There's an article on Forbes exploring the impact that Google Glass may have on the business workplace. Some companies are already taking a look at what Glass and other wearables may mean to workplace security and productivity, though many are still struggling to come to terms with traditional BYOD. The article concludes with the suggestion,
“The enterprise in general and IT in particular should become early adopters of new wearable devices such as Google Glass and smart watches, and become familiar with the possible issues they present. BYOD policies, IT device management systems and employee education should be at the top of the list for enterprises as these new technologies begin to infiltrate the office. “
All true, but what are the odds? Let's break this down, starting with IT.
Regular IT staffers are likely to embrace any learning curve presented by new technology. Given enough time to play with wearables, they will find ways for the company to benefit from the new technology. Between research and experimentation, they'll find a way to secure their network or they'll be able to make a data-driven recommendation to ban wearables from the workplace until that problem is solved.
Sounds great, but the problem is that wearables are out of reach for most regular IT staffers. Your typical sys admin, network engineer, help desk administrator, etc., simply cannot afford to drop hundreds of dollars on a wearable device that does not significantly add to the capabilities he already has on his smartphone or tablet. This lack of access is something that we saw during the first BYOD explosion … IT staffers adopted the devices at about the same time the end-users were bringing them into the workplace. Chaos ensued.
Employers can help with early adoption, but certain criteria has to be met. The price point has to be acceptable and the potential pay-off has to be greater than the effort and cost. This has been the case in some medical and public service fields, but there aren't many early adopters out there. Wearables have the potential to save companies millions of dollars per year, depending on the application of the devices and the availability of lower-cost consumer versions. Based on the things we saw at the Consumer Electronics Show this year, there's no doubt that consumer grade wearables are on the way. The smart companies will figure out a way to fit them into the workflow.
What do you think? What’s your plan for wearables in the workplace?
Before you go, check out this cool video on typing on Google Glass —