One of my favorite (if apocryphal) quotes is the answer that the notorious bank robber Willy Sutton gave when asked why he robbed banks: “Because that’s where the money is!” If you want to look for the growth in any industry, whether it’s larceny or wearables, you have to look to find out where the money is. And for wearables, it’s clear that there’s a lot of money to be found in the vaults of enterprise level companies worldwide.
The market research firm Tractica recently published a free white paper, “Enterprise Wearable Technology Case Studies.” The report provides an overview of 30 separate case studies that covers the deployment of wearable technology of all sorts. In many cases, the devices are designed to cut losses such as those due to employee injury. For example, Audi is using an exoskeleton product called the Chairless Chair from the Swiss startup Noonee. This device allows a worker to assume a crouched position, then push a button and the device locks into that position. This relieves the loads put on the worker’s back, legs, and joints, allowing work to proceed with reduce injury and fatigue. Another case study describes the use of a wrist-word device that monitors hand and arm vibration that can occur from using power tools. Other cases help make more efficient use of resources, such as augmented reality (AR) that let an expert supervise several less-skilled workers at the same time. Another AR system allows airport workers to use voice commands to obtain information about aircraft without using their hands.
Corporations are motivated to increase productivity and lower costs. These case studies show that companies are already realizing significant gains through injury prevention and more efficient use of assets, thanks to wearable technology.