Wearables in Enterprise: 10 New Stats, Findings, and Predictions

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Emily Friedman

March 15, 2016

A few months back, we pulled together a number of interesting facts and predictions from studies and reports related to the use of wearable technology in the enterprise. Since then, there have been more reports (of course), and the landscape has changed—there is more activity in the enterprise wearables space, with a bunch of new and next-generation devices either recently launched or on the horizon, and more openness on the part of enterprise organizations to experiment and share use cases. It’s time, therefore, for another list of the 10 most interesting facts, findings, and predictions as reported by the experts in 2015:

90% of 603 professionals surveyed by Modis at the start of 2015 said they were interested in using a wearable device to complete work tasks if provided by an employer.

An April 2015 report by Robert Half Technology found that 81% of 2,400 U.S.-based CIOs expected wearable devices like smartwatches and smart glasses to become common tools in the workplace.

According to 451 Research’s June 2015 survey of IT decision makers in the U.S. who either currently use or plan to use wearable technology, 39% said they would be deploying solutions in the next 6 months (following the survey). 24% planned to deploy at some point in the next year. 81% of those who said their company would be deploying within 6 months said they favored smart watches.

Compass Intelligence found that the hands-free nature of wearables is a big driver behind enterprise use of the technology. In a survey of 610 professionals conducted in June 2015, 41% said the ability to access information, perform Google searches, and initiate applications hands-free would improve daily work activities.

In an August 2015 forecast report, Compass Intelligence predicted the market for enterprise wearables in the U.S. will reach $8.5 billion by 2020. According to Compass, this growth will be driven by key industries like medical, industrial, energy, and field services.

In Summer 2015, research by ADP revealed that 33% of European employees surveyed would utilize wearable technology to help organize their workload. Another 33% said they would use wearables to manage stress.

In September 2015, APX Labs released a report on the state of wearable technology in the enterprise. Here are some of the highlights: 93% of IT and business decision makers surveyed said their organizations are already using or actively exploring wearables. 87% believe wearable tech will have a significant impact on their industry in the next 5 years. APX also found that nearly every industry sector has already begun to use wearables, including smart watches (61% of companies surveyed), activity trackers (60%), indoor location sensors/beacons (52%), wearable cameras (48%), and smart glasses (42%). It is typical for these companies to work with multiple vendors and types of devices; in fact, 83% of respondents had active pilots going with two or more wearable devices.

Also in September 2015, ABI Research predicted that shipments of head-mounted displays or HMDs will reach 65 million units by 2020. ABI’s study indicated that while device costs remain high over the next few years, the market for Augmented Reality (AR) glasses will be primarily enterprise-focused.

In October 2015, we learned of some top IT concerns when it comes to wearables in the workplace in a poll by Ipswitch of 288 IT professionals in the U.S. Their concerns included security breaches (61%), more work required to support the devices (45%), and decreased network bandwidth (36%). 66% of respondents admitted they did not yet have an IT policy in place to manage the impact of wearable technology, while 24% had prepared a policy.

A January 2016 report from Tech Pro Research found that 59% of companies surveyed currently allow the use of personal devices (including wearables) for work purposes. Apparently, BYOD is most common in the manufacturing and education sectors, and also at smaller companies. In addition, Tech Pro reviewed the wearable plans within respondents’ companies, finding that nearly half of those interviewed are either using, in the midst of implementing, or planning to implement wearables in 2016. Nearly half means that more than half (52%) said they have no plans to use wearable technology; however, this was a drop from last year—curiosity is definitely increasing.

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