Wearable devices will be a key component of the potential upside opportunities for many vendors pursuing applications within the emerging Internet of Things (IoT) market. New use cases are being explored by a growing ecosystem of software app developers.
While you may initially think of fitness tracker applications, wearable devices are quickly migrating into the office and other work environments, with the wearable scanner market experiencing rapid expansion.
According to the latest worldwide market study by ABI Research, enterprise wearable scanner shipments will reach nearly 22 million by 2021 -- that's an increase from just seven million in 2016.
Wearable Scanner Market Development
"Wearable scanners boost business productivity, offering workers a faster, hands-free alternative to the need for traditional hand-held scanners and paper picklists," says Stephanie Lawrence, research analyst at ABI Research.
Ring barcode scanners, glove scanners, and smart glasses are the most popular forms, which, depending on the device type, allow their wearers to scan barcodes, record processes, and access information without interruption.
Wearable ring scanners rely upon a ring barcode scanner that connects to a wearable computer and allow the user to access and update information about the scanned product.
Glove scanners provide a tracking interface for wearers to record manufacturing procedures for better quality control. Similarly, smartglasses ultimately offer guided workflows, allowing the wearer to receive assistance and new instructions when required.
As the devices begin to break ground across a wider variety of enterprises, ABI Research predicts more companies -- including Amazon, Boeing, DHL, FedEx, IBM, UPS, and View Technologies -- will invest in them.
Vertical Industry Growth Outlook
ABI analysts believe that the warehousing, manufacturing, and transportation industries will see the largest adoption of wearable scanners for 2016 to 2021. During this period, most of these companies will use the wearable scanners to scan barcodes on packages when they are picked, packed, and moved.
In the long term, ABI Research expects these devices to improve efficiency and streamline a variety of workflow processes. Enterprise wearable scanner and reader technologies provide the ability to achieve faster throughput with greater accuracy, and minimal re-work using only entry-level applications.
But whether talking about employee utilization, OPEX cost reduction, or the democratization of decision-making authority across a more informed and evenly-distributed set of commercial stakeholders, it's clear that these wearable technologies will also have horizontal market appeal.