Wearable Tech: Will It Wear Out the Network?

December 4, 2013 7:39 PM

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With the introduction of wearable technology like Samsung’s Galaxy Gear, Sony’s Smartwatch and Google Glass, it would appear that we are on the cusp of another era of gadgetry.

With these powerhouses thundering into the wearable technology market, industry analysts are predicting a spike in popularity and rapid growth over a relatively short amount of time. Gartner, for example, predicts that the global wearable computing market could be worth $10 billion in just three years.

While the benefits of gestural technology and hands-free devices are pretty clear for the healthcare and manufacturing sectors, the impact of wearable technology on the IT infrastructure is murky. How will IT professionals cope with employees’ wearable gadgets when they become as commonplace as smartphones or tablets? From a networking standpoint, the impact on corporate IT will a lot bigger than the size of a wrist watches.

Consider wearable technologies need to be paired with other devices like smartphones. This means you’ll have additional gadgets to manage, not replacements for existing ones. For those of you who find BYOD to be a challenge, consider the exponential impact wearable technology will have upon managing networks when there are even more devices brought from home. Not to mention having them attached to the network, hogging wireless bandwidth, and potentially delivering nasty malware anywhere it wants to go.

It is only a matter of time until businesses are forced to embrace the use of wearable technology. Remember “consumerization of IT”? That not-so-elegant term was used when IT saw the forces of nature (aka Apple) coming at them from the executive suite. Move ahead a few years and consumerization of IT got replaced with the more tongue-friendly BYOD. Consider who will be asking to attach their Google Glasses to the network. (Hint: everyone).

With wearable technology the flow of data through networks may hit white water rapids. While many of the gadgets will access networks via Wi-Fi or Bluetooth, they will typically require a connection to a laptop, computer or tablet so they can synch data. Say hello to a slower network and a potentially bigger bill from your ISP. Add to this the inevitable increase of calls to the help desk by annoyed users will not be pleased by decreasing application performance because the person sitting next to them is gazing into distance, daydreaming, with their Google Glasses on. It’s pretty obvious to me who will get the evil eye.

Whether or not wearable technology is going to makes its mark on network management next year or the year after, IT folks are going to have to start thinking about solidifying their BYOD policies not long after they recover from their New Year’s Eve hangovers.

Managing and monitoring a network is difficult enough as it is. Keep a close eye on it. Wearable technology is going to walk in the door sooner than later. And you won’t need Google Glass to see it.

Ennio Carboni is the President and GM for the Network & IT Management Division at Ipswitch.

Source: wired.com

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