Is It Time for the Apple Watch?

The news that the Apple Watch will hit the market in a few weeks may seem like a story best relegated to a consumer Website or a general interest magazine. But CIOs should take note and begin to prepare the enterprise for the latest in a long and continuing line of devices that are redefining business and the BYOD space.

Already, Salesforce, Evernote and Twitter have tossed apps in the ring–in this case, a watch–and many other software providers are following along. The Salesforce app will integrate with Siri and allow users to drill down into graphs, charts and data. Evernote will let users dictate notes, set reminders and tackle to-do lists. Airlines and major hotels are also introducing apps, including American Airlines and Starwood. It’s safe to say that a lot of software vendors will soon be supporting the platform.

For better or for worse, and perhaps both simultaneously, we have entered a new era of computing, communication and interaction. There’s growing discussion that mobile workers handle work differently, including tackling smaller chunks of work at a single time and laboring across multiple devices. In a world–and a business environment–filled with iPhones and iPads, it’s obvious that the Apple Watch represents the next phase of mobility.

In fact, wearables, such as the Apple Watch, could prove to be a boon for technicians and others who require a hands-free working environment and brief but important interactions. It could also pay dividends for doctors and other medical professionals. For instance, Mayo Clinic has announced Synthesis, a scheduling tool for doctors.

But supporting the technology is only half the equation. There’s also a need to lock down data and ensure that stringent security protections exist. Smartphones and tablets create a multitude of new data points and wearable devices will accelerate this trend. Employees–and this can range from entry-level clerks to the C-Suite–are often oblivious to the risks they introduce.

The upshot? Organizations may require upgrades and patches for BYOD software, new or improved apps stores, redefined data governance models, a greater use of encryption software, and a re-examination of policies and procedures. There may also be opportunities to interact with customers and clients in fundamentally different ways, such as how they check into a hotel and unlock the door to their room, pick up a car rental or purchase an item.

It’s back to the future all over again.

Samuel Greengard
Samuel Greengard writes about business, technology and other topics. His book, The Internet of Things (MIT Press) was released in the spring of 2015.

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