Analysts are seeing a staggering market potential in wearables in mobile enterprise computing, dubbed by ITWeb Brainstorm magazine as Human 2.0.
While 2014 is betted as the year for wearables as merely consumer phenomenon or hype, observers of the market industry are seeing an encompassing market in enterprise wearables by 2020.
ABI research predicts for wearable devices to grow from 50 million in 2013 to 90 million in 2014.
Deloitte is seeing possible global sales reaching at least 3 billion for 2014 and by 2020 there will be more than 500 million users.
Juniper Research forecasts worldwide revenue of $19 billion by 2018 from $1.4 billion in 2013.
Strategy Analytics found that the smart watch is growing over 350 per cent in 2014; 71 million units will be shipped by 2018 that will make up 46 per cent of the global wearable shipments.
Forrester Research vice president and principal analyst JP Gownder said that wearables is the future in consumerisation of IT, surmounting the "Bring your own wearable device" (BYOWD) and "Wear your own device" (WYOD) trends.
"Perpetually connected wearables will enable workers, partners, and customers to experience new levels of immediacy, simplicity and context in their mobile computing. They have the potential to change the way organisations and workers conduct business. Enterprises need to start putting together a road map for thinking about how wearables can improve their businesses over the next few years. In other words, they need to embark now on the early stages of the enterprise wearables journey."
The Staggering Market Potential
Gigaom analyst Jody Ranck says the infrastructure industry will be the major mover of the wearable technology.
"In contexts such as hardware repair, maintenance of heavy infrastructure - for example, nuclear reactors and sophisticated hardware - or outdoor construction, where real-time geographical information is required, wearables can be ideal," he said.
For analysts at Sogenti's Vint Future Labs, wearables will be "the employees of the future."
"Hyper-measurability is extending its ability to measure anything, and now extends to the shop floor: from the relationship between the amount of coffee consumed and the production capacity, to the connection between the minimum physical activity per employee and health-related costs," the analysts concurred.
- International Medical Market
Mobile Health (mHealth) continues to grow in demand.
"Wearable diagnostic devices can provide a better early health warning system than nature gave us. By wearing a device that constantly gathers personal data and pushes it into a secure cloud environment, you can generate a significant realm of personal health information," as observed by Simon Spurr, FOLUP co-founder and CEO (Africa).
Spurr also noted that the healthcare organisation will invest dramatically in wearable computing devices as this market was the earliest to adopt wearable technology.
"This would offer great benefits to companies that manage risk, such as medical aids, insurance companies, and even employers," he said.
In Australia, Sydney based startup Wearable Experiments, in partnership with Durex, is commercialising a long-distance lovers' underwear, the Fundawear.
When connected to an iPhone app, partners will be able to control the vibrating features, "in any directions they like" of each others' Fundawear.
"We've built in touch actuators, they're the same actuators built into your iPhone, and we built them into the cloth. We've made it washable, we've made it durable and we've built the garments out of a bamboo spandex, so it's one of the most eco-friendly products on the market," Wearable Experiments co-founder Billie Whitehouse told startupsmart.
The company had also created the Fan Jersey which linked fans to their sporting idols as they watch a game.
"What you're tapping into is the net emotional feeling of that team. Say, for example, someone marks the ball in the AFL 50 yards out, he's got an adrenaline surge, you're going to feel the adrenaline he feels with a building intensity. When they kick a goal you, you'll feel an elation or cheer, like people patting you on your back, but if they miss then you'll feel despair or frustration, like that sinking feeling, " Ben Moir, co-founder of Wearable Experiments explained.
The closest to the enterprise mobile computing wearable seen in Australia is the Equivital EQ02 LifeMonitor capsule used in the Country Fire Authority trial back in January of 2013.
The pill can detect a fire fighter's core temperature in real time that will allow assessing a body's vulnerability to heat. If a fire fighter shows extreme heat exposure, he or she will remove in a rescue operation as a way of protection against harm. The pill will naturally be expelled from the body after two days of being swallowed.