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Being a child of the 70's...

Posted on Monday, March 30, 2015
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By Matt Ward
ITAM Business Manager

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Being a child of the 70’s, I was really into Star Wars (OK, I still am!) and Buck Rodgers on BBC 2 after school. The futuristic spaceships, outfits and wearable technology stimulated my imagination.

Fast forward to today and while the outfits fortunately remain firmly in the past, some of the technologies have become reality – wearables in particular. Did we ever really believe 30 years ago that we would see in our lifetime a full-on computer on our wrists, masquerading as a watch, which would provide a window onto our smartphones – and even monitor our wellbeing?

In the last few months the race for market share has got serious: both Apple and Microsoft have launched their own versions of the smart watch and this got me thinking as a SAM professional about the implications of these devices in the workplace and how it will affect my job moving forward.

The lines between personal and work devices have been blurring over the last few years, and you can bet that this will remain the case with wearables. A smart watch might well be a user’s personal device, but I think it is very unlikely that they will take it off the minute they step through the door to the office!

Obviously organisations will need to amend their policies to take account of these devices and their potential to create opportunities for security breaches, distract from core work purposes and so on. However in my position as SAM Manager, I’m more concerned about the potential licensing implications. One of the possible functions of a smart watch is a preview of your emails and calendar. That immediately makes me think about Software Assurance for secondary and roaming usage rights, and user based licensing rather than device. And that’s before we get into the potential of your smart watch requiring a client access license!

We wait to see how software vendors address this challenge but it’s a trend set to continue. In the meantime, organisations should start to think about how this new wave of wearables will affect current IT policies and how best to manage their use in the workplace. In practice this could be as simple as updating current BYOD policies and strategy to include wearables but can extend to engaging the Softcat SAM team to better understand a more specific solution.

As a Star Wars fan, I’m fascinated to watch the technology develop – and the evolution of the software licensing landscape around that technology is equally interesting to me as a SAM Manager.

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