There is no doubt that wearable technology is booming, with IDC reporting sales of 102.4 million units in 2016, a growth of 25 percent year over year. Wearable technology is continuing to gain traction among mobile bankers, and progress is being made in dealing with compliance issues.

“Wearables are going to be part of the future of banking, and not too long from now,” said Clayton Locke, chief technology officer of British firm Intelligent Environments.

Mobile bankers are examining wearables as a way of enhancing customer experience and improving communications among branch employees. Wearables empower bank employees with real-time access to information such as customer accounts, market data, email and notification alerts. However, as more devices are used for mobile banking, hackers may start to target all mobile devices, including smartwatches.

Integrating Wearables Into the Workday

Wearables bring to the table added benefits that smartphones may not offer. They contain a lot of biometric information, such as heartbeat data, voice information and geolocation data that can be used by mobile bankers to verify a financial service employee’s identity.

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To do their jobs more efficiently and increase their profits, financial brokers can use smartwatches to receive updates on the changing stock market throughout the day. By synchronizing content across a business tablet, smartphone and a wearable device like a smartwatch, the broker can receive notification alerts when in a client meeting or away from the office. This access to information means financial professionals can react to the market quickly. Because wearables can act as an extension of the smartphone, they also have easy, instant access to enterprise business and sales apps, so they can respond as needed throughout the day.

However, banks are concerned about the multitude of compliance issues raised by the future of wearables, as device security and management offerings are still very limited. This means smartwatches often don’t provide managers with the resources to adequately protect against security vulnerabilities.

According to a report from Deloitte, banks will need to focus in the short term on coming up with solutions that communicate with legacy systems, while at the same time developing mobile infrastructure.

Ensuring the Security of Wearables

One way you can ensure the security of those systems and maintain compliance is with security software such as Samsung Knox Workspace, which is a defense-grade dual personal container product designed to separate, isolate, encrypt and protect enterprise data from attackers. When deployed on Android phones, Knox applications outside Workspace cannot use Android inter-process communication or data-sharing methods with applications inside Workspace, making sure data transfer always remains safe and secure.

In addition, Samsung recently introduced an enterprise mobility management system designed with wearables in mind. It includes a number of functions that will increase data security on smartwatches, including:

  • Remote app management with the ability to install, update and uninstall apps.
  • A remote app user control that gives IT managers the ability to whitelist and blacklist which apps can be used on a wearable.
  • The ability to allow organizations to remove all pre-loaded apps and install a small number of purpose-built apps specific to their job function.

It’s clear technology has already had an impact on banking. In order to keep up with productivity and workforce trends, financial organizations should evaluate what the future of wearables means for them, and take the appropriate steps to ensure security while reaping the full benefits wearables can offer the finance world.

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Charles Wallace

Charles Wallace is a business journalist who has written about financial services and the intersection of technology and business for Time, Fortune and Institutional Investor magazines, Reuters and Bloomberg online and the Financial Times newspaper. He was awarded the Business Journalist of the Year prize by the City of London for reporting about investing.

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