In 2014, 6.8 million smart watches were sold and the influx of this wearable tech has seen a plethora of vendors release their own models, with Samsung releasing multiple models operating on multiple platforms.
But in the world of Software Asset Management – where keeping track of the inventory within a software estate is crucial – how will this new highly mobile piece of equipment impact on SAM professionals?
To find out, we pitched the question to our SAM Channel Panel – a group of SAM Professionals who are keen to give their thoughts and opinions on all the latest developments within the Software Asset Management sector.
‘How will Wearable Technologies Impact SAM?’
Below is their responses…
Alex Ashley-Roberts | Head of Global Marketing at License Dashboard | Connect with Alex
As the number of wearable technologies grow and become more mainstream, SAM Managers will need to be aware of the potential impact on the organization’s license consumption. It’s not unrealistic to think that wearables will allow employees to check and respond to emails, read attachments and communicate using software which needs to be licensed. In my opinion I foresee this consumption to be managed under an organization’s SAM mobile/BYOD strategy – that said it may present a more unique challenge for the discovery tools, as wearables will need to periodically connect to the organization’s network in the same way that mobile devices do.
Matt Ward | Software Asset Manager at Softcat | Connnect with Matt
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 fortunately the outfits 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, that would provide a window onto our smartphones – and even monitor our wellbeing?
In the last two weeks 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 thing 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!
Hopefully the software vendors will provide explicit guidance here, but in the meantime organisations should be aware of the potential risks and plan accordingly. The SAM Manager’s job just got a lot harder – and these devices could increase the annual spend on licenses considerably.
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.
Rory Canavan | Owner of SAMCharter | Connect with Rory
The first question to be asked/answered should be: What value can wearable tech bring to business? Do we see a compelling need to tag humans? I very much doubt it. However, one area where wearable tech might be of use, would be in the support of use of concurrent licensing. If a wrist-band could offer the ability to talk to a laptop or pc via Bluetooth, then a software licence/key placed on the wrist-band could offer control of access to an installed software title in a real-time scenario.
For those manufacturers who are producing wearable tech, then rather like car manufacturers or those companies not deemed a core-IT company, they should be aware of the nuances of using open source software. Open source software is not black and white as to whether it is free for use/re-use. The shades of grey could see to it that the use of open source software requires modified open source code to be re-released back into the open source community – along with any competitive advantage gained in modifying that code.
Niall Eddery | Senior Consultant at Livingstone | Connect with Niall
The demand for wearables will continue the trend of consumerisation of the enterprise, but recent moves by Microsoft and others from device to per user licensing models will help support this. The big challenges for IT will be how to go about tracking and managing these deployments, particularly as users become more savvy in learning how to connect these devices up to their corporate accounts, such as syncing their watch with their corporate smartphone without any of the security controls! We believe that Asset Managers and IT Security Professionals should work hand in hand to control access, and use those access controls to ensure that licensing implications are dealt with.
It will be interesting to see how software vendors innovate to take advantage of additional functionality and how they move to monetise these new devices. Organisations will not embrace these technologies until they have positive impacts on productivity. There will be an impact beyond the first mover connectivity and fitness applications, and into areas such as database, middleware and ERP licensing. In addition to traditional software licensing concerns, organisations that develop new and interesting functions for wearables should be considering the impact of patents on their inventions.
Interesting times ahead!
What’s you view? Leave your thoughts below!