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Leading HUD manufacturer Vuzix continues its trend of strategic partnerships with the announcement earlier this week of its partnership with wearable tech firm XOEye to create an end-to-end solution for more rugged industry segments that include manufacturing, construction, and field services. Under the partnership, Vuzix will bundle its flagship M100 smart glasses with XOEye’s cloud-based software platform and applications developed to enhance communication and operation efficiencies, particularly in regards to remote diagnostics, managerial support, compliance and project documentation. As XOEye CEO Aaron Salow notes, “Demand for wearables in the workplace continues to increase as requirements for efficiency, workplace safety, and compliance across many sectors are becoming increasingly commonplace and, in some cases, mandated.” Data from VDC bears this out, as there is growing interest across industry verticals for wearable devices, as use cases for the form factor accumulate.
The partnership comes on the heels of the announcement of Intel’s purchase of a $25 million stake in Vuzix, as well as with collaborations with Lenovo to co-brand the M100 in China. This comes in conjunction with SAP’s partnership to provide enterprise applications to the device announced in MWC lat year, as well as support on the Salesforce Wear platform, which is intended to provide a platform for developers to provide enterprise-oriented apps geared designed specifically for wearable devices. Although much of the initial buzz for smart glasses like Google Glass originated in the consumer market, its appeal has cooled considerably. As a result, Google has increasingly shifted its attention for the device towards the enterprise market, which does not have the same aversion to head-mounted displays – a considerable obstacle in the consumer market. As a result, Vuzix will not only face growing competition from companies like Epson, but increasingly from Google as well. Nevertheless, the recent combination of co-branding and funding has placed Vuzix on a very solid global footing.
While the demand for wearables in enterprise is growing, many of the applications remain relatively niche. Unlike other form factors deployed in an enterprise setting, wearables covers a very broad spectrum of devices that encompass a plurality of applications and capabilities, making it difficult to address the form factor as a whole. Additionally, many organizations are hesitant to deploy wearables in line of business applications, as research from VDC reveals that lack of a perceived ROI remains a significant barrier to adoption across industry verticals. Nevertheless, the benefits of hands-free mobility and direct two-way communication are strong value propositions that are gaining ground in areas like field services and manufacturing, where efficiency gains, as well as safety and compliance provide a strong impetus to look to wearables as a solution. Many of these opportunities and challenges are addressed in an upcoming report from VDC on wearables in line-of-business applications.
View the 2017 Enterprise Mobility & Connected Devices Research Outline to learn more.