The market for wearable electronics and connected objects making up the Internet of Things looks set to grow at an increasing rate, but companies whose employees use these devices seem to be neglecting a major question they raise, i.e. how the data could or should be exploited.

Companies Unaware of Issues around Wearables Data?

Only a very small proportion – just 8% – of the 1,500 companies responding to a recent survey carried out by Salesforce, the global cloud computing company based in San Francisco, claimed they were fully ready to take action on the data gathered by wearable electronic devices used by staff or customers. This statistic indicates how sluggish many companies still are in this field. The results reveal a huge paradox: despite the fact that firms are increasingly trying out ways of using wearables, they are still dragging their feet when it comes to actually using the data these devices provide. So are business managers themselves aware of this anomaly?

Some 23% of respondents working at the companies polled see data collection and aggregation as a major challenge in this area. At the same time however only 13% regard data security as a major challenge going forward. Apparently data security is not the main issue for most companies today.

Nevertheless, a report from HP published several months ago pointed out one huge weakness shown by the majority of connected objects: 80% of them do not require sufficiently strong passwords. IT professionals recently surveyed by Tokyo-based global security software company Trend Micro Incorporated also pointed to the huge security problems from which connected objects – both wearables and other types of personal devices – currently suffer. A quarter of those polled said that their company had already had to deal with data breaches stemming from a connected object.


                        Are businesses ready to use data collected from wearables?

Company staff – IT Directors aside – do not yet seem to be fully aware of the data security issues around wearables. Perhaps enthusiasm for the technology is clouding people’s judgement. At any rate, the Salesforce report forecasts that the use of wearables across enterprises will triple over the next two years. Many firms do seem keen to make use of them: 56% say they are interested in using the Apple Watch, 55% Google Glass and 48% Fitbit – to name just a few examples.

It seems clear that companies will need to decide very soon how wearables should be used, both by their customers and their employees. The primary objective revealed by the respondents to the Salesforce survey is to be able to monitor employee productivity levels. This stated aim came out ahead of such important areas as staff training and customer behaviour analysis.


By Guillaume Scifo