IT Departments Prepare For Smartwatches
As The New Technology Increases In Popularity, Organizations Must Assess The Risks Involved
Recently the enterprise mobility management divisions of both BlackBerry and VMWare began adding tools to their platforms with the goal of helping IT departments manage smartwatches, ahead of a predicted explosion in the popularity of the devices. IDC reports that over 20 million smartwatches shipped in 2015–with that number expected to more than double in 2016–so many firms are hoping to get ahead of this trend before the devices become everyday accessories for their employees. Adding to the challenges is the fact that these devices are of prime interest to C-Level executives, who can often present unique challenges to IT departments.
While the challenges presented by smartwatches are largely similar to those presented by smartphones, watches have some added complexity because there are no standard APIs for interacting with them yet and additionally most models run a different OS than the phones they pair with. Despite these challenges, VMWare’s AirWatch and BlackBerry’s Good Technology already have some management solutions targeted at Apple’s Watch. AirWatch, for example, offers the ability to restrict certain applications from being launched from their smartwatch, and can even restrict the ability of an iPhone to pair with a watch at all. Good Technology’s platform allows IT departments to specify the level of detail shown in alerts on the Apple Watch, with the ability to restrict the sender’s name or subject line.
The subject of smartwatches in the enterprise is expected to be a hot topic at the upcoming Mobile World Congress, which takes place in Barcelona on the 22nd-25th of this month, and will likely focus more on this relatively new technology than on the smartphones which have dominated the conference in previous years.