LONDON – Enterprise wearable scanner shipments will reach nearly 22 million by 2021, increasing from seven million in 2016, according to ABI Research.

The devices are migrating out of the gym and into the office, with the wearable scanner market experiencing rapid expansion, says the firm.

“Wearable scanners boost business productivity, offering workers a faster, hands-free alternative to the need for traditional handheld scanners and paper picklists,” says Stephanie Lawrence, research analyst at ABI Research. “Ring barcode scanners, glove scanners, and smartglasses are the most popular forms, which, depending on the device type, allow their wearers to scan barcodes, record processes, and access information without interruption.”

Wearable ring scanners, such as those from Honeywell and Zebra, rely on a ring barcode scanner that connects to a wearable computer and allow the user to access and update information about the scanned product.

Glove scanners, from manufacturers like ProGlove, provide a tracking interface for wearers to record manufacturing procedures for better quality control. Similarly, smartglasses, such as Vuzix M100 and M300, offer guided workflows, allowing the wearer to receive assistance and new instructions when required.

As the devices begin to break ground across a wider variety of enterprises, ABI Research predicts more companies, including Amazon, Boeing, DHL, FedEx, IBM, UPS, and View Technologies, will invest in them.

The warehousing, manufacturing, and transportation industries will see the largest adoption of wearable scanners for 2016 to 2021, says the firm. During this period, most of these companies will use the wearable scanners to scan barcodes on packages when they are picked, packed, and moved. In the long term, ABI Research expects these devices to improve efficiency and streamline workflow processes.

“Enterprise wearable scanner and reader technologies provide the ability to achieve faster throughput with greater accuracy and minimal re-work using only entry-level applications,” said Ryan Martin, senior analyst at ABI Research. “But whether talking about employee utilization, OPEX cost-reduction, or the democratization of decision-making authority across a more informed and evenly distributed set of stakeholders, it is clear these technologies will continue to have horizontal market appeal."

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