Deploying wearables in the workplace may seem like a logical step for businesses, but concerns over privacy make workers wary
Using wearables in the workplace is a logical next step as the popularity of the devices continues to increase. In the U.K., 2015 sales of wearable devices grew 118% year-on-year as around 3 million people purchased such devices. Privacy concerns among workers may, however, hamper the realization of that evolution.
A new study by PwC research shows that U.K. workers are worried about employers using information from their wearables against them. Only 46% of the 2,370 surveyed workers said they would accept a free piece of wearable technology if their employers had access to the data that is recorded. The main barrier for those workers unwilling to share their information is data privacy. A total of 40% said they do not fully trust their employer to use wearable devices for their benefit, and another 37% said they do not trust their employer to not use the data against them in some way.
“Despite more people owning wearable devices, many people are still reluctant to use them in the workplace due to trust issues. Employers haven’t been able to overcome the ‘big brother’ reaction from people to sharing their personal data,” said Anthony Bruce, people analytics leader at PwC.
Paradoxically, two-thirds (65%) of surveyed workers said they want their employer to take an active role in their health and wellbeing and feel technology should be used to enable this.
“Workers are keen for their employers to play a more active role in health and wellbeing, but there is currently a reluctance to share the personal information that would enable employers to do this,” Bruce said.
Show me the workplace benefits
The number of workers willing to use wearables in the workplace increases when their use is attached to real workplace benefits, such as flexible working hours and working from different locations. Indeed, when provided with benefits, the number of workers favorable to the use of wearables in the workplace increases to 55%.
Attitudes toward wearables in the workplace are more positive among millennials – those born between 1981 and 1996. Six in 10 millennials said they would be happy to use a work-supplied smartwatch. When provided workplace benefits, the number rises to seven in 10, compared to only three in 10 among workers aged 55 and over.
“Younger workers are much more willing to trade their personal data in return for workplace benefits,” Bruce said. “Given the war for talent, organizations should be thinking about how attractive their benefits and workplace technology is to this next generation of workers.”
Eye-worn wearables in the workplace
The wearables market is expected to continue to grow at a rapid pace. IDC forecasts that shipments of wearable devices will grow 20% in 2016, reaching 101.9 million units by the end of the year, rising to 213.6 million units shipped by 2020. An increasing share of these wearables, in particular eye-worn devices, are expected to be used in the workplace.
“Watches and bands are and always will be popular, but the market will clearly benefit from the emergence of additional form factors – like clothing and eyewear – that will deliver new capabilities and experiences,” Jitesh Ubrani, senior research analyst for IDC Mobile Device Trackers, said. “Eyewear has a clear focus on the enterprise as it stands to complement or replace existing computing devices, particularly for workers in the field or on the factory floor. Meanwhile, clothing will take aim at the consumer, offering the ability to capture new forms of descriptive and prescriptive data.”
Businesses will now have to design privacy policies that encourage adoption among workers to capitalize on wearables in the workplace.
IIoT news recap: FCC to vote on 5G spectrum on July 14; Orange, Telia and AT&T take leadership role in OpenDaylight; Siklu unveils 60 GHz radio for interference-free connectivity; U.S. Department of State awards C3 IoT $25M contract
5G: FCC to vote on 5G spectrum on July 14
Federal Communications Commission Chairman Tom Wheeler wants to speed up the deployment of “5G” to ensure U.S. leadership in wireless. To that effect, he presented Spectrum Frontiers, a 5G proposal that aims to open up spectrum and speed the rollout of the technology.
“Here’s the key – the interconnected world we live in today is the result of decisions we made a decade ago. The interconnected world of the future will be the result of decisions we must make today. That is why 5G is a national priority, and why, this Thursday, I am circulating to my colleagues proposed new rules that will identify and open up vast amounts of spectrum for 5G applications,” Wheeler said. “We call it the Spectrum Frontiers proceeding, and we will vote on it July 14th.”
The FCC chairman went on to say that unlike other countries, the priority was to free spectrum and not “spend the next couple of years studying what 5G should be, how it should operate and how to allocate spectrum, based on those assumptions.”
We can only speculate that this plan is in reference to the European Commission’s recently launched six-week long 5G consultation among other regulatory initiatives.
SDN/NFV: Orange, Telia and AT&T take leadership role in OpenDaylight
Orange, together with Telia and AT&T, have initiated the TransportPCE project within OpenDaylight, an open-source project focused on software defined networking and network functions virtualization. The project aims to offer tools that make it easier to deploy multilayer transport use cases using OpenDaylight.
“OpenDaylight as an SDN controller is a critical part of the transformation to more programmable and On-Demand Networks that carriers today so desperately need. Collaborating with both the OpenDaylight and OPNFV communities is important to Orange as we look to SDN and NFV to deliver increased agility, programmability and use experience across our networks,” said Dr. Houmed Ibrahim of Orange.
OpenDaylight also announced Vodafone’s Kevin Brackpool has joined its advisory board.
Millimeter wave: Siklu unveils 60 GHz radio for interference-free connectivity
Siklu, a provider of millimeter wave wireless solutions, announced a new V-band radio for providing interference-free connectivity on the street. The new EtherHaul-500, which will operate in the license-free 60 GHz band, will provide predictable and reliable performance.
“We’ve made this new 60 [gigahertz] radio so affordable, it makes economic sense for any case wireless connectivity is required. We’re seeing high interest from integrators for video surveillance as well as other safe city networks providing mission critical connectivity in dense urban areas,” said Izik Kirshenbaum, Siklu co-founder and chairman.
Enterprise IoT: U.S. Department of State awards C3 IoT $25M contract
The U.S. Department of State awarded C3 IoT a multiyear contract of up to $25 million to provide its enterprise application development platform. This is, according to C3 IoT, the federal government’s first enterprisewide contract to deploy energy management and predictive analytics technology globally.
“With C3 IoT as its strategic technology partner, the Department of State will enhance operational efficiencies by analyzing hundreds of thousands of its facility data points in real time, making our data lakes a rich source of actionable items. Leveraging the C3 IoT Platform’s extremely powerful machine-learning capabilities and scalable infrastructure, we will be able to identify and address outliers across our global buildings portfolio, learn how to improve upon previous embassy designs and operations, and, overall, lower utility and maintenance costs while greatly reducing our energy and environmental footprint,” said Landon Van Dyke, senior advisor of energy, environment and sustainability at the U.S. Department of State.