Wearables in the workforce are poised to capture a greater share of the overall wearables market, which is set to more than double by 2021, according to ABI Research forecasts.ABI forecasts that global wearable device shipments will increase from nearly 202 million this year to more than 501 million by 2021, with roughly 17 per cent to be attributed to enterprise end users in 2016.
According to the ABI forecast, a 35 per cent compound annual growth rate has the enterprise segment tracking to nearly double its shipment total by 2021, reaching 154 million.
“Wearables in the workforce are becoming more prominent, as they give workers immediate, direct access to important information, such as profiling health care records on a smart-glass display,” Stephanie Lawrence, ABI research analyst, commented.
“This hands-free approach saves time, allowing staff to become more efficient and, ultimately, saving companies money.”
With education, government, health care, manufacturing, retail, transportation and warehousing among the sectors incorporating wearable devices, ABI expects warehouse and manufacturing and field services to “represent the most tangible near-term opportunity for enterprise wearable shipments”.
“Manufacturing is all about yield, output and processed optimisation, yet roughly 80 per cent of manufacturing failures and defects are due to human error,” Ryan Martin, ABI senior analyst, observed.
“Even the simplest of AR applications can reduce technician task completion times and decrease human errors, as evidenced by Lee Company’s pilot project with smartglasses company Vuzix, which continues to see a $20 return for every dollar invested in the program.”
The type of wearable adopted remains dependent upon the specific industry or the use case to which it caters.
“Companies like Accenture, APX Labs, Atheer, Epson, Microsoft, PTC, SAP and Vuzix have already started to place their bets on smartglasses, head-mounted displays and AR-driven digital eyewear as the dominant vehicle for time to value,” Martin stated.
“While watches, clothing and other wearable tech will also weave its way into the enterprise workflow, companies will be hard-pressed to find an app or use case that supersedes hands-free, heads-up access to information at the time and place work is actually performed.”