Wearable tech is still finding its feet in the market. While there are some clear use-cases such as in health and exercise for smartwatches, and in security in the case of cameras, there's still quite a bit of scepticism when it comes to many of the devices on the market. Despite that lack of clear use-cases, Gartner forecasts the number of wearable tech devices in the market to almost double by 2021.
Gartner splits the wearable device market into seven segments; smartwatches, head-mounted displays, body-worn cameras, Bluetooth headsets, wristbands, sports watches and other devices.
They expect sales in the sports watches and other categories to stay flat over the next four years with smartwatches to rise from about 24 million units sold in 2016 to almost 81 million units by 2021. Head mounted displays will rise from about 16 million to 67 million units in that time.
Bundling Bluetooth headsets into wearables makes sense but it does increase the numbers massively. They expect that category to add 206 million units to the wearables market, out of about 505 million by 2021.
What's all this mean? It suggests to me people will keep buying these devices even though the use-cases are still evolving. In particular, head mounted displays is still a very new category. This is the category that, I think, businesses will look towards as it has great potential in logistics, manufacturing, service industries and engineering.
Smartwatches will continue to grow but mainly for consumer applications such as heath and well-being although I have to say I like receiving reminders and notifications on my Apple Watch - once I fiddled with the settings for each app so the only time my watches beeps or vibrates is for apps I care about.
Where do you expect wearable tech to make an impact at work for you?