The wearable device market is witnessing a steady growth in consumer applications and business use. A new report predicts wearable device shipments will reach 187 million units by 2020 with a compound annual growth rate of 34 percent, which means we will be seeing more and more wearables in both personal and professional aspects of our lives for years to come.
With IoT and wearables — the future is here
The currently ubiquitous smartphone may soon be replaced by its smarter (and more convenient) cousin and could move far beyond the functionality of a smartphone. Wearable devices already have the ability to monitor how we sleep, exercise, eat, and so much more. In fact, many of us are already familiar with several of these devices: think of devices like the Fitbit, Jawbone, and Misfit that you already see so many mainstream users wearing. We want to toggle seamlessly between work and home. We want the convenience of receiving our messages on our wrist and our data in our glasses. We even want our devices to monitor our sleep patterns and report the slightest hint of abnormality straight to our doctor.
The last instance is an excellent example of how the Internet of Things (IoT) applications can cross from consumer to healthcare use. In fact, it wouldn’t be too far-fetched to imagine this kind of technology allowing doctors to catch health problems at earlier stages. That being said, where does IoT fit into our professional life? How could it impact the workplace as we know it today? Without a doubt, in today’s data-driven business world, IoT is extremely relevant and has become key to organizational success.
Workplace IoT — get your devices together
Think of an IoT-backed workplace. Can’t you imagine a device that will lock your office doors when you leave the area? Imagine having your car ready before you’ve barely stepped out of the elevator. On a business trip, imagine a device that can tell if you are hungry and then suggest a nice sandwich spot just a few blocks away. It may even be able to give you directions and have your order called in before you get there. What if it knows when you will be late for a face-to-face meeting and changes that meeting to a video conference?
These would be amazing applications and aren’t too hard to believe. However, there are other areas in today’s enterprise where IoT could make a huge difference. Just one of these areas would be office security. With more and more open offices and remote workers, there is greater risk of security breaches. In the past, many of these security breaches have been based on hacking and those have been addressed several times. What we haven’t addressed as well is how employee usage can also create a security breach. In these cases, there is great potential for IoT and wearable devices to help in monitoring how employees use data and the information shared with them.
While we already know the potentials of IoT in workplace communication, collaboration, customer service and generating better revenues, we need to think of its use in other cases as well. What if an IoT device could connect the device to the person with proximity, eliminating any commands or communication that would come from anywhere beyond that device? What if an employee leaves his work station to go to the bathroom, and the machine locks once communication to the other edge device is broken? What about power management with the same device? How much could businesses save if equipment wasn’t left running after a certain time that a person was away? These are just a few powerful IoT and wearable device opportunities in the workplace.
As we inch closer to the future of hyper-connectedness, IoT will become a major factor that will impact the growth of organizations and create a workplace to be embraced by a tech-driven breed of the next generation’s workforce.
What possibilities do you see for wearable devices and IoT in the workplace?
This post was written as part of the Dell Insight Partners program, which provides news and analysis about the evolving world of tech. To learn more about tech news and analysis visit Tech Page One. Dell sponsored this article, but the opinions are my own and don’t necessarily represent Dell’s positions or strategies. The original post can be found here.