We’re all familiar with BYOD and the way it has transformed the workforce over the past 5 years. Back in the day companies issued their own computers and systems to employees. However, with the consumerization of IT, employees have started to call the shots by bringing their own smartphones and tablets and personal devices to work. The BYO, or Bring Your Own [fill in the blank] trends, have continued and we’ve seen plenty of variations . . . such as BYON (Bring Your Own Network) and BYOC (Bring Your Own Cloud).
But what about BYOW, or Bring Your Own Wearable. Gotcha on that one?! You may not have heard of BYOW, but believe it or not now is the ideal time to get onboard with this latest trend. “Really!” you might ask, “Isn’t it a little too soon?” After all we’ve just adjusted to the reality of BYOD (and the all the challenges that has come with it). Are we ready for another paradigm-shift? Well, here’s what we know so far.
Wearables market is projected to rise sharply: A fresh new report out says the Global Connected Wearable Device market will grow at a CAGR of 54.11 percent over the period 2013-2018. The major driver of this trend is the “convergence” of user-friendly services (telecom, media, IT, and infotainment) onto a single device that’s easily accessible on a mobile platform.
Apple Watch will change everything: The recent announcement of Apple Watch has all eyes on early 2015 when the devices will actually be available for purchase. As one writer has well stated, Apple Watch “is the new orbit around that center [of liquid computing], bringing computing to an even more personal device than a phone. Watches are passé for many of us, something that the smartphone obviated. With the Apple Watch, Apple rejuvenates the watch as both a watch and a new kind of personal computing device.”
Ubiquitous computing is here: The continued ascendancy of mobile computing over desktops, coupled with Internet of Things and wearables, will mean that computers will soon be everywhere. According to one source, “Gartner posits that smart-phones and wearable devices are part of a broader computing offering to include connected screens in the workplace and in public spaces.” The old bulky PC screens and smartphones will become a relic of the past as we see instant connectivity extend to our surroundings. Clear, transparent touch-based surfaces will provide endless ways to interact digitally with our environments. 2015 will be a breakthrough year for ubiquitous computing.
With these points in mind, the question naturally arises, what are you going to do about wearables? Is BYOW even on your horizon? It’s seriously not too late to start planning for this. Gartner makes the point by currently projecting that 2015 is a benchmark year, or the time when companies need to start introducing policies and programs for a “digital workforce” in order to stay in the top quartile of productivity by 2020. Brand new research also shows that IT professionals believe that BYOW is risker than BYOD and that most companies are ill-equipped to deal with wearables in the workplace.
So instead of shying away from BYOW, smart and innovative organizations need to step things up and take it as an opportunity to urgently move ahead on their broader digitization strategy. When BYOW hits the workplace it’s going to move fast. Enterprises will likely leverage their experiences with BYOD smartphones and tablets to spin up Internet of Things and wearable devices into their IT structure more quickly and efficiently.
Now is the time to act and get on board with the latest advances in wearable technologies. Map and plan out your BYOW strategy by incentivizing the proposition; make it easy for those who want to tie their wearables into the company cloud. Give prizes for the best innovative ideas by offering winners a new Apple Watch. Or perhaps while you’re waiting for Apple Watch to enter the market, kickoff a New Year’s 2015 health incentives program by giving out Fitbits to help your employees monitor their health.
Whatever plan you choose, be proactive and start today to make BYOW part of your broader mobile and Internet of Things strategy in 2015.