Wearable technology innovation to drive market growth

A major challenge for suppliers is to establish and expand the number of compelling use-cases for wearable devices.


IMS Research (IHS, Inc.)With 170 million wearable devices forecast to be shipped in 2016, the wearable technology market is already attracting a host of suppliers with exciting innovations for a range of applications. Wearable products, the vendor landscape and factors affecting market growth are discussed in a new white paper, Wearable Technology – A Global Market Overview, by IMS Research (recently acquired by IHS). The complimentary white paper is based on IMS Research’s report World Market for Wearable Technology – A Quantitative Market Assessment – 2012.

A major challenge for suppliers is to establish and expand the number of compelling use-cases for wearable devices. Key success factors include device size, non-invasiveness, ability to measure multiple parameters and provide automated feedback that improves user behaviour. 

Increasingly, wearable devices must accomplish multiple tasks in order to be considered significantly useful. This means integration of multiple sensors and transducers, support for different connectivity profiles and reduced power consumption; thus creating opportunities for both brand manufacturers and component suppliers.

“Even in infotainment, where ‘coolness’ can sometimes drive product adoption, wearable devices must establish their extra usefulness against smartphones and mobile applications. Consumers may question the value of smart watches or smart glasseses if they cannot do anything that their smartphone cannot do - apart from being wearable,” commented Theo Ahadome, senior analyst at IMS Research.

Fig 1. Wearable Technology Vendor Lanscape. Source: IMS Research (IHS, Inc.)

In addition to established companies such as Nike, Cardionet and Motorola, there is an increasing number of newer entrants with potentially disruptive technologies that are looking to address these challenges. These include non-invasive blood measurements from C8 Medisensors and OR Sense, multi-parameter wearable sensors from Proteus and Sotera Wireless, and adaptive clothing from Electricfoxy. Potentially disruptive products in infotainment include the Pebble watch, Google Glasses and Sony’s head-mounted displays for gaming. In industrial and military aplications, hand-worn terminals from Eurotech and smart fabric sensors from Zephyr are all projected to help establish use-cases for wearable technology. 

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