SOUTHFIELD — Will wearables be the newest office accessory? The majority of CIOs (81 percent) believe they will, while only 16 percent aren’t buying it, according to the latest research from Robert Half Technology.
However, exactly when these devices will make it to the mainstream is where respondents differ.
Yes, the nation’s chief information officers believe wearable computing devices, such as watches and glasses, will become common workplace tools. Among this group, the majority 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.
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?
* Wearables will happen in the workplace: 81 percent
* Wearables in the workplace will happen within the next three to five years: 37 percent
* Wearables in the workplace willl happen, but it’s more than five years out: 24 percent
* Wearables in the workplace will happen within one to two years: 15 percent
* Wearables in the workplace will happen in less than a year: 5 percent
* Wearable technology won’t commonly be used in the workplace: 16 percent
Four percent said they didn’t know.
“Mobility and connectivity expectations for business have grown, making the ability to gain access anywhere, anytime imperative,” said John Reed, senior executive director of Robert Half Technology. “Emerging technologies such as wearables may help drive enterprise mobility and create a need for IT expertise to support their adoption at work.”
In Detroit, Jeremy Brodsky, branch manager of Robert Half Technology’s local office, said wearable tech could have special applications in a manufacturing environment.
“Wearable technology will be prevalent in practically every industry,” he said. “Speaking specifically to manufacturing in Detroit, wearable technology can absolutely adapt to improve efficiency, safety and more. For example, wearable augmented reality will allow for laborers/operators to see real-time data, while keeping their hands free to focus on the project at hand.”
And, he said, the auto industry will be a major user of the technology.
“Imagine driving when your car’s location/GPS triggers your smart watch to vibrate as you approach a destination it thinks you may be interested in, based on your selected and learned preferences,” Brodsky said. “The driver gives a simple nod or command and the watch interacts with the car’s infotainment system to give you more information. If you like what you hear, simply ‘snap’ with your smart driving gloves and the watch interacts with the car’s API to trigger a third party application to send the coupon directly to your cloud-based coupon app. The coupon is ready to be accessed and used from any of your devices. That’s simply an example – the possibilities are endless.”
He added that “In terms of safety, it’s always important to focus on the road. Driver safety will be the number one factor in determining how wearable technology is implemented in vehicles. In the near future, being connected may even improve auto safety alert functions.”
The survey from Robert Half Technology, a provider of IT professionals on a project and full-time basis, included responses from more than 2,400 CIOs at U.S. companies with 100 or more employees in 24 metropolitan areas.
Robert Half officials also offered three questions for IT leaders to consider when evaluating whether to support wearables for the business:
* Will this implementation enhance the business or its 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.
* 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.
* 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.
More at www.rht.com, twitter.com/RobertHalfTech or http://blog.rht.com.