You may have read that we’ve reached the tipping point of consumerization in the IT field. This means that a majority of IT developers now think about products in a new way. Businesses and organizations are no longer the target audience of IT development — the focus has shifted to the individual consumer.
The popularity of Bring-Your-Own-Device (BYOD) policies in the office has accelerated this new style of thinking. With employees having a choice in the devices they use at work, their opinions have become a more influential voice in development. Nowadays, the question is: How can we make a device that is more efficient, easy to use, and will operate inside and outside the office?
This isn’t just about making devices smaller, lighter, and, therefore, more portable — even though that is an important aspect of development. It’s about new opportunities for a new workplace. The office has become less and less physical and more and more virtual. Employees are networked across time and space. What unique needs does this new workplace have? And, what innovative opportunities does it open up for entrepreneurs across all industries?
If you understand the power of anticipating both problems and opportunities, which is part of the Anticipatory Organization™ Model I have written about and developed, it is easy to predict that the rapid growth of wearable tech will create a wear-your-own-device (WYOD) opportunity for the IT department of every organization. Wearables involve an even more intimate relation between user and device. Products such smart watches and other smart wearables provide even easier access to what have increasingly become cloud-based services, no longer rooted in the infrastructure of your office.
The rise of Software-as-a-Service (SaaS) models over the past decade corroborates this development. The only hurdle to wearables is the company itself. SaaS models allow companies to easily scale in size across devices. While maintaining security is an issue for new devices like wearables, this shouldn’t limit our imagination; wearables have a great deal of value and benefits to offer.
In fact, one of the most security-sensitive industries, one could argue, has already taken advantage of wearables. As I have written elsewhere, the healthcare industry has begun using wearables to shift from the Break-and-Fix model to the Predict-and-Prevent model. Wearables, which stay close to us in ways that even the tablet could not make possible, allow us to use health apps that measure everything from our daily caloric intake to the amount of miles we ran on a given day. Tracking and recording this day-to-day information gathering helps doctors develop a better sense of a patient’s health before making recommendations for improvement.
How might other industries take advantage of this collapse in distance between user and device? It’s not like wearables are some fluke development. Exponential increases in bandwidth, processing power, and storage capacity— these are the Three Digital Accelerators I have discussed for several decades now; they are propelling the wearable revolution and driving rapid innovation.
Having reached the tipping point of consumerization, this is no longer something for companies to consider. It’s something a company needs to master. Apps for smart devices including wearables will continue to be developed that take advantage of the exponential speed of change that is taking place. It’s up to your organization to see this Hard Trend and develop ways to ride this wave of innovation and growth.
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