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Get Ready for Wearables at Work

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Wearable technology has left the realm of science fiction and landed squarely in the real world. This Spiceworks white paper, based on a recent survey of IT pros, looks at barriers and benefits to adoption of wearables in the workplace. To learn more, visit

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Get Ready for Wearables at Work

  1. 1. - Samsung Tablet Photo - Get Ready for Wearables at Work Survey of IT pros reveals drivers, benefits, and challenges of supporting wearables in the workforce
  2. 2. G E T R E A D Y F O R W E A R A B L E S A T W O R K // 1 Introduction 2 The move to wearables is on 3 Being prepared for the challenges 5 Wearables at work: Real-world use cases 7 Leading the way in wearables with Samsung Gear 9 About Samsung 9 About the survey 10 Table of contents
  3. 3. G E T R E A D Y F O R W E A R A B L E S A T W O R K // 2 Wearable technology has decidedly left the realm of science fiction and landed squarely in the real world, where people are wearing wristbands that track their fitness activities, watches that do everything smartphones do, and eyewear that displays videos, maps, and more. And now the focus is shifting from consumer applications to business ones, where industry observers are predicting profound improvements in productivity and efficiency, as well as other benefits, for the organizations that support them.1 Wearables are already starting to make inroads among some enterprise-size companies.2 But is the work world at large ready for wearables? What are the factors that will drive – or discourage – their widespread adoption? What about the challenges associated with introducing wearables at work? In a recent Spiceworks survey of 187 IT pros in the U.S., they talk about business use of wearables, their views on the barriers and benefits to adoption, and use cases – both actual and anticipated – for their organizations. This white paper shares key findings from the survey as well as other relevant information to help organizations make the most of wearables in their work environments. The benefits are undeniably powerful, and the key to reaping them is being informed and prepared. Introduction Wearables are already starting to make inroads among some enterprise- size companies - Tech.pinions !
  4. 4. G E T R E A D Y F O R W E A R A B L E S A T W O R K // 3 According to the survey, while the overwhelming majority of organizations (94%) are not currently supporting wearables, more than one third are planning to do so in the next 12 months. This tracks with other reports of growing adoption rates for tablets. PricewaterhouseCoopers (PwC), for example, projects an adoption rate in the U.S. that will match that of tablets in 2012.4 And Fortune magazine recently predicted that adoption of wearables at work would outpace consumer adoption, based on research by Harris Interactive.5 The move to wearables is on 38% Likelihood of supporting wearables Within the next 12 months Are likely to support wearables in the next 12 months 1%Extremely likely 1%Very likely 3%Somewhat likely 33%Likely 52%Not at all likely 10%Don’t know
  5. 5. G E T R E A D Y F O R W E A R A B L E S A T W O R K // 4 T H E M O V E T O W E A R A B L E S I S O N What’s driving adoption? The overwhelming factor is employee demand, cited by the majority of respondents that already support wearables. And what benefits have organizations experienced (or, if they don’t support wearables yet, what benefits do they expect to experience) from supporting wearables? The top three responses – hands-free functionality (37%), enhanced communication/collaboration (33%), and enhanced mobility (32%) can be seen as interrelated. As Brent Lang points out in a Wired blogpost: “From hotels to nuclear energy plants to hospitals, highly mobile workers in these fast-paced environments are using wearable communication devices to intelligently connect and collaborate with each other.” He also notes that these are “…the devices that don’t get in the way of doing work, which often leads to a desire for hands-free wearable devices.”6 The benefits of supporting wearables Hands-free functionality 37% Enhanced communications/collaboration 33% 100% Enhanced mobility 32% Increased productivity 25% Increased efficiency 23% Increased accuracy 19% Improved end-user experience 18% Improved customer experience/customer care 12% Increased availability 12% Simplified management 7% Reduced costs 2% Innovation 2% Reduced hardware requirements 2% Other 3% None 18% Don’t know 17% 50%
  6. 6. G E T R E A D Y F O R W E A R A B L E S A T W O R K // 5 While surveyed organizations recognized a variety of benefits from supporting wearables, they also associated a number of challenges with wearables. Forty-nine percent identified loss or theft of devices as the greatest challenge they experienced or would expect to experience with wearables. Other top challenges included end-user policy enforcement and security compliance/ requirements (both 35%). Being prepared for the challenges Challenges of wearable support Lost or stolen devices 49% Enforcement of end-user policies 35% 100% Security compliance/requirements 35% Increased costs 32% Increased help desk calls/support time 32% Security breaches/threats 30% Ownership of personal data 25% Software/app compatibility 24% Increased mgmt. complexity 25% Device control 21% Device quality/reliability 21% Bandwidth 9% API security 8% Increased device volume 7% Other 5% None 3% Don’t know 7% 50%
  7. 7. G E T R E A D Y F O R W E A R A B L E S A T W O R K // 6 B E I N G P R E P A R E D F O R T H E C H A L L E N G E S For organizations that don’t support wearables but are considering support, the question is whether the benefits outweigh the challenges. There’s a strong argument to be made that they do – if organizations are prepared to take steps to address the challenges successfully. As Steven Bjarnason, a certified information systems security professional stated in BusinessNewsDaily, “It’s a question of asking if your company wants to embrace [wearable technology] as a natural order of things without a plan, or understand in advance what the implications and costs are so that it can adequately deal with the security, safety, and privacy issues this technology potentially imparts.”7 Evaluating the security of devices is an important first step. Choosing wearables that can be locked, for example, will ensure that unauthorized users can’t access their data in the event of loss or theft. And engaging employees in preparation of supporting wearables is critical; it’s a good idea to train employees to both maximize the usefulness and mitigate the dangers of wearables.8 Employee education is also key to addressing one of the other major challenges surveyed IT pros identified: end-user policy enforcement. Security expert Stephen Brown says that “…organizations need to educate their employees and create a culture of accountability so that they respect corporate policy.”9 Evaluating the security of devices is an important first step in supporting wearables in the workplace. !
  8. 8. G E T R E A D Y F O R W E A R A B L E S A T W O R K // 7 When asked about use cases in their own environments, 45% of survey respondents said they would use (or were already using) wearables to enable mobile communication/ collaboration. Thirty-seven percent use them to collect real-time data/information, and 35% use them to run mobile/hands-free applications. Wearables at work: Real-world use cases Wearable use cases To enable m obile com m unication/collaboration 0% 20% 40% 60% 80% 100% 45% To collectreal-tim e data/ inform ation 37% To run m obile/hands-free apps 35% To track tim e/billable hours 25% To m anage ortrack workforce 25% Other None Don’tknow 6% 19% 10%
  9. 9. G E T R E A D Y F O R W E A R A B L E S A T W O R K // 8 W E A R A B L E S A T W O R K : R E A L - W O R L D U S E C A S E S A smartwatch is a great example of how these use cases can play out. Organizations of all kinds can use smartwatches for mobile communication among employees – especially with employees on the road, who can get timely information from a smartwatch when it’s not advisable to use a smartphone (for example, while driving). More specifically, healthcare organizations can expect to see smartwatches impacting medicine, from patients wearing them for hands-free monitoring of vital signs to healthcare workers using them to get valuable data while their hands are busy working on patients. The survey also touched on using wearables as part of employee wellness programs. Twenty-six percent of respondents in the survey indicated their organizations offered wellness programs that reimburse employees for wellness items such as wearable devices. This is an area where smartwatches offer a clear advantage over other types of mobile devices. As one technology writer puts it, “With a smartwatch you could glance at your wrist [to get statistics], and it can save battery power because you’ll get the data on your watch instead of having to use a lot of energy to light up your phone’s screen.”10 Organizations of all kinds can use smartwatches for mobile communication among employees– especially employees on the road... !
  10. 10. G E T R E A D Y F O R W E A R A B L E S A T W O R K // 9 Samsung is a leader in wearables for the workplace. Its Samsung Gear watches, from the Gear Fit for tracking fitness data to the network-connected Gear S™, made up more than 70% of the smartwatch market in the first quarter of 2014.11 Gear S™ benefits for business users include 3G network connectivity with the ability to call, text, email, or use GPS even while away from a phone, as well as an always-on two-inch display with plenty of room for reading notifications, viewing pictures, and responding to emails. Samsung: Leading the way in wearables with Samsung Gear As a global leader in enterprise mobility and information technology, Samsung Business provides a diverse portfolio of enterprise technologies including smartphones, wearables, tablets, digital displays, hospitality TVs, printers and medical diagnostic equipment. We are committed to putting the business customer at the core of everything we do by delivering comprehensive products, solutions and services across diverse industries including retail, healthcare, hospitality, education and government. For more information, please visit or follow Samsung Business via Twitter @SamsungBizUSA. About Samsung Business
  11. 11. G E T R E A D Y F O R W E A R A B L E S A T W O R K // 10 SamsungcommissionedSpiceworks toconduct anonlinesurvey inOctober 2014toprofilecurrent wearablebusinesspracticesandusecases, aswellastoidentify benefitsofandbarrierstowearable useintheworkplace.Atotalof187interviewswerecollectedfrom ITprosintheU.S. Halfofthe respondentscamefromcompanieswithfewer than100employees. Another 35% camefrom companieswith100to499employees, and15% camefrom companieswith500or moreemployees. About the survey Sources 1 “The Next Evolution for Wearables: Business,” Tech.pinions, October 2014. https://techpin- 2 “Wearables in business: Five companies getting real work done,” ZDNet, June 2014. done-7000030082 3 “Small businesses, not huge companies, will lead the way for tablet growth,” VentureBeat, March 2013. will-lead-the-way-for-tablet-growth/ 4 “The Wearable Future,” PricewaterhouseCoopers, 2014. try/entertainment-media/publications/consumer-intelligence-series/assets/PWC-CIS-Wear- able-future.pdf 5 “Experts say adoption of wearables at work will outpace it at home thanks to im- proved safety, productivity, and collaboration,” Fortune, October 2014. http://fortune. com/2014/10/29/will-the-workplace-lead-wearable-technology-adoption 6 “Wearable Technology in the Workplace: Driving Real Business Value,” Wired, April 2014. source=activity?#axzz3JvfUsOON 7 “Wearable Tech at Work Poses Challenges for Businesses,” BusinessNewsDaily, June 2013. 8 “Big worries about wearables in the workplace: Could education be the best security meas- ure?,” AT&T Networking Exchange Blog, July 2014. enterprise-business/big-worries-wearables-workplace/#fbid=vV-AQVpWg35 9 “Securing the New Device on the Block,” Mobile Enterprise, November 2014. http://mobi- 10 “Killer Apps That Could Make Me Love the Samsung Galaxy,” Forbes, September 2013. love-the-samsung-galaxy-gear-smartwatch/ 11 “Samsung dominates as smartwatch market doubles in size,” CNET, May 2014. http://www.
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Wearable technology has left the realm of science fiction and landed squarely in the real world. This Spiceworks white paper, based on a recent survey of IT pros, looks at barriers and benefits to adoption of wearables in the workplace. To learn more, visit


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