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Workers wary of wearables in the workplace

Deploying wearables in the workplace may seem like a logical step for businesses but concerns over privacy make workers wary of their use.

Using wearables in the workplace is only but a logical step as the popularity of wearable devices continues to increase. Sales of wearable devices grew 118 percent year-on-year in 2015 in the UK 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 indeed that UK workers are worried about employers using wearables in the workplace against them. Only 46 percent of the 2,370 surveyed workers say 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 percent say they do not fully trust their employer to use wearable devices for their benefit. Another 37 percent say they do not trust their employer not to 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 say 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,” said Anthony Bruce.

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, provided workplace benefits, the number of workers favorable to the use of wearables in the workplace increases to 55 percent.

Attitudes towards wearables in the workplace are more positive among millennials, that is those born between 1981 and 1996. Six in ten millennials say they would be happy to use a work-supplied smartwatch. Provided workplace benefits, the number rises to seven in ten, compared to only three in ten among workers aged 55 and over. “Younger workers are much more willing to trade their personal data in return for workplace benefits. Given the war for talent, organisations should be thinking about how attractive their benefits and workplace technology is to this next generation of workers,” said Bruce.

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 percent in 2016, reaching 101.9 million units by the end of 2016. By 2020, shipments are expected to reach 213.6 million units. An increasing share of these, 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. 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,” said Jitesh Ubrani, senior research analyst for IDC Mobile Device Trackers. 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 14 July; Orange, Telia and AT&T take leadership role in OpenDaylight; Siklu unveils 60GHz radio for interference-free connectivity; U.S. Department of State awards C3 IoT $25 million IoT contract

wearables in the workplace

5G: FCC to vote on 5G spectrum on 14 July

FCC 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 5G. ”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,” said Tom Wheeler. ”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 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 (SDN) and Network Functions Virtualization (NFV). The project aims to offer tools that make it easier to deploy multi-layer 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 60GHz 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 60GHz band, will provide predictable and reliable performance. “We’ve made this new 60GHz 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 Siklu co-founder and chairman Izik Kirshenbaum.

Enterprise IoT: U.S. Department of State awards C3 IoT $25 million IoT contract

The U.S. Department of State awarded C3 IoT a multi-year contract of up to $25 million to provide its enterprise application development platform. This is, according to C3 IoT, the Federal Government’s first enterprise-wide 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, Energy, Environment, and Sustainability at the U.S. Department of State.

 

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