Get ready for BYOW--Bring your own watch


Rumors have been circulating about Apple (NASDAQ: AAPL) and Samsung both developing smartwatches, and perhaps these will become the next smart device battleground in the enterprise.

First, the "iWatch" rumors. According to a number of media outlets, Apple has a team of managers, marketing, software and hardware engineers working on a smartwatch, according to sources familiar with the group's work.

Bruce Tognazzini, a technology blogger and former Apple employee, wrote on his blog: "The iWatch will fill a gaping hole in the Apple ecosystem ... Like other breakthrough Apple products, its value will be underestimated at launch, then grow to have a profound impact on our lives and Apple's fortunes."

Nigam Arora, a contributor for Forbes, believes that Apple planted the rumors either to bolster claims by Apple CEO Tim Cook that the innovation culture is still alive at the firm, or as a counter to reports that Samsung is developing a smartwatch called the Galaxy Altius.

The Samsung rumors surfaced earlier this month after screenshots of the Altius were posted on a Korean website. The smartwatch would most likely run on an Android platform, although it could run on a basic Java interface similar to Samsung's REX smart feature phones.

In addition, Samsung unveiled--at the Consumer Electronics Show last month--its Youm flexible display technology. While the technology might not be ready for smartphone and tablets, which still have a lot of hard parts that break rather than bend, it might be what is needed for a smartwatch that bends around a person's wrist.

What do these rumors mean for the enterprise? Well, the smartphone and tablet have revolutionized the way IT handles mobility. A smartwatch will only add to the challenges IT faces in integrating and securing all of those personally owned devices. In addition, smartwatches would be even easier to lose than larger devices. Think of the how many watches you have misplaced. I certainly have misplaced my share.

Innovation, it would seem, is unstoppable. Nowadays, IT departments simply have to grin and bear whatever new mobile device finds its way into the workplace and onto the network. Get ready for employees wearing smartwatches. Yellow overcoats and hat optional. - Fred