What are wearables
Wearable technology (wearables) integrates computing and wireless technology into everyday objects, turning wristbands, watches and even clothes into the latest gadgets. Although we think that wearable technology is at an early stage and far from gaining widespread acceptance, there is potential for wearables to become a USD 90 billion market by 2020.
Bringing wearables to the general public
Wearables are nothing new - various military forces have been developing headgear for pilots since the 1960s and calculator watches have existed since the 1970s. What is new is the potential broader appeal to the consumer market. Given the advances in miniaturising circuitry, sensors, battery and wireless technology, wearables are becoming ever smaller and more user friendly, greatly increasing the potential applications of these technologies.
Improving lifestyle, health, work, and safety
The potential applications of this emerging technology are vast. Wearables could, for example, allow people to personally monitor their own health around the clock, while automatically sharing the gathered health data with doctors, which could potentially improve therapy outcomes. Wearables could also collect context-specific information serving real-time needs, consequently increasing convenience and potentially having a positive impact on lifestyle, work, and safety.
Further disrupting the mobile industry
Feature phones were disrupted by smartphones and notebook computers by tablets. Today, we see the big US tech companies racing to bring the wearable mobile computing category to the public. As growth in smartphone sales in the developed countries has levelled off and only the USD 150-and-below smart-phone category is expanding in emerging markets, the industry needs shaking up once again.
As wearables, with their increased uses, are becoming an integral part of people’s lives, they will likely lead to significant changes in behaviour addressing a potential USD 1.6 trillion market, which centres on fitness, health, insurance, fashion, payments, entertainment, home automation, and advertising. People will be able to quantify their lives, and companies will tailor their products and services based on that data. A world of wearable opportunity is opening up.