The world of cloud computing is no longer relegated to dusty data centers and ethereal bandwidths. From digital fitness bands to smart watches, cloud storage and processing has become a point of SaaS-infused fashion for many users. As we hastily transition into the Internet of Things, cloud providers and consumers are finding new wearable tools to access personal data from anywhere.
For businesses, these tools further enhance the ability to collect pertinent customer data – like patient health information for hospitals. A simple digital wristband or watch can become a real-time connection between the user and the cloud – and provide companies with even more data from users.
Smart glasses and watches leading the way
There are a variety of wearable tech tools available today, but these two are the most pertinent for businesses looking to leverage real-time cloud computing:
Smart glasses: Perhaps the most widely-known and marketed wearable cloud device, driven by Google Glass and its ability to overlay real-time information generated from the cloud. Google has generally promoted the Glass device toward consumers, but there are several enterprise-level benefits as well.
Imagine a doctor having real-time information about a patient’s vitals within a pair of smart glasses, and being alerted when something goes wrong. Philips Healthcare is partnering with Google to develop this concept. When combined with quick access to patient electronic health records (EHR), the opportunities with Glass for health care providers is immense.
Some enterprise IT providers have already joined the smart glasses bandwagon. Fiberlink, a cloud-based mobility management provider, has allowed access to its MaaS360 platform via Google Glass. Utilizing Google’s Glass Mirror API, Fiberlink was able to add Glass-enabled IT monitoring functionality to its platform.
Smart watches: This relatively new segment of the wearable cloud computing market aims to supplement the massive BYOD-infused influx of tablets and smartphones into the enterprise market. Users can don these watches and be alerted of email and other messages, which are then opened on their smartphones.
It’s still too early to tell if the smart watch convenience factor is enough to create widespread demand, but the enterprise potential is there – especially for businesses that rely on frequent hands-on work. Service technicians, for example, can utilize enterprise-friendly smart watch applications to more easily repair complex machinery.
Implications for enterprise cloud computing operations
Wearable tech tools provide significant possibilities for businesses, though they further advance the privacy concerns that have dogged BYOD and cloud computing for years. IT managers should update their BYOD policies in advance to account for these smart devices, which can seamlessly send vital user information into the cloud ether. Wearable tech is new enough to be considered experimental, but do you want to take that chance with your business’ data and transactions?
While wearable cloud computing tech has largely been targeted towards consumers, the opportunities for enterprise businesses remain strong. However, as is the case with all new technologies in the cloud computing era, the initial implementation hurdles and privacy concerns can stall widespread adoption.
The first response for enterprise IT? Work to update those BYOD policies now – you might start seeing some more smart devices requesting access in the near future.