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What do the new Samsung, Ralph Lauren wearables augur for CIOs?

When Samsung, Apple and Ralph Lauren jump on the wearables trend, can enterprise employees be far behind? Also in Searchlight: Dropbox toughs it out as Google, Amazon offer cloud on the cheap; Uber tricks Lyft and other rivals.

Another week, another high-profile hack: this time of JPMorgan Chase and other U.S. banks. The FBI is hunting for culprits (and many suspect that the Russians are to blame). But as for us on the cusp of the Labor Day respite, we're moving on from cybersecurity to another bit of recent intrigue -- the war of the wearables.

Just in time for the back-to-school madness, tech firms are falling over themselves to trumpet the arrival of new smartwatches. LG released its sleek-looking G Watch R smartwatch. Samsung followed with Gear S -- its claim to fame being that it doesn't rely on a smartphone for connectivity. Add Apple iWatch, Moto 360 and others to this season's line of smart offerings, and wearables may soon need a runway of their own at the fall fashion shows.

Mobile device companies aren't the only ones getting in on the wearable device action. The ball boys at the U.S. Open snagged some of the spotlight away from the athletes this week with a new twist on prep fashion: Ralph Lauren's Polo Tech smartshirt. This compression garment tracks biometrics such as heartbeat and respiration data, plus stress levels, and sends them to an app on a smartphone or tablet.

The rush to wearables is not surprising, given the recent lag in smartphone and tablet sales. Maybe it's a temporary lull, but no one seems eager to wait it out, or for that matter, wait for wearables to officially take off -- not with predictions like the one Gartner Inc. made recently, that wearable devices will be a whopping $10 billion market by 2016.

And -- here it comes -- if the likes of Apple, Ralph Lauren, Nike, Under Armour and Samsung aren't waiting around, neither, of course, should CIOs.

The Internet of Things (IoT) onslaught is inevitable, so you may as well take the initiative and identify the potential benefits to the workplace this new tech-driven fashion can offer -- and also pin down the risks.

Need some IT-speak to give you courage? "There are initiatives that companies need to consider as they prepare for the wearable onslaught -- whether that means proactively planning for their integration in organizational practices or actively restricting their use (at least for the time being)," wrote independent tech writer Scott Koegler in a blog post.

In other words: The business needs you to help it figure out how to deal with the wearables onslaught. That was one of the main messages our SearchCIO's Kristen Lee heard from IoT experts at the recent MIT Sloan CIO Symposium. At the IoT table, they stressed the importance of being "aggressively present." IoT school is in session!

CIO news roundup for week of Aug. 25

As you head off into the holiday (drive safely!), here's what else was happening this week:

  • Who would've thought fitness trackers could also provide data on earthquakes? Data collected by Jawbone's UP fitness trackers shows how the recent 6.0 magnitude quake that hit Napa affected UP users' sleep patterns. (See above.)
  • Dropbox and its fellow online storage pioneers are scrambling to change their core business models as behemoth rivals like Google and Amazon drive storage costs down even further.
  • The rideshare world is getting more cutthroat by the mile. According to The Verge, Uber has rolled out Operation SLOG, sending out "brand ambassadors" with temporary phones and credit cards to request rides from Lyft and other rivals, with the aim of stealing their drivers.
  • The NSA has given 23 U.S. federal agencies, including the FBI and the CIA, access to ICREACH, a search engine that crawls more than 850 billion records on the American public, according to documents recently leaked by Edward Snowden. Draw your own conclusions.
  • Social media is playing an increasingly vital role in political participation and engagement, but contrary to what you might think, it could be hampering, rather than fostering, the diversity of opinion and debate about public affairs. Seems people are clannish, here and in the Twitterverse.

Check out our previous Searchlight roundups: Health system's Heartbleed hack of patient data underscores need for speed and While SpiderOak canary defies NSA, CIOs ponder their privacy bind.

Next Steps

More on wearable technology's potential in the enterprise

What to do with all the data from wearables?

Wearable use cases: From interactions to business value

Dig Deeper on Enterprise mobile strategy

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How is your enterprise preparing for wearable computing?
I find it amazing in today's economy that some people have that much disposable income. Most people I know are just scraping by because of increased cost of living and soaring medical. Unless your company was going to pay for the wearables, I do see it going mainstream. I just go back and look at how Google Glass was received.