Survey finds public sector managers unprepared for wearable technology

Wearable computers
Are government departments being short sighted?

Public sector IT departments already struggling with 'bring your own device' (BYOD) trends look set to be in for a shock when wearable technology takes off in the workplace.

Network experts Ipswitch have discovered that Public Sector Organisations (PSOs) in particular are completely unprepared.

The company made a Freedom of Information (FOI) request, discovering that 85 per cent of PSOs have no advance plan to deal with staff usage of wearables, even if the first and second generation devices are already arriving.

Councils are the worst

Most local councils (88 per cent) had no wearables plan, while 85 per cent of government departments and 83 per cent of NHS trusts had not given it a thought.

Strangely, universities, which are normally ahead of businesses when it comes to network technology, had also not thought much about wearable computers with only 76 per cent having a plan in place.

93 per cent of PSOs use network management tools, but only 23 per cent review network performance regularly in working hours. 65 per cent could not tell the difference between wired and wireless devices on their network.

Not bothered

One in eight PSOs never bothered to review their network performance at all. The problem is that the public sector is going to struggle to keep its networks running as BYOD expands with wearables added into the networks, potentially leading to serious performance hiccups and potential security nightmares.

Stephen Demianyk, director for UK and Ireland at Ipswitch, said cash-strapped public sector organisations are spending on network management tools offering features that they either do not need, or will never use. This means that they could face a perfect storm of device overload and performance degradation when employees start using wearables to connect to office networks.