Good news for wearable technology vendors.
According to a new forecast from Tractica, an IT analyst firm, the worldwide market for enterprise wearable devices will swell to $6.3 billion by 2020. By comparison, Tractica expects the market to reach a relatively modest $218 million this year.
Tractica's estimates are conservative compared to a rosy forecast from analyst firm Compass Intelligence. This summer, the company predicted the market for enterprise wearables would reach $8.5 billion in the U.S. alone.
Apple, Samsung and Fitbit are courting tech-savvy consumers with devices that extend apps experiences or track a user's health, but there are already signs that enterprises are taking a good, hard look at wearables and their potential to improve business outcomes.
"An entire industry is taking shape to provide wearable platforms and integration services for enterprise end-user organizations," said Tractica research director Aditya Kaul in a statement. "Companies in a variety of sectors are working through challenges related to technology selection, software customization, user experience, reporting capabilities, and integration with existing IT systems."
Emboldened by the early successes of their pilot programs, enterprises will drive demand for wearables and supporting technology solutions over the next few years. This, in turn, will help create opportunities for vendors that can facilitate adoption in various business contexts, suggests Tractica's findings.
For example, the research firm expects corporate wellness programs to increase demand for smartwatches and fitness bands. Likewise, Tractica expects wearables to have an impact on mobile workforce management, workplace authentication and workflow improvement, among other business functions and processes.
In April, Tractica predicted that between 2014 and 2020, more than 75 million wearables would make their way into enterprise and industrial environments, sparking a new BYO (bring your own) movement among businesses. Smartwatches will lead the pack, followed by fitness trackers and smart glasses.
"The use of wearables in the enterprise will include devices that are part of the 'bring your own wearable' (BYOW) trend, as well as fitness trackers or smart watches provided by employers as part of their corporate wellness programs," stated Kaul. "Wearables in industrial environments, on the other hand, will revolve around a different set of use cases altogether, including areas such as oil and gas, mining, aerospace, warehouse, engineering services, transport/logistics, field maintenance, and mobile workforce management."
Pedro Hernandez is a contributing editor at Datamation. Follow him on Twitter @ecoINSITE.
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