Dressing Up Enterprise Mobility With Wearables

Enterprise mobility began decades ago, but its evolution has been quick and somewhat chaotic. Workers have moved from laptops – portable computers that could be used in various locations – to the advent of tablets, smartphones, and more recently, wearables.

It’s that final piece of the puzzle that could dramatically shift how work is done and efficiency is calculated. New information from analyst firm ABI research shows the enterprise wearable market is not only growing quicker than that on the consumer side, but the rate is more rapid than many other forms of technology.

The market is primed to see a growth of 300%, ABI said, as approximately 38 million devices shipped in 2017, and is expected to see a total of 118 million devices shipped in 2022, boasting a CAGR of 25%. What’s driving that growth? Healthcare devices, wearable cameras, and wearable scanners will account for 73% of enterprise wearable shipments by 2022.

“Despite currently having lower shipment numbers, enterprise wearables are growing at a much stronger rate than consumer devices,” said ABI Research Analyst Stephanie Lawrence in a statement.

“These devices provide users across all industry verticals with hands-free access to information and communication, enabling them to become more productive.”

As previously reported by Enterprise Mobility Exchange, the spectrum of wearable devices and use cases continues to expand beyond the traditionally niche deployments of the past; previous generations of wearables, which span back decades, have been extremely industry- and task-specific given the technological limitations of the time and the relative lack of ergonomic design. Within the last few years, however, there has been a renaissance of interest in wearables that has been fostered by initiatives from tech giants like Apple, Google, Microsoft, and Samsung.

“Enterprise wearable device usage is continuously on the rise because more and more companies are understanding the benefits of deploying the devices to specific tasked workers,” said Lawrence. “Return on investment potential is continually shown, and key performance indicators are proving positive. This will continue to cause enterprise wearable shipments to rise at a higher rate than consumer wearable shipments, where the device productivity improvement benefits do not have the same impact.”

“If the current attention given to smartwatches and their ilk can evolve beyond a fad and the devices gain widespread appeal,” said VDC Research’s David Krebs, “the effect on markets in the fostering of a sustainable ecosystem of OS and application development could be similar to that of the rise of smartphones and tablets in a LOB setting, presenting both a wealth of opportunities and challenges to traditional OEMs.”