APX Labs, the developer of the Skylight platform for enterprise wearable technology, today released its 2016 Predictions: What’s Next in Wearable Technology.

APX Labs’ developed these predictions after analyzing the data collected from the State of Enterprise Wearables survey, conversations with customers and reviewing industry-wide trends. These predictions provide valuable insights on the direction of the wearable technology industry worldwide.

“For wearable technology, 2015 was the year of the enterprise,” said Brian Ballard, CEO, APX Labs. “The first wave of companies jumped in and are well into their initial deployments. We saw it in many industries and for many different types of jobs. In 2016, wearable tech will explode as these deployments spread and as new businesses recognize the unique value that wearables bring to their hands-on operations. Also in 2016 we see a critical new variable in the equation – wearables will provide the missing link to connect the Industrial Internet of Things.”

APX Labs’ 2016 Wearable Technology Predictions Include:

1.   2016 will Bring the Slow Motion Collision of the Internet of Things (IoT) and Wearables
The Internet of Things (IoT) and wearable technology are different industries, but with similar technologies, use-cases and ecosystem players. Both are growing rapidly in industrial enterprises and in 2016 we will see top businesses create a single, connected enterprise fabric of people and machines formed by the collision of wearables and IoT. We project that 18 percent of industrial companies will implement a combined solution involving smart glasses and/or smart watches tied to live data feeds from IoT sensors and industrial machines in 2016.

2.   2016 Will be the Year of The Smart Factory
Every aspect of the traditional manufacturing environment will get smarter in 2016. From network enabled monitors and smart screwdrivers to connected sensors and real-time analytics, a plethora of data is being generated in forward-leaning manufacturing sites. Wearable technologies such as smart glasses are the next step, representing the next generation human-machine interface and the key to a truly smart factory by enabling the most efficient delivery of information to the connected workforce.

3.   Adoption of Wearable Devices Will Jump Six-Fold in the Enterprise
As the business benefits of connecting hands-on workers are increasingly realized, we predict that enterprise deployments will rapidly grow from the dozens to the thousands as wearables reach a greater level of maturity and market acceptance. Overall we predict a six-fold growth in the number of production wearable users in 2016, with a third of that coming from companies getting their first deployments online and two thirds of that from companies growing and expanding their use cases.

4.   Wearables will sit in the Hardware Design Drivers Seat
To date, wearables have been developed using the processors, batteries and components designed for other devices. This will change in 2016, when we will begin to see manufacturers designing and building components specifically for wearables. In fact, we predict that wearables will replace the smartphone as the key driver of hardware development in the technology sector.

5.   Even the Simplest Things at Work will get Smarter in 2016
Many of the simplest, everyday items in the workplace – from uniforms, to safety equipment, to access badges – haven’t changed much in the past 30 years. But by next year manufacturing economies of scale have created opportunities to add new embedded technology to just about anything you can think of. Traditional tools are being replaced with digital smart tools like Bluetooth enabled torque wrenches. Uniforms will have embedded sensors that will track movement, position and other key statistics. Workers’ badges will serve as smart nodes in a fully connected workplace and contactless smart cards can serve as a combination of location beacon and authentication token. These will work in conjunction with other machines, cameras, sensors and displays to transform the workplace in 2016.

6.   Next Year’s Holiday Gifts Will be Processed By at Least One Employee Sporting Smart Glasses
When it comes time to begin your 2016 holiday shopping, we predict that one in 50 of your holiday gifts will be processed by at least one employee wearing smart glasses. Whether it’s a package delivered to your doorstep, or an item you purchase at a large retail store, the odds are good that someone involved in the warehousing, logistics, delivery or production of the product will be wearing smart glasses as part of their job. We estimate that next year approximately 1.5 percent of products will be part of a wearables enabled business process – either assembly, logistics or distribution.

7.   Intel Establishes Itself as a Wearables Industry Heavyweight
Intel made a significant push into the wearable technology space during the past year by acquiring Recon Instruments and investing nearly $25 million in smart glasses manufacturer Vuzix. The company has publicly acknowledged missing the opportunity to have their chips power the smartphone revolution and has vowed not to miss opportunities to get their technology inside wearables.

For more information on APX Labs’ 2016 prediction, please visit https://apx-labs.com/landing/predictions-2016 to download the full report.