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Wearable technology market slated for growth

It should come as no surprise that wearables are already proving to be popular. Both in personal use and enterprise operations, wearable technology is attracting a lot of attention as people examine how it can be leveraged to meet their needs. As a result, investments in new assets have already begun, and high market performance is expected for the next couple of years, at least.

According to Datamation contributor Pedro Hernandez, recent research indicates that shipments of wearable devices will quadruple between now and 2017. Much of this may have to do with increasing interest from businesses looking for a new advantage.

“Unlike the desktop, tablet, or even smartphone, the smaller screens of wearable devices limit their data output,” wrote Fast Company contributor Jared Lindzon. “As a result, wearable applications currently in development for the office environment focus on using big data solutions to provide the right person with the right information at the right time, and as concisely as possible.”

In order to be prepared for the next wave of workplace mobility, businesses need to start developing custom software solutions for wearable technology.

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App development needs to take offline use into consideration

One of the biggest advantages held by mobile devices is the ability to connect to the Internet. Many custom software solutions are designed with things like the cloud in mind, meaning that their operation generally relies on a data connection of some kind. But what about when one is not available?

“The promise of mobile computing is that people can work anywhere, anytime, but mobile business apps require an Internet connection to be productive,”  Mobile Enterprise posted on its website. “On planes, at construction sites, in factories, warehouses and remote sites, and even in major cities, WiFi, 4G, and even 3G connections are often unavailable, intermittent or expensive. Critical business apps – whether processing vital customer or sales information, or even patient, inventory, manufacturing or service data – cannot power today’s organizations if they only work while online.”

This is something that needs to be considered when pursuing custom software development. Mobility is key these days, but relying on an Internet connection can hurt an app’s productivity factor. Enterprise programs must be specifically outfitted to work when offline in order to ensure maximum effectiveness.

Quality must be a goal
A quality application generally has to meet certain criteria these days, regardless of how it is used. Increasingly, the ability to use at least some of the program’s functions without an Internet connection is proving to be an essential feature. This is especially true given that network access may be inconsistent in some areas.

“Connectivity can also vary wildly within a short period of time, meaning that data is not going to be handled in a conventional manner,” wrote The Guardian contributor Jonathan Hare-Winton. “It is straightforward to test using throttled connections to produce a slow connection, or gradually walk through different areas of a building to create mild fluctuations, however this is not an accurate reproduction of a user traveling through various signal zones.”

An inconsistent connection can ruin an otherwise-immersive user experience. People cannot be expected to work if something like a Wi-Fi outage means that everything grinds to a halt. Work still needs to be accomplished, with or without the Internet, and ensuring that custom mobile app development considers this will be very important to obtaining mobile success.

Embracing mobility
It is clear that mobile devices have irreversibly changed the workplace. Employees are now better equipped than ever to handle a variety of IT operations, allowing companies to invest in these new skills with organization-specific applications. These programs facilitate a great deal of productivity – but only when approached properly.

One of the biggest considerations to make is how the app will function offline. While all software of this nature will generally need to connect to the Internet, not requiring it to use the program will help to keep people moving when outages hit or when signals are sparse. Just as important as mobility is accessibility, and the key to providing a cohesive user experience is to provide offline functionality.

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Wearable technology different than wearable computing

Some people are very quick to dismiss wearable technology. They believe that tools like Google Glass and Apple Watch do not have much practicality. But what some naysayers fail to realize is that there is a major difference in wearable technology and wearable computing. Wearable technology is a term that includes devices like fitness trackers and other sensor-based tools in order to better collect and leverage data.

Wearable technology stands to create an immersive user experience in the workplace. Being able to monitor team member vitals and provide hands-free interfaces is already proving to be revolutionary in a number of industries. Be it a manner of safety or employee engagement, wearable technology can be effectively incorporated into user interface designs for many professions.

Athletes giving early attention

One area that is exploring the possibilities of wearables is professional sports. Athletes have tried various methods of tracking their performance for generations, and the arrival of new mobile devices is set to totally change the game – no pun intended.

This kind of advantage helps not just the players, but those who are tasked with assisting and guiding them, as well.

“Suddenly the coaches no longer have to rely on gut instinct alone – they can have their thoughts substantiated by cold hard data that minimizes the risk of their decision making,” wrote ComputerWeekly contributor Simon Creasey. “While it might sound a bit sci-fi it could soon become a reality thanks to the rapid evolution and adoption of wearable technology developed specifically for professional sports.”

This is a prime example of how wearables can improve the user experience. The data has always been there, but now those tasked with developing new technology have figured out how to gather and present it. Fatigue can actually be measured, allowing coaches to pull players when they have effectively reached their limits rather than just guessing.

Business world will evolve with wearables

Mobile technology has once again disrupted companies of all kinds. Smartphones planted the seeds of progress around 2007, and now wearable technology will start the next chapter of what can be accomplished through these tools.

“Wearable technology represents a monumental shift of business practices and even new business models for device manufacturers, content and application providers, and service providers,” stated ReportBuyer in a release regarding a recent study. “Wearable technology today represents an array of products including watches, wristbands, and various clothing items.”

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Measuring the ROI of custom mobile apps

There are a multitude of investments that any given business needs to make. These days, spending in this sense will reflect changes in enterprise technology. As the average employee has become more apt in performing basic IT operations, the possibilities for innovation within a company have exploded. As such, more organizations are looking to invest in the tools their staff members need.

One area that is seeing increased interest is custom mobile app development. Smartphones quickly made their way from status symbol to commonly-leveraged tool, and as a result, people are more readily-able to use them in professional settings – even outside of the office. This is pushing a larger number of businesses to invest in apps that are geared specifically toward the company.

As mobility becomes a greater necessity, organizations must supplement the devices of their workers with sanctioned software developed for their specific needs. This may sound unnecessary, given that there are so many consumer-grade solutions out there that are available for free. But when examining the actual return on investment that custom software development can provide, the plan of action is obvious. Businesses have to invest in the proper tools in order to find success.

Determining an app’s ROI

There are several things that need to be considered when plotting out the return on investment for custom programs. One thing to consider is just how important mobility is to the modern employee. Now that people are able to work from home as easily as they can from the office, having powerful smartphone assets is a must.

“These days, it’s increasingly rare that ‘work’ is exclusively done at a traditional desk, in a traditional office on a traditional desktop computer,” wrote ZDNet contributor Charles McLellan. “Of course plenty of people still operate in this way, but many also want or need to be able to perform a range of business tasks on the most convenient device they can lay their hands on, wherever they may be.”

This is one of the areas where custom software solutions can deliver significant ROI. By ensuring that mobile apps are effective in a company-specific way, organizations can increase productivity and employee satisfaction. This should not, however, be confused with allowing workers to select their own solutions. These tools are rarely checked for security and could potentially breach sensitive information to unintended recipients. Additionally, the use of several different programs by multiple employees to complete a single task can create a disconnect among workers. For mobile initiatives to return the greatest investment, having a unified interface for all employees will be essential.

Apps can also be of great value when deployed for customer use. Think about it – loyal consumers can download a direct connection to a business, where they provide a great deal of information regarding things like spending habits and responses to marketing. By leveraging this data and using it to drive growth and alter strategies, organizations can save a considerable amount of money and have hard facts regarding what works and what doesn’t.

Getting with the times

As it stands, there is an incredible number of businesses that are embracing custom software development. Many organizations that have already built these kinds of apps are reporting an average revenue growth of 44 percent and a profit increase of 34 percent. Similarly, companies have reported a 30 percent increase in sales efficiency when using mobile apps designed for their offices specifically. If there is one thing for certain, it is that mobility is a new essential, but the only way to approach it properly is through custom software development.

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Workplaces need to prep for wearables

Wearables have been the target of some undue backlash. Some people believe that they are too “ugly” to make an impact in mainstream culture. But while Apple Watch has shown that these devices need not look hideous in order to work, there is still some speculation that wearable technology won’t catch on with the general public right away. Instead, the business world will be the area that experiences the highest initial adoption rates.

“In the workplace, utility trumps fashion and a single use-case that demonstrates measurable impact and true business value can justify investment,” said Deloitte Consulting CTO Bill Briggs to NetworkWorld. “Wearables allow technology to augment workers in places where it wasn’t previously feasible – where hands-free, heads-up awareness is absolutely essential – whether it’s for safety, logistics or etiquette.”

This is why organizations need to prep for wearables now. There are some lessons to be learned from the last wave of mobile technology – smartphones. The arrival of these devices in the workplace was unprecedented and unexpected, leaving many companies scrambling to adapt. Figuring out what role wearables will play in enterprise settings has to be a priority for any entity, and chances are it will include pursuing custom software development.

Wearable technology represents chances for innovation
Much in the way that people can no longer remember life before smartphones, there will come a day when people marvel that smartwatches and headsets weren’t always common. This will especially be true for the workplace. There are countless instances in as many fields where a hands-free interface could increase productivity ten-fold – think surgeons and construction workers – and yet there has been no feasible way to obtain one in a meaningful way. According to Briggs, this is starting to change.

“[U]se cases for wearables have to be anchored around specific end-user journeys,” Briggs stated. “It’s about re-imagining how work gets done and how customers are engaged. As everything around us gets smarter and connected, wearables become a beacon for context and, by extension, a filter simplifying the cacophony of data and services surrounding us into intelligent signals and appropriate, potential actions.”

It is in this sense that wearables must be viewed – at least initially, these tools will not have the same kinds of power as smartphones and tablets. Instead, they will be used as assistants to more prevalent mobile technology. Watches and glasses will fill in the gaps and act as extensions to touchscreen hubs, where a majority of the information collected can be processed, stored and manipulated. This allows for the experience of the user to be significantly streamlined. Not having to reach for a smartphone or tablet to perform certain tasks or obtain particular information may seem like a small detail, but the small amounts of time and effort that are saved during these interactions add up and can increase productivity immensely.

This line of thinking will inform how custom software solutions are approached in the future. Apps will need to be designed assuming that wearables will have some kind of access to the information they process. Will this need to be prevented in some instances? It will also be important to consider how wearables might be able to improve the objective of the program.

Wearables create new opportunities
There are a great deal of ways in which wearables can used to foster success. Doctors can obtain real-time patient information without breaking eye contact – or looking up from a complicated surgical procedure. IT admins can obtain system updates directly to their wrists without the delay caused by a phone left on silent. These are just some of the streamlining ways that people are looking at wearable technology. As this breed of device continues to pop up in the workplace, there will likely be an even greater list of uses that can only be discovered by doing.

With this in mind, it will be important to invest in custom mobile app development that acknowledges the arrival of wearables. How these devices end up being used is likely to disrupt business in a major way.

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Wearable strategies must be a top priority

There are few things as important in enterprise as keeping up with new technology. This is best evidenced by the arrival of smartphones and tablets in the workplace. Nobody could have predicted the impact that these devices would have or that they would be so difficult to get a handle on. Thanks to a general ease of use, it’s possible to leverage these machines to circumvent barriers instated by IT in the name of security. People rarely see these guides as helpful though, and are willing to disobey them for the sake of productivity, which has led to rapid developments in how touchscreen tools need to be embraced in the office.

This puts companies in a unique position to get ahead of the next wave: Wearable technology. The impending arrival of tools like Apple Watch and Google Glass will once again cause disruption in the workplace, but harnessing this development will be key to surviving the change. Failing to address how these devices can be used to streamline productivity sells their potential short and could inhibit progress. In order to be ready for the changes ahead, companies will need to examine the impending wearable revolution.

One of the biggest ways that organizations can accomplish this is by pursuing custom software solutions for their staffers. By having programs that are contoured to the intricacies of the businesses in question, companies can make sure their employees are at the best advantage possible when striving toward success.

Hype building around wearable tech
Even if a development happens to be just a trendy blip, it is important to examine how it could potentially impact a business. With this in mind, it is important to note that wearables have already started to arrive, and underestimating them could lead to the same problems that cropped up when smartphones hit the scene.

According to Gartner analysts Hung LeHong and Jackie Fenn, wearable tech has already passed the peak of its hype. That may sound like a bad thing, but it’s just a reference to the cycle of adoption that all technology goes through. Within two to five years, wearable tech will be as common as the other mobile devices they’ll be working closely with.

A time frame of two to five years might sound like quite a span, but it’s nothing in the business world. Preparing now will be key to not being left behind once wearables find their exact niche, and chances are that there will be plenty of them in offices across the globe. If market performance is any indication, wearable tech is already slated to be the next big thing – and companies cannot afford to fall behind in the same way others did during the rise of smartphones.

Strong predictions for future of wearables
The recent announcement of the Apple Watch sent a shockwave through the tech world. According to Gartner, the attention that the device has already received presents strong indications that the next few years will be very kind to wearable tech.

“As smartphone vendors and component suppliers continue to expand into the wearables market, Gartner, Inc. predicts that by 2016 smartwatches will comprise about 40 percent of consumer wristworn devices,” Gartner stated in a release. “Gartner said that seven out of the top 10 smartphone vendors have entered the wearables market to date or are about to ship a first product, while a year ago only two vendors were in that space.”

This trend is indicative of larger changes. The smartphone came along less than a decade ago and changed everyone’s perceptions of what was possible. Now that there is greater faith in the disruptive properties of mobile devices, people are preparing themselves for what they can do next – both at home and at work. This means that enterprises are going to have to brace themselves in a big way – tailoring new policies, editing existing ones and leveraging custom software development to turn visions into reality.

Staying abreast of change
Preparation is crucial for businesses in the present day. The evolution of technology has increased rapidly in pace over the last few years, and chalking up potential game-changers as fads can be a dangerous attitude to have. Not only does it limit internal progress but it can also inhibit workers, and thanks to the consumerization of IT, it has been made clear that people are going to do whatever they have to in the name of convenience and productivity.

This is why it will be so essential to take wearables seriously. This technology represents new possibilities through hands-free interfaces. From small features like easier viewing of push notifications to more prominent tasks like health monitoring, there will be absolutely be a place for watches, glasses and whatever else might find its way into the workplace.

That being said, it is important to remember that devices alone cannot foster success. It matters a great deal how these tools are used, and at the root of this idea is strong software. Wearables are unlikely to operate on their own, as their true potential lies in how they can be leveraged in relation to smartphones and tablets. This is why custom software development will be so essential to the future of these machines in the workplace. Regardless of if the task is outsourced or if new team members are brought in to handle these kinds of projects moving forward, it will be absolutely critical to have company-specific software on hand to ensure the best effort of the staff that will use it.

“Whether you already have the people on board who can make use of the tools that are out there to create your own digital solutions, or whether you hire outside experts to create those solutions for you, you are still going to need to act quickly if you want your business to survive in this digital world,” wrote ITProPortal contributor Guy Wright.

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Apple Watch sets stage for wearable revolution

In a highly-anticipated move, Apple recently announced the Apple Watch – a piece of wearable technology that is slated to change the game for everyone that uses it. Like the revolutionary iPhone, Apple Watch is expected to make serious waves upon its official release, and many people are already speculating how exactly daily life will be impacted.

One area to consider is the workplace. Nobody could have predicted the “wild west” scenarios that smartphones had on the business world. Employees realized that they possessed an advanced productivity tool and began to explore how it could be effectively leveraged. Now, smartphones are commonly-applied assets that help organizations to innovate and succeed. With a new device of a similar ilk on the horizon, it will be critical to make early examinations regarding how the Apple Watch will have a similar impact. Staying ahead of the curve is critical in business, and viewing wearable technology as the next big thing will allow many companies to get a significant leg up on their rivals who do not.

Significant potential for Apple Watch in enterprise
Just like how smartphones presented new opportunities for productivity, the Apple Watch is expected to challenge expectations of what can be accomplished with a wearable device. It has significant consumer appeal, but according to TechRepublic contributor Erik Eckel there will be major applications for business users, as well. A lot of this will have to do with the watch’s inherent ability to operate as an assistant to a user’s smartphone as well as its integration with the incoming Apple Pay system.

But this will demand a level of preparation that many organizations have not yet achieved. Eckel wrote that this could be an issue for those companies that don’t see the point in addressing wearable technology ahead of time.

“Considering even this brief encapsulation of the wearable’s capabilities, it’s easy to see why enterprise IT departments need to begin planning for the device now,” Eckel stated. “Just as corporate IT staffs refused to accept the iPhone and iPad’s impact, which led to the unprecedented BYOD revolution, businesses should embrace the new Apple device to assist its users in becoming more efficient and productive.”

This process will include the construction of custom software solutions. Businesses need software that is geared toward their inherent needs rather than trust one-size-fits-all programs that don’t do everything needed of them. Finding areas of the company where use of a smartwatch could be helpful is the first step toward determining how Apple Watch and other tools will need to be treated.

Staying abreast of mobile developments is key
Even if Apple Watch stalls as a purely-consumer device, its hands-free nature makes it a perfect fit for many enterprise needs. According to Eckel, it might be easy to write off some of the powerful functionality as unnecessary, but there are a lot of people out there who can benefit from having notifications and other useful tools presented on their wrists.

But the devices alone will not be able to propel an organization’s success. It will take mobility initiatives augmented with custom software development in order to embrace the future effectively.

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Software leading enterprise innovation

Companies all over the world use computers every day. This is no secret – in fact, it’s a reality. Modern employees are especially apt at running computers, smartphones and other consumer-grade devices and their related software, much more so than preceding generations. As such, businesses are starting to realize that these are skills they should be embracing rather than avoiding, and the best way to do so is to develop custom software solutions.

According to the Gartner Worldwide IT Spending Forecast for 2014, the largest amount of tech spending will come in the form of obtaining enterprise software. Workers have an inherent set of skills that must be capitalized on if companies want to get ahead of the competition. But in order for initiatives to be successful, pre-designed and broadstroke solutions are not going to be effective. Custom software development will need to be sought out in order to truly innovate within the company.

Enterprise software spending in the billions
Organizations need to have the kind of software that will encourage new productivity. Additionally, these programs will need to address specific issues within a given company. The decisions regarding how to implement these assets will generally lead to the discovery that one-size-fits-all applications are not going to deliver the results desired of them, and customized development will be the best route to travel.

The Gartner research found that global software spending currently reaches $321 billion. This figure represents a growth of 6.9 percent since 2013, reflecting an even greater push into custom software for business. According to Enterprise Apps Today contributor Drew Robb, other areas of growth in IT spending also illustrates a growing need for company-specific programs – especially in relation to the cloud.

“Probably the strongest driver of spending is modernization of the software infrastructure to ready it for the cloud,” said Gartner analyst Bianca Granetto to Robb. “This is also driving spending in related areas such as servers, adding storage for big data and investment in in-memory computing to facilitate analytics.”

These findings underscore just how vital effective software is for business. The spending that goes into these endeavors is reflective of the importance of mission-critical programs. These tools are relied upon in major ways. As such, they will need to work for the company to meet it’s specific needs rather than act as blanket solutions that do not address individualities. No two organizations are alike, and the software they use must be indicative of this.

Custom software solutions are the best choice
There are plenty of programs out there that claim to be the best for everyone. This, however, is subject to the interpretation of the organizations that use them. Rather than try to make things work with programs, companies should be making programs work for them. The only way to accomplish this through custom software development, like the kind that can be obtained from On3’s team of professional programmers.

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Custom software solutions will be essential to healthcare, part 2

The world is evolving every day. New technological advancements are changing the quality of life for millions of people, from how they handle their daily tasks to the way they monitor their health. There is less emphasis being placed on pursuing cures as there is on early detection and prevention. With so much data circulating these days, it is possible to accomplish this with the right considerations.

A lot of this comes from optimizing mobile assets. Wearable devices and smartphones are creating new possibilities for healthcare – ones that both make sense and are increasing in demand. As long as organizations seek out custom software solutions for their mobile health endeavors, it will be possible to both meet and exceed expectations from patients.

In the first portion of this series, we examined how major changes in consumer technology have altered common perceptions of healthcare. Now that we have addressed new requirements, we’ll talk about the next wave in mobile devices that must be considered.

Ensuring interoperability with required devices
Hiccups in translation can be disastrous in the world of healthcare. One wrong piece of information can throw off a whole course of treatment and have grave consequences. This is why wellness organizations need to make the provisions that will ensure effective data transmission, namely with wearables about to increase their presence in a major way.

But according to InformationWeek contributor Joyce Sensmeier, this is what will need to happen for companies in this field to succeed while meeting client expectations. Patients are demanding a certain level of visibility that has never been possible before. Effectively embracing it will help to define the future.

“True healthcare interoperability will make a significant, lasting impact on the healthcare system and will bring healthcare delivery to a far more advanced level,” Sensmeier wrote. “Individuals will more consistently trust that their caregivers and clinicians have access to the information necessary to provide accurate and efficient care whether in a hospital, home health center, retail clinic, or physician’s office.”

Wearable-based operations in the healthcare sphere are absolutely going to require custom software development to be taken on. Wellness facilities need to have invested interest in tools that are specifically geared to their workers and patients, and having a hand in the creation of mobile solutions will be critical when trying to accomplish this.

Advanced healthcare on the horizon
If there is one thing for certain, it is that interconnectivity is the future for health and wellness professionals. But while new technology will be vital for doctors, physicians and other workers in the field, success in new endeavors will take a concerted effort to get everything right. The benefits, however, will be astronomical.

“Interoperability will enable a learning health system in which data is accessible and standardized, and can be exchanged and understood once received,” wrote Sensmeier. “Patients will learn from the outcomes that have been achieved for specific treatments and be able to make informed decisions based on that understanding. We are all stakeholders in advancing interoperability in healthcare, and the time is now to start working together toward that desired end state.”

One of the most effective ways to ensure success is to invest in custom mobile app development. By being a part of the design process and helping to program software with a specific organization in mind, practitioners will be able to create effective, immersive wellness experience that is indicative of the present – and future – of healthcare. While these tasks may seem daunting, they are essential to complete as technology keeps moving forward. Those people who use mobile devices are expecting the world around them to change along with their machines, and when it comes to something as important as healthcare, it will be vital for the industry to keep up.

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Custom software solutions will be essential to healthcare, part 1

Modern technology is changing the world. Now more than ever, it is possible for more people to see greater potential in the devices and software they use every day. It would appear that IT has overcome a significant hump in its widespread adoption as a better understanding of the possibilities carried in new assets begins to take hold.

These developments have not just aided personal lives, but professional careers, as well. Workplaces all over the world have been leveraging new tools rooted heavily in mobility and functionality with a significant degree of success. One industry that has been able to see the benefits of smartphones et al is healthcare. But while there are clear advantages that come with using this kind of technology in hospitals and similar facilities, there are some serious considerations that need to be made – namely in the way of security and interoperability.

Healthcare as a field stands to be totally revolutionized by the introduction of new technologies. But due to the nature of information and operations, everything needs to run as smoothly as possible in order to ensure success. While the specifics may change from organization to organization, one constant is proving to be custom mobile app development. By investing in the services that will ensure effective programming of software assets, those tasked with the wellness of others will be able to meet their goals in ways that foster satisfaction in connected patients.

In the first part of this series, we’ll discuss how the expectations surrounding the concept of healthcare are changing. This is reflective of broader developments that modern technology has been credited with. As mobile devices become more advanced and a greater deluge of data is available, common perceptions of wellness have started to evolve.

Healthcare as a utility
The way that people view wellness is changing. According to Forbes contributor Sarwant Singh, healthcare has traditionally revolved around cures and repairs. But just as with other concepts, the rise of big data and mobile devices is pushing prevention and prediction as a bigger focus than handling issues after they have risen. Early warning is a viable thing for healthcare practitioners to have on their side, after all.

“The health management industry, with its increasing cost-structure, will go through a massive transformation,” Singh wrote. “A new proactive service will emerge, one that monitors and analyzes key set of ‘health signals’ 7 by 24. The health utility will collect massive amounts of health data through smart devices, offering preventive intervention and proactive ‘health agents’ that maintain patients healthy at all time. Corrective intervention will become the costly exception when the cheap preventive system failed to preserve our health.”

This will require facilities to have their own custom software solutions in place. Patients will need to know that their information is safe and available on a “need-to-know” basis only. By creating programs that are extensions of hospitals themselves, doctors and other staff members will be able to provide a well-constructed environment for data to be circulated within.

The quality of programs will also be an issue once wearables begin to come more into play. Apple’s announcement of the iWatch is expected to drive significant growth in the wearable technology sphere, and vital-reading sensors are already enjoying popularity in single-function fitness trackers. Not only will this kind of connectivity require intense security examinations, but will also have to be subject to interoperability evaluations. In the second part of this discussion, we’ll talk more about how the arrival of new mobile devices is helping to create new requirements in healthcare.

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