Think about wearables and you likely think about smartwatches used as little more than playthings, or about fitness trackers that help people keep their exercise regime on track. But a new report from APX Labs, “What’s Next in Wearable Technology,” finds that wearables are skyrocketing in the enterprise.
The report found that in the enterprise, the adoption of wearable technology will leap sixfold this year. And that’s after solid growth in 2015. The report claims that 93% of companies surveyed “are already using or actively evaluating wearable technologies.”
Why such fast growth for enterprise wearables?
The reason for the growth? “2016 will bring the slow motion collision of the Internet of Things (IoT) and wearables,” the report claims. It notes that businesses increasingly analyze IoT data in order to make decisions. It adds, “to truly harness the power of the connected workplace, however, businesses need to move beyond analysis and make operational use of this data, in real time, and at the point of actual work.” That needs to be done hands-free the report says, because workers who need the IoT data may be on a manufacturing line, handling shipping in a distribution center or out in the field performing maintenance. So smartphones and tablets aren’t suitable. Wearables, however are, because they can be operated hands-free. As a results, as IoT grows in enterprises, the report says, wearables will grow as well.
“Enterprise deployments will rapidly grow from the dozens, to the thousands as wearables reach a greater level of maturity and market acceptance,” the report says.
As further evidence, the report notes that Gartner expects smart glasses to deliver $1 billion in annual costs savings in the field services industry in 2016. And the report also mentions that IMS Research estimates the wearable market will grow to $6 billion by 2016. Included research from Compass Intelligence predicts the enterprise wearable market will hit $8.5 billion by 2020.
IDC has similar forecasts. Its Worldwide Quarterly Wearable Device Tracker says the world wearable device market “will reach a total of 111.1 million units shipped in 2016, up a strong 44.4% from the 80 million units expected to ship shipped in 2015. And by 2019, it says, total shipments will be 214.6 million units, for a five-year compound annual growth rate (CAGR) of 28%.
Alpha Software’s Alpha WatchBench can help developers who are targeting the wearables market. It’s an iOS app for prototyping and testing custom Apple Watch applications. Read this case study about how one developer used Alpha WatchBench to built an Apple Watch app which evaluates speed skaters’ performances.