A survey of American industrial enterprises commissioned by APX Labs has found that nearly all of them — 93 percent — have either deployed wearable technologies or are trying them out.
The survey collected 201 responses from from IT or business decisions makers with at least 500 employees, with an intentional skew toward enterprises with 5,000 or more employees, APX Labs said.
Adoption has been rapid; 79 percent of those surveyed said their wearables projects have started in the past year. And, contrary to the image of foot-dragging IT departments, the projects are pretty advanced: 49 percent are either in the pilot stage or have a production deployment.
The industries that seem most interested in wearables include Life Science/Pharma and Manufacturing; the lowest levels of interest were in Transportation and Retail. In most cases, companies are trying combinations of wearables. About half are trying three or more different types; APX reports that a typical cluster includes glasses and wrist wear, with the highest growth area being in smart glasses.
As one might expect, a multi-device environment is also a multi-supplier environment. Of those companies who use glasses, 87 percent were using Google Glass. (Note that the companies using Glass did not necessarily use only Glass.) Of the companies using smart watches, 80 percent were using the Apple Watch, and 79 percent were trying Samsung watches.
Why are they doing it? Safety was named as the highest-impact reason by more companies, followed by providing better service and adding flexibility to processes. Increasing task speed, cutting effort, reducing rework, and improving quality were cited less often.
APX Labs publishes Skylight software, multi-vendor and multi-platform middleware for industrial wearables. It clearly as skin in this game, but the survey methodology looks clean and the results are credible and useful. The report has tons of information, and is well worth digging into.