Employees use smartphone cameras to copy confidential business documents
- Anyone uses smartphone recorders to record confidential meetings, conversations, etc.
Smartphones can already do these things, but you at least had some hope that you would see the phone when it was being used. Plus a phone seems easier to restrict in certain environments. We've all see the signs, no cell phones in school / court / hospital. We can put up signs to prohibit wearable tech, but are we going to inspect what someone is wearing?
The Gear currently has a unique look to it and it uses a bluetooth connection to its base of operations; in this case, the Galaxy Note 3. This means it's easy enough to identify if you know what to look for, and it needs a nearby cell phone in order to transmit and store data. What kind of advances can we expect on these devices that may increase the network security threat level?
- Independent cellular or wireless connectivity- the ability to transmit without a smartphone
- Modern design to make smartwatches look like regular watches – more difficult to visually identify (this may protect owners from theft)
- Internal, independent storage – store images and recordings with no need to transmit to smartphone
Additionally, these three factors work together to create a new type of device that can grab wireless access to your network, possibly downloading corporate data and transmitting a brand new smartwatch virus.
Are you ready to make wearable tech part of your BYOD policy? I'd love to hear how you're dealing with wearable tech, what you think of it, and whether you think it will add to your productivity or just be a distraction. Let us know what you think on social. We're on Facebook, Twitter, Google+, and LinkedIn. Check out our video channel on YouTube.
Christine Barry is Senior Chief Blogger and Social Media Manager at Barracuda. In this role, she helps bring Barracuda stories to life and facilitate communication between the public and Barracuda internal teams. Prior to joining Barracuda, Christine was a field engineer and project manager for K12 and SMB clients for over 15 years. She holds several technology credentials, a Bachelor of Arts, and a Master of Business Administration. She is a graduate of the University of Michigan.