Clearly, enterprise wearables on the rise. Many analysts believe the market for wearable technology – in the enterprise and the larger consumer market – is poised to take off.
IDC forecasts that manufacturers will ship 101.9 million wearable devices in 2016, 29 percent more than last year. And by 2020, shipments will likely top 213.6 million devices, it says. For now, smartwatches and wristbands are among the most popular of these devices, but eyewear, clothing and other types of wearables could become increasingly popular.
Crossover between enterprise wearables and consumer wearables is inevitable. Undoubtedly, many consumer devices will make their way into the enterprise as a result of bring-your-own-device (BYOD) trends. However, many vendors are marketing enterprise wearables directly to corporations as a way to boost worker productivity, enhance customer service and improve health and safety. In fact, a report from Tractica estimates that enterprise wearable shipments will increase from 2.3 million last year to 66.4 million by 2021.
Similarly, a 2015 APX Labs report titled The State of Enterprise Wearables found that 93 percent of the large industrial companies surveyed are already evaluating or using wearables. In addition 87 percent of IT decision makers at these companies said believe that wearable technology will have a significant impact in their industry over the next five years.
Enterprise wearables is a rapidly growing category – expanding as quickly as we can report on it. To address this, we've put together a list of 35 of the top enterprise wearables available. For this list we focused on wearables marketed specifically to enterprises rather consumer-focused devices like fitness trackers and virtual reality devices intended primarily for gaming and entertainment use.
If you know of other enterprise wearables that you think should have been on the list, feel free to note them in the Comments section below.
Probably the best-known enterprise wearable available, Microsoft HoloLens is an augmented reality (AR) device designed to blend 3D holographic content with the real world. Microsoft envisions it as a tool to enable design work, improve communications and enhance training (and it has also used the device for demos of the game Minecraft). Development edition devices are on sale now for $3,000.
Like HoloLens, the Moverio is an augmented reality device that can display 3D virtual content. These smart glasses are fully transparent, very small, lightweight and based on the Android operating system. They are also quite a bit less expensive than Microsoft's product, starting at just $699.
3. LG 360 VR
Designed for use with the LG G5 smartphone, this set of virtual reality (VR) glasses offers a lightweight design, 639 ppi resolution and an 80-degree field of view lens. Prices start at $199.99.
Sony's augmented reality wearable was "developed for increasing business productivity and reducing errors." It has a separate wired controller that houses the battery and allows you to control the speaker, microphone and touch sensor. Devices sell for around $899.
5. Vusix M100
Vusix offers smart glasses for both the enterprise and the consumer/gaming market. The M100 has won numerous industry awards, and it is one of the few smart glasses that are compatible with prescription lenses. It also claims to be "the world's first commercially available 'smart glasses.'" More similar to the now discontinued Google Glass than HoloLens, it has a monocular display and is based on Android.
Designed for enterprise use, Atheer's AiR Glasses are targeted at the aerospace, insurance, field maintenance, oil & gas and healthcare markets, and they retail for $3,950. The offer a fifty-degree field of view, dual 4 MP cameras, 2GB RAM and up to 128 GBM storage. The company boasts that it offers "the most interactive 3D smart glasses and productivity application for deskless professionals."
In order to use this virtual reality device, you will also need a compatible Samsung Galaxy smartphone that fits into a slot on the headset. Created for both enterprise and consumer use, the Gear VR is powered by Oculus Rift technology and runs Android apps. And at $99.99, it is one of the most affordable VR/AR devices available.
Featured in a popular TED Talk, Meta boasts that its "Meta 2 Development Kit offers the widest field of view, the most intuitive access to digital information and direct hand interaction with holograms." The device has impressed many reviewers with its neuroscience-driven interface. The company is currently taking pre-orders for the device at $949.
Optinvent's ORA-2 is an Android-based pair of smart glasses designed for professional use. The company describes it as "the most complete wearable computing platform in the world." Prices start at 699€. The company also offers an app store (called AppstORA) that features apps that work on the device.
While most of the smart glasses fit more or less like a regular pair of glasses, Fujitsu's head-mounted display has a series of straps that go across the wearer's head. The display can be positioned in front of either eye, but it isn't transparent. It also comes with a wearable keyboard that can be strapped to the user's wrist. All in all, it's one of the more strange-looking enterprise wearables on the market.
11. Trivisio LOC.20
Another unusual-looking option, Trivision's smart glasses have a band that goes all the way around the wearer's head. The transparent display covers just one eye, and it has a connected ear piece. The microphone and optional camera are integrated into the main body of the unit. There's also a separate smartphone-like controller for the device.
Brother's head-mounted display has an adjustable arm attached to a band that goes across the user's forehead. The opaque display sits in front of one eye, and you carry a separate hand controller in your pocket. It's designed for applications like assembly support and remote assistance.
13. Apple Watch
The best-selling smartwatch in the industry, the Apple Watch experienced a sharp sales decline in the second quarter of 2016. It has apps for both enterprise and consumer purposes, and it comes in a wide variety of styles. In order to use it, you will also need an iPhone.
14. Asus ZenWatch
Less well-known than some of the other smartwatches on the market, Asus offers two generations of ZenWatch, both based on Android Wear. The latest version, the ZenWatch 2, features a 1.63-inch or 1.45-inch AMOLED touchscreen, water resistance and a choice of sizes, colors and styles.
15. Huawei Watch
Although Huawei isn't a well-known brand in the U.S., this Chinese company is one of the largest mobile vendors in the world. It offers a line of Android Wear-based devices designed to look like luxury watches. Prices start around $349.99.
16. LG Watch Urbane
Like the Moto 360 (below), LG Watch Urbane is notable for its round watch face. Also noteworthy is the fact that it allows users to send and receive calls and texts without the use of a phone. It's water- and dust-resistant, and it can sync with Android phones.
17. Moto 360
With its round face, the Moto 360 from Motorola looks a lot like a traditional wristwatch. It can pair with an Android smartphone or an iPhone, and it runs Google Play apps. A wide range of bezel, case, band and face options are available with prices starting at $299.99.
18. Samsung Gear
Samsung offers several different Gear S model smartwatches that do not require a smartphone to be nearby in order to operate. The watch faces are fairly large on most models, and some curve around the wrist. It can run a variety of apps, and it is compatible with most Android smartphones. Prices start at $249.99.