Innovation

Enterprise wearables predicted to top $55 billion by 2022, driven by advances in data security

Look for a fivefold increase in enterprise adoption of smartwatches, smart glasses, and wearable scanners as new supporting platforms keep sensitive data safe.

Adoption of smartwatches, smart glasses, and wearable scanners is forecast to reach $55 billion by 2022, according to a new report from ABI Research. That marks a 424% increase from the $10.5 billion market value in 2017.

The push is due in part to stronger supporting platforms that give access to employees, while providing storage and security of device data, said Stephanie Lawrence, ABI Research analyst and author of the report, Enterprise Wearable Services and Supporting Platforms: Deployments, Challenges, and Key Platform Players.

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The Samsung Gear S3 frontier is a wearable used in fleet management applications.

Image: Samsung

"These platforms help you secure all of the data and make everything easier to access, but not easy to get into the wrong hands," Lawrence said. With the platforms, "managers can set what employees can access on each device, and not necessarily give them access to everything. Employers can make sure that they can control these devices remotely. If an employee lost a device on their walk home, the company could remotely wipe it and prevent people from having access to the company's data. These platforms are really important to make sure that everything is secure and safe."

SEE: Silver Spring Networks expands its IoT developer program and pushes for industry standards (TechRepublic)

Most of the new platforms are available as a SaaS (Software as a Service) or PaaS (Platform as a Service) offering. And, as stronger security protocols are required, the platforms will mature. But wearable platforms differ from other device platforms by requiring specific applications that can support many different wearables. For example, the diversity of smartwatches, with different operating systems and face shapes, often causes compatibility issues when creating device applications, according to the report.

However, most wearable platforms can be supported by enterprise mobility management (EMM) solutions, such as mobile device management (control over the whole device), mobile application management (control over an application), and mobile content management (control over the content in an application), Lawrence said.

The benefits of wearables in the enterprise include increasing productivity and efficiency, and also reducing errors, which saves on costs. Now that other companies see how they're in full scale use by some businesses, it's easier for them to take the leap and adopt them for their own use.

The advancements in the quality of wearables is also a factor, as they're now more rugged and can survive in outdoor conditions. Many of the wearables in use are smart glasses with augmented reality capabilities, so that workers in the field can send data back to their home office in real time for more analysis.

Another example of an interesting enterprise wearable is one in the transportation industry that uses biometrics to determine when a truck driver is feeling fatigue. In addition to helping save money, it can also save lives by preventing accidents.

Three takeaways for TechRepublic readers

  1. Adoption of smartwatches, smart glasses, and wearable scanners is forecast to reach $55 billion by 2022.
  2. The increase is due in part to stronger supporting platforms for the enterprise.
  3. The benefits of wearables in the enterprise include increasing productivity and efficiency, and also reducing errors, which saves on costs.

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About Teena Maddox

Teena Maddox is a Senior Writer at TechRepublic, covering hardware devices, IoT, smart cities and wearables. She ties together the style and substance of tech. Teena has spent 20-plus years writing business and features for publications including Peo...

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