Wearable tech on rise in public sector

Almost three quarters of public sector ICT decision makers report that staff are bringing wearable technology to the workplace, according to a new survey.

The study, which talked to more than 800 professionals across Europe and the Middle East, found that 69% also expect the numbers of staff wearing technology to increase in the next year.

But it also discovered widespread security concerns, with 97% aware that wearables present IT risks for their organisation.

The report said: “It is a truism that any new device entering the corporate environment presents a security risk, so an organisation needs to think about how they will manage the device to minimise that risk.

“The track record of businesses mitigating security risks from the BYOD trend shows that the earlier measures are implemented, the better.”

According to the survey, 68% of public sector respondents said their organisation actively encourages the use of wearables in the workplace.

However, only 33% said their workplace is either using such devices, or rolling them out – the lowest percentage of any sector included in the survey.

Smartwatches (62%) and activity trackers (62%), are the joint most popular devices used in the public sector.

The main reasons for deploying wearables in the public sector identified were boosting staff productivity (57%), inclusion in a staff well-being programme (48%), requirements under business insurance (44%) and being part of a Bring Your Own Device programme (41%).

And 59% said that their organisation needs to introduce limitations on the data captured by wearables. Just a quarter said that policies need to be completely rewritten in response to the rise of wearables.

Raimund Genes, chief technology officer at Trend Micro, said: “We are seeing the next phase of two related trends, Bring Your Own Device (BYOD) and consumerisation of IT. “As was the case with smartphones in their early days, we’re already seeing employees bring their own wearables into the workplace.

“We expect this will accelerate when the Apple Watch launches in Spring 2015.”

Colin Marrs

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