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Clearly, enterprise wearables on the rise. Many analysts believe the market for wearable technology – in the enterprise and the larger consumer market – is poised to take off.
IDC forecasts that manufacturers will ship 101.9 million wearable devices in 2016, 29 percent more than last year. And by 2020, shipments will likely top 213.6 million devices, it says. For now, smartwatches and wristbands are among the most popular of these devices, but eyewear, clothing and other types of wearables could become increasingly popular.
Crossover between enterprise wearables and consumer wearables is inevitable. Undoubtedly, many consumer devices will make their way into the enterprise as a result of bring-your-own-device (BYOD) trends. However, many vendors are marketing enterprise wearables directly to corporations as a way to boost worker productivity, enhance customer service and improve health and safety. In fact, a report from Tractica estimates that enterprise wearable shipments will increase from 2.3 million last year to 66.4 million by 2021.
Similarly, a 2015 APX Labs report titled The State of Enterprise Wearables found that 93 percent of the large industrial companies surveyed are already evaluating or using wearables. In addition 87 percent of IT decision makers at these companies said believe that wearable technology will have a significant impact in their industry over the next five years.
Enterprise wearables is a rapidly growing category – expanding as quickly as we can report on it. To address this, we've put together a list of 35 of the top enterprise wearables available. For this list we focused on wearables marketed specifically to enterprises rather consumer-focused devices like fitness trackers and virtual reality devices intended primarily for gaming and entertainment use.
If you know of other enterprise wearables that you think should have been on the list, feel free to note them in the Comments section below.
Probably the best-known enterprise wearable available, Microsoft HoloLens is an augmented reality (AR) device designed to blend 3D holographic content with the real world. Microsoft envisions it as a tool to enable design work, improve communications and enhance training (and it has also used the device for demos of the game Minecraft). Development edition devices are on sale now for $3,000.
Like HoloLens, the Moverio is an augmented reality device that can display 3D virtual content. These smart glasses are fully transparent, very small, lightweight and based on the Android operating system. They are also quite a bit less expensive than Microsoft's product, starting at just $699.
3. LG 360 VR
Designed for use with the LG G5 smartphone, this set of virtual reality (VR) glasses offers a lightweight design, 639 ppi resolution and an 80-degree field of view lens. Prices start at $199.99.
Sony's augmented reality wearable was "developed for increasing business productivity and reducing errors." It has a separate wired controller that houses the battery and allows you to control the speaker, microphone and touch sensor. Devices sell for around $899.
5. Vusix M100
Vusix offers smart glasses for both the enterprise and the consumer/gaming market. The M100 has won numerous industry awards, and it is one of the few smart glasses that are compatible with prescription lenses. It also claims to be "the world's first commercially available 'smart glasses.'" More similar to the now discontinued Google Glass than HoloLens, it has a monocular display and is based on Android.
Designed for enterprise use, Atheer's AiR Glasses are targeted at the aerospace, insurance, field maintenance, oil & gas and healthcare markets, and they retail for $3,950. The offer a fifty-degree field of view, dual 4 MP cameras, 2GB RAM and up to 128 GBM storage. The company boasts that it offers "the most interactive 3D smart glasses and productivity application for deskless professionals."
In order to use this virtual reality device, you will also need a compatible Samsung Galaxy smartphone that fits into a slot on the headset. Created for both enterprise and consumer use, the Gear VR is powered by Oculus Rift technology and runs Android apps. And at $99.99, it is one of the most affordable VR/AR devices available.
Featured in a popular TED Talk, Meta boasts that its "Meta 2 Development Kit offers the widest field of view, the most intuitive access to digital information and direct hand interaction with holograms." The device has impressed many reviewers with its neuroscience-driven interface. The company is currently taking pre-orders for the device at $949.
Optinvent's ORA-2 is an Android-based pair of smart glasses designed for professional use. The company describes it as "the most complete wearable computing platform in the world." Prices start at 699€. The company also offers an app store (called AppstORA) that features apps that work on the device.
While most of the smart glasses fit more or less like a regular pair of glasses, Fujitsu's head-mounted display has a series of straps that go across the wearer's head. The display can be positioned in front of either eye, but it isn't transparent. It also comes with a wearable keyboard that can be strapped to the user's wrist. All in all, it's one of the more strange-looking enterprise wearables on the market.
11. Trivisio LOC.20
Another unusual-looking option, Trivision's smart glasses have a band that goes all the way around the wearer's head. The transparent display covers just one eye, and it has a connected ear piece. The microphone and optional camera are integrated into the main body of the unit. There's also a separate smartphone-like controller for the device.
Brother's head-mounted display has an adjustable arm attached to a band that goes across the user's forehead. The opaque display sits in front of one eye, and you carry a separate hand controller in your pocket. It's designed for applications like assembly support and remote assistance.
13. Apple Watch
The best-selling smartwatch in the industry, the Apple Watch experienced a sharp sales decline in the second quarter of 2016. It has apps for both enterprise and consumer purposes, and it comes in a wide variety of styles. In order to use it, you will also need an iPhone.
14. Asus ZenWatch
Less well-known than some of the other smartwatches on the market, Asus offers two generations of ZenWatch, both based on Android Wear. The latest version, the ZenWatch 2, features a 1.63-inch or 1.45-inch AMOLED touchscreen, water resistance and a choice of sizes, colors and styles.
15. Huawei Watch
Although Huawei isn't a well-known brand in the U.S., this Chinese company is one of the largest mobile vendors in the world. It offers a line of Android Wear-based devices designed to look like luxury watches. Prices start around $349.99.
16. LG Watch Urbane
Like the Moto 360 (below), LG Watch Urbane is notable for its round watch face. Also noteworthy is the fact that it allows users to send and receive calls and texts without the use of a phone. It's water- and dust-resistant, and it can sync with Android phones.
17. Moto 360
With its round face, the Moto 360 from Motorola looks a lot like a traditional wristwatch. It can pair with an Android smartphone or an iPhone, and it runs Google Play apps. A wide range of bezel, case, band and face options are available with prices starting at $299.99.
18. Samsung Gear
Samsung offers several different Gear S model smartwatches that do not require a smartphone to be nearby in order to operate. The watch faces are fairly large on most models, and some curve around the wrist. It can run a variety of apps, and it is compatible with most Android smartphones. Prices start at $249.99.
19. Sony SmartWatch
This watch from Sony aims to "make life simpler and smarter." It offers a two-day battery life and can be used without a smartphone nearby. It delivers email and other notifications, and it offers apps for search, weather, travel, maps, to-do lists and more. Watch straps come in a variety of colors and styles.
One of the first smartwatches available, this Kickstarter-funded watch initially experienced great sales success. It can work with iOS or Android phones, and it has apps for email, text messages, directions, stock prices, activity tracking and more.
21. Bragi Dash
Bragi boasts that its Dash is "the world's first wireless smart earphones." You can use it with your smartphone to make calls, and it also doubles as a fitness tracker and music player. Prices start at $299.
Plantronics offers a number of bluetooth headsets for connecting enterprise workers with their phones, PCs, tablets or other devices. They come in a variety of styles to maximize comfort for the wearer.
23. Sony Xperia Ear
This small earpiece can send and receive calls or text messages, as well as allowing employees to check their schedules, receive turn-by-turn directions or search the Web. It offers a lot of the same functionality as a smartphone, without requiring users to look down at a handheld device.
Aimed at helping improve productivity for hourly employees, Thetro is a voice-controlled communication device that connects to Wi-Fi networks. It weighs just an ounce and a half, and it allows workers to connect to their employers information systems as well as to communicate with each other.
25. Optinvent ORA-X
Along with its smart glasses, Optinvent also offers smart headphones, which the company describes as "a wearable tablet." Like the ORA glasses, they are based on Android. The headphones include a flip down visual display, and the batteries last about eight hours. The company is currently accepting pre-orders for $349, but hasn't said when devices will ship.
26. Nymi Band
Worn around the employee's wrist, this band offers secure two-factor authentication. It can either detect the wearers electrocardiogram for use as a biometric ID, or it can use Apple's Touch ID technology. As long as the employee is wearing the band, it will send their authentication credentials to network devices in range via Bluetooth and/or NFC.
ProGlove describes itself as "a smart glove that helps workers in logistics and manufacturing to work more efficiently." It incorporates a number of built-in sensors and a read-out display to offer workers advice on which tool to use and which step in the manufacturing process to complete next.
Due to launch before the end of the year, SmartCap aims to help reduce fatigue risk for truckers and other drivers. It monitors brain waves and sends alerts if it detects dangerous levels of fatigue. It also tracks historical data so operators can see which times of day are the most problematic.
For employees concerned about style and fashion, Wisewear offers a line of "smart jewelry." It buzzes gently to notify workers about important calls, texts or schedule reminders, and it can call for help in an emergency situation. It's also an activity tracker that monitors steps, distance traveled, calories burned and active minutes.
Made for warehouse employees, this solution includes a microphone-equipped headset, earphones, a wrist-mounted computer and/or a ring scanner. The company claims that it delivers "double-digit productivity gains," while being very comfortable for employees.
Working with Marathon oil company and several other technology vendors, Accenture developed this wearable gas detection system. It alerts employees if unsafe levels of various gases are detected, and it also sends a notice to the control room, which can then monitor the situation and help find any employees that are in trouble. The solution also recognizes lack of movement and notifies the control room in case of a "man down."
32. Alert GPS
Designed to improve employee safety, this wearable tracks employee locations and allows them to call for help quickly in case of an emergency. It can also distribute mass notifications quickly (for example in an active shooter situation or in case of extreme weather or hazardous spills). In addition, it can automatically trigger alerts to management if undesirable actions (such as entering a restricted area or speeding) occur.
DorsaVi makes sensors that track movement. It offers three different lines: ViPerform for athletes, ViMove for healthcare providers, and ViSafe for workplaces. The ViSafe products are designed to help reduce on-the-job injuries by helping analyze employee movement and recommending safer alternatives.
Made specifically to meet the needs of law enforcement officers, the Si series combines a video camera with a speaker microphone to track interactions between officers and the public. It can also take still photos and send and receive emergency alerts.
Calling itself "the most advanced wearable camera in the world," Pivothead devices feature glasses with a built-in video camera. For enterprise use, it can facilitate remote meetings, improve collaboration, assist with training and more. Prices start around $199.