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Vendors of business-friendly wearable devices are about to see their fortunes improved, suggests a new forecast from analyst firm Compass Intelligence.
According to the group, the market for enterprise wearables in the United States will reach $8.5 billion by 2020. Whereas the consumer market for wearables is currently tracking at a compound annual growth rate (CAGR) of 38 percent, the enterprise wearables market is expected to expand at a CAGR of 139 percent between 2015 and 2019.
Much of that demand is being driven by healthcare and energy companies, as well as industrial concerns and field service operations, noted the company. Government agencies, particularly the military, have also been early supporters.
And while step and heart rate trackers are typically associated with helping fitness buffs meet their health goals, they too have a place in the office. "Enterprise wearables (workplace wearables) include any and all wearables purchased by businesses or sold for the purposes of workplace use, which includes fitness/health devices purchased for the use of corporate wellness programs," said Compass Intelligence in a statement.
Apple's entry into wearables fray will help fuel enterprise wearables boom.
"From a form factor perspective, Apple's sheer strength and developer community will drive the enterprise adoption of smart watches across industries, which is expected to further launch development and applications in niche areas and launch additional wearables that we cannot even conceptualize this early in the market," stated the firm.
After its splashy debut last September, Apple Watch was finally released to the public on April 24. In May, IBM unveiled three Apple Watch apps that are tailored to the work requirements of nurses, field technicians and public safety officials.
Amisha Gandhi, director of global product marketing for SAP, told Datamation in December that 2015 will be a watershed year for wearables in the workplace.
"We saw traction in 2014 for fitness bands and wearables for consumers. In 2015, wearables will move beyond the novelty of consumer use and extend to the enterprise. Businesses will invest in hardware such as glasses and smart watches, thereby extending the value of existing mobile investments and addressing new use cases to quickly deliver ROI," said Gahdhi.
Last year, ABI Research predicted that the worldwide market for enterprise wearables would reach $18 billion by 2019.
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