Dec 01 2014

The Wearable Future

What will the consumer market for wearables look like in the future?

A new study from PriceWaterhouseCoopers predicts that wearable technology will be fully embraced by American consumers in the next couple of years.

Released in late October, “The Wearable Future” report states that 21 percent of Americans own a wearable device today, and the wearables market is expected to reach more than 130 million units by 2018.

In a result that may flip the BYOD trend on its ear, PwC says consumers are more apt to use wearable technology if their company pays for it. Forty-six percent of those surveyed say their company should pay for wearables, with 72 percent saying they would use a smart watch if the company paid for it as opposed to 42 percent who say they would use one if they had to pay for it themselves.

The trend carries over to fitness bands, with 63 percent saying they would use one if the company paid for it versus 38 percent saying they would buy one with their own money.

There are many potential benefits to wearable technology in the workplace. According to PwC’s report, devices in the workplace can be used as training agents, speeding up the learning process via real-time feedback. At retail stores, wearable devices can upend point-of-sale processes, improve customer service throughout the store and speed up purchasing. In manufacturing, producers are experimenting with using wearable devices to expedite production by creating hands-free guidance tools. And health bands are viewed as a way for companies to reduce health care costs, as employees monitor how much they walk or run and their daily weight. IT managers at SMBs should look closely at the impact wearables may have on the network.

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