85% of the public sector is unprepared for the impact of wearable technology on its IT infrastructure

A Freedom of Information (FOI) request by Ipswitch has revealed that when asked specifically about managing wearable technology entering the workplace – from Google Glass to smart watches – an overwhelming 85% of public sector organisations (PSOs) admitted to having no plan in place.

The request revealed that despite 93% of PSOs having invested in network management tools, less than a quarter (23%) bother to review network performance regularly during office hours.

It also found that, despite the rich feature set offered by these tools, almost two-thirds (65%) of PSOs across the UK are unable to differentiate between wired and wireless devices on their network.

Finally, even though performance was cited as a key priority by 87% of PSOs, only just over a third (34%) review network performance on a weekly basis or less frequently.  One in eight (12%) of PSOs admit to not reviewing network performance at all.

In comparison, 88% of local authorities, 85% of government departments, 83% of NHS trusts and 76% of universities admit to having no plan for wearable technology in place.

Furthermore, 79% of government departments, 69% of LAs, 62% of NHS trusts and 49% of universities across the UK are unable to differentiate between wired and wireless devices on their network

And nearly one-in-ten (9%) of government departments, one in eight local authorities (13%) and 15% of universities admit to not reviewing network performance at all

The FOIA request was designed to identify whether 634 public sector organisations, including government departments, local authorities, NHS trusts and universities, were adopting effective approaches to the widespread challenge of managing a growing number of devices on the network. 

>See also: Wearable device shipments to reach 130 million by 2018

It looked at whether they were using network management tools effectively to manage challenges and whether they were looking ahead to plan for fresh challenges, such as the security and network bandwidth issues that can be expected, as employees rapidly adopt wearable technologies for personal and professional use.

“Many cash-strapped public sector organisations are spending on network management tools offering features that they either don’t need, or will never use,” said Stephen Demianyk, director for UK and Ireland at Ipswitch.

“Meanwhile, they appear unable to easily gather fundamental data about the growing number of devices on their network. It’s a perfect storm of device overload and performance degradation that they’ll struggle to manage.”

Demianyk believes that as BYOD and its various adaptions continue to gather momentum, and the adoption of wearable technology gathers pace, many organisations risk losing control of their network, their devices and the bandwidth needed to function.

He added: “Public sector organisations should ask themselves what they really need to understand about their network, and ensure they’re using a solution closely aligned to this need.”

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Ben Rossi

Ben was Vitesse Media's editorial director, leading content creation and editorial strategy across all Vitesse products, including its market-leading B2B and consumer magazines, websites, research and...

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