Wednesday, 18 December 2019 23:29

US$54 billion wearable tech industry offers ‘immense opportunity’ for construction sector by 2023, says analyst

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Smart helmets developed by companies such as SmartCap Technologies, "helping to increase safety on construction sites”. Smart helmets developed by companies such as SmartCap Technologies, "helping to increase safety on construction sites”.

Wearables have the potential to transform the construction industry through the ability to improve safety and efficiency for workers, according to a new report which forecasts the wearable tech industry will grow to reach US$54 billion by 2023.

According to the global report on wearables from analyst firm GlobalData, safety is being spearheaded by innovations such as gyroscopes, emergency alerts, and tracking devices, while GPS-enabled wearables and Artificial Intelligence (AI) technology are leading improvement in efficiency on construction sites.

The wearable tech industry was worth nearly US$23 billion in 2018 and is predicted to grow at a compound annual growth rate (CAGR) of 19% to reach the forecast US $54 billion in 2023.

GlobalData’s latest report, ‘Thematic Research: Wearable tech in Construction’, found that growth in the wearable tech industry will be driven by the utilisation of many countries’ ageing workforces in remote support roles for a younger generation of workers through AI and smart glasses technology - as well as wearable exoskeletons as an aid for workers’ physical support during strenuous tasks where there is risk of injury.

Danny Richards, lead economist at GlobalData, said: “Wearable tech, like the smart helmets developed by companies such as SmartCap Technologies, is helping to increase safety on construction sites”.

“SmartCap measures workers’ fatigue levels and detects micro-sleeps, alerting them when they are in need of a break.”

Richards said safety and efficiency are two primary trends in construction and this is driving the adoption of wearable tech.

“Companies such as Reactec are combating Hybrid Air Vehicles (HAV) in construction workers through their smartwatches and specialised app, RASOR, which monitors risks and safety issues and lets workers know when they need to down tools.

“This technology was recently used by former construction giant Carillion and led to a significant increase in worker protection and productivity, as well as a £3,000 saving in labor costs over 18 months. PETIT, a subsidiary of the French construction company VINCI Construction, has incorporated augmented reality (AR) into its developments.”

According to GlobalData, construction companies such as Triax Technologies and Scan-Link are leading innovation in wearables - with the two companies utilising geo-tagging through belt clips and safety jackets respectively, which convey vital information to job site managers.

The analyst firm says Apple is the dominant player in the smartwatches segment, thanks to the success of the Apple Watch, and also holds a strong position in the hearables segment, where AirPods are the market leader.

And other well-positioned players across wearable tech include Huawei, Google, Samsung, and Xiaomi, the report notes.

“Despite wearables’ difficulty launching in the consumer market, its commercial applications have proven valuable. As the benefits of wearable tech becomes clearer to construction companies, uptake is likely to increase,” concluded Richards.

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Peter Dinham is a co-founder of iTWire and a 35-year veteran journalist and corporate communications consultant. He has worked as a journalist in all forms of media – newspapers/magazines, radio, television, press agency and now, online – including with the Canberra Times, The Examiner (Tasmania), the ABC and AAP-Reuters. As a freelance journalist he also had articles published in Australian and overseas magazines. He worked in the corporate communications/public relations sector, in-house with an airline, and as a senior executive in Australia of the world’s largest communications consultancy, Burson-Marsteller. He also ran his own communications consultancy and was a co-founder in Australia of the global photographic agency, the Image Bank (now Getty Images).

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