Corporate wellness programs have helped make Fitbits and other health-monitoring wearables a familiar sight in the workplace. Soon, an expanding ecosystem of augmented- and virtual-reality (AR/VR) business solutions will make smart eyewear and headsets much more common in the office, according to a recent forecast from Grand View Research.
The market research and consulting company expects the global enterprise wearables market to reach $22.3 billion by 2025. Contributing to that haul is a burgeoning field of business AR/VR.
"The rising enterprise applications of Virtual Reality (VR) and Augmented Reality (AR) in the following years is expected to fuel the demand for wearable devices, such as smart eye wear and head mounted devices," said Grand View Research in a statement. "This growth in demand may be attributed to advancements in the VR and AR technologies, which would help increase their connectivity and enterprises' interaction with employees and consumers."
The industry is well on its way.
In February, IDC predicted that the worldwide AR/VR market (both business and consumer) would reach $13.9 billion this year, an increase of more than 130 percent compared to 2016. By 2020, the analyst group predicts that the market will attract a whopping $143.3 billion with a staggering compound annual growth rate (CAGR) of 198 percent during the intervening years.
"Early enterprise adopters have often rolled their own tools and applications, while commercial AR and VR enterprise offerings develop," said Marcus Torchia, research director of Customer Insights and Analysis at IDC. "At this stage to make the transition to a robust technology spending environment, third-party custom application development and systems integration will fill a vital role in bringing projects to life."
Many of those projects may involve AR. Instead of depositing users into virtual worlds, AR solutions are typically used to layer 3D images, diagrams, videos and useful information atop a user's physical environment when used with a headset, smartphone or other type of viewer.
In the near term, enterprise mobility and AR will go hand in hand, Torchia added.
"We expect initial AR spending to lean on mobile workforce-based use cases, where AR headsets are a natural enhancement to existing mobility investments. And we will see education, research and design applications form a foundation of adoption in professional environments," he added.
Pedro Hernandez is a contributing editor at Datamation. Follow him on Twitter @ecoINSITE.