If you weren't convinced by all the hype that wearables are the next big thing in computing, Gartner has a new study that aims to eliminate all doubt -- and it only focuses on one kind, smart glasses.
According to the press release about the report entitled "Innovation Insight: Smartglasses Bring Innovation to Workplace Efficiency" from Gartner Inc. , the smart glasses market is all about the workplace, not the consumer market. Most of us are familiar with smart glasses via Google Glass, which is not yet released for sale to the general public but has been in the hands of developers and pundits for many months.
The market for Google Glass seems to be a consumer one, but Gartner says hold your horses. The real growth area for the use of smart glasses is going to be the workplace, in areas such as "manufacturing, field service, retail and healthcare." Gartner predicts that smart glasses could save the field service industry alone as much as $1 billion per year by as soon as 2017.
That mirrors the opinion of our blogger Kishore Jethanandani, who wrote in The Unlikely Leader in Wearables that one sector of the field service industry would be the main driver for enterprise use of smart glasses, the distribution center. Warehouse pickers could experience a major improvement in efficiency by using smart glasses, he wrote.
Gartner sees a different top growth area for smart glasses, namely the field repair sector. "The greatest savings in field service will come from diagnosing and fixing problems more quickly and without needing to bring additional experts to remote sites," wrote Angela McIntyre, research director at Gartner, in the release.
Google isn't the only one with some form of smart glasses technology on the market. Famous sports eyewear maker Oakley, for example, has a product called Airwave, goggles that give a skier a heads up display. Not quite the interactive eyewear that Google Glass is, but a close cousin.
But something like Airwave might be all that is needed for one of the other big growth areas Gartner predicts, healthcare. Extra information about the patient's condition could go straight from the anesthesiologist's display to a heads up display on the doctor's smart glasses or googles.
Overall, the wearables market is expected to grow from 100 million units shipped next year to 485 million in 2018, according to ABI Research. That means that a whole new kind of mobile technology will make its way into the enterprise IT structure, and Gartner says we had better get ready for it.
"Now is the time for IT organizations to refresh their bring-your-own-device (BYOD) policies with smart glasses in mind. Though IT organizations will provide smart glasses to employees who regularly wear them for their job task, much of the IT impact may come from employees wearing their personal smart glasses at work," McIntyre wrote.
Is your workplace ready for wearables in general and smart glasses in particular? What policies need to be updated, if they exist at all? How would your job improve using smart glasses? Let us know in the comments.
— Rodney Brown, Editor in Chief, The Mobility Hub