Wearable technology is not new, but the increasing functionality and decreasing size of wearable devices are spawning a growing industry. Devices are increasingly smaller, more intelligent, and more wearable than in the past. They can collect more information including location information through GPS or access points and employee biometric data such as movement, heart rate, sleep patterns, and fatigue. Sensors can be embedded almost anywhere – such as on an employee’s uniform or even on tiny stickers on a person’s skin. Employee data from wearable tech can be combined with data from other sources to provide real time visibility into worker productivity and availability.
There a lot of vendors in this space and the global market for wearable tech is anticipated to grow from over $9 billion in 2014 to over $30 billion by 2018. As the variety and volume of these devices increases, organizations are taking notice of potential benefits of newer wearable technologies. We recently conducted a global study to assess worker attitudes toward wearable tech. You can read the results of our Wearable at Work survey here.
Some of the highlights we found interesting:
- US adoption of wearable technology for personal use is low compared to other world regions. Only 13% of all US respondents use wearable technology in their personal life, with Bluetooth devices and fitness monitors leading the way compared to 73% in China, the highest ranking region surveyed.l
- 82% of adults in India and Mexico, and 81 percent in China, have worn technologies such as headsets, smart badges, and barcode scanners for work-related activities, while only 20 percent of U.S workers have done so.
- 87% of worldwide respondents see at least one potential personal work benefit (U.S. = 61%) with improved safety for staff and customers rating high overall.
We’d love to hear from you about your thoughts on wearable technology in the workplace. I’m co-hosting a tweet chat on Monday, December 1 at noon with Stowe Boyd, lead researcher for the future of work and work technologies at Gigaom Research. You can join the tweet chat at #WearablesAtWork.
Relevant links to learn more about wearable technology in the workplace:
Wearable Technology Set to Take the Workplace by Storm – Gigaom Research
US Perception of Wearables at Work Lags Rest of World – Gigaom Research
Presentation on the Future of Wearable Technology – Joyce Maroney