The growth of wearable technology has escalated over the last few years. Conservative estimates predict that 100 million wearable units will be shipped this year with the overall market estimated to be about $12 billion. Most of the current and short term future market growth will come from wristables, i.e wearable bands and watches. Activity tracker bands such as Nike Fuelband SE, FitBit Force and JawBone UP among others have already found some traction in the market along with wearable watches such as the Samsung Gear Live and the Pebble smart watch. This increased interest from consumers and organizations have led to rapid product evolution in the wristable space. 2014 will see wristables evolving from a niche sports and fitness device to a multi-purpose consumer electronic device. Below are five enablers of this shift:
- Wristables are evolving: The initial consumer feedback collected by analysts suggests that consumers want more from their wristables. Simple activity trackers and pedometer based devices are giving way to more complete biometric trackers that measure multiple vital signs as well as improved inter-device connectivity.
- The battle of the OS: With Google entering the wearable market with an OS compatible for multiple types of devices, the battle for OS supremacy is heating up. Established wristable players are going to have to work harder to maintain developer interest with agile upstarts and legacy platforms crowding the market.
- Wristable to be at the center of experience: The introduction of Bluetooth 4.0 LE will increase interest in wristables. This low power wireless technology will shift the focus from content consumption and analysis from the tablet and smartphone, to the wristable device, the hub of the experience.
- A shift to proactive health management: Advances in sensor technology and algorithms are improving the speed and accuracy of health-related metrics gathered by wristables, allowing consumers to take a more active role in managing their general well-being. This more holistic view of health may eventually contribute to a model of prevention and early diagnosis.
- A connected ecosystem: The continuous connectivity offered by the wristables allows a free flow of information which will move beyond the tablet and smartphone to other devices. This inter-device communication will facilitate connected experiences aimed at enhancing the consumer’s quality of life.
These factors coupled with increased consumer adoption make wristables the connected technology to look out for in 2014