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Tech leaders see wearables working in the workplace


As wearables gain popularity, it’s just a matter of time before workplace applications start to emerge, research shows. In a new survey from Robert Half Technology, 63% of CIOs said they believe wearable computing devices, such as watches and glasses, will become common workplace tools. Among this group, 20% expect to see workplace-wearables within five years. Wearables could potentially be used to record meetings, scan documents, provide navigation and take photographs for business.

The survey was developed and conducted by Robert Half Technology, a leading provider of IT professionals on a project and full-time basis, and includes responses from more than 270 CIOs at companies with 100 or more employees across Canada.

CIOs were asked, “When, if at all, do you think wearable technology, such as the Apple Watch or Google Glass, will be a commonly used workplace tool?” Key findings include:

Wearables will happen in the workplace (total) 63%

Will happen within the next three to five years 20%

Will happen but it’s more than five years out 32%

Will happen as soon as three years out 7%

Will happen as soon as one year out 4%

Wearable technology won’t commonly be used in the

workplace 15%

Don’t Know 22%

“It will be interesting to see the impact that wearable technologies have on the workplace, if and when they do make it into the fold,” Deborah Bottineau, senior regional manager of Robert Half Technology. “The early adoption of wearable technology in the workplace will require a considerable investment from CIOs. With increased mobility and connectivity comes the need to upskill IT professionals to support this new technology in a way that is beneficial to the business.”

Robert Half Technology offers three questions for IT leaders to consider when evaluating whether to support wearables for the business:

1. Will this implementation enhance our business and/or productivity? Consider whether or not a new technology benefits your company and how it will add value to the business. Beyond hopping on a new trend, it’s vital to measure the long-term benefits of additional devices and how they could positively impact the workplace. Effectively answering this question will help communicate the potential value to leaders in the organization.

2. Am I aware of security risks and is the company equipped to handle them? New technologies have the potential to introduce security vulnerabilities. Technology leaders must understand – and communicate to other business leaders – the difference in security risk levels with enterprise-provided wearables versus employees’ personal devices and develop plans and policies to match.

3. Have I prepared a sound policy, communications plan and training strategy around wearable technology at the office? It’s crucial to have a preemptive communications approach that will address any new policies and necessary training. Preparedness will be fundamental to the successful adoption of wearables for the workplace.