Wearable tech’s presence is on the rise with gadgets like Fitbits and Smartwatches becoming increasingly commonplace. But how will this kind of technology develop to integrate with our day to day lives and become something we depend on even more?
Before we delve any deeper, it’s worth noting that the wearables is a huge industry – and it’s on the rise. In fact, the wearables market exceeded $2 billion in 2015 and is expected to hit just four billion by the end of the year – which is coming thick and fast. What’s more, one in six consumers currently owns and uses wearable tech.
That’s pretty big, to say the least. It’s safe to say that there’s plenty of potential in wearables, but like any tech in its infancy, there are always going to be a few snags or teething problems early on.
Take the 2015 range of wearables for example. Due to highly priced entry points, intrusive designs and issues with statistical accuracy (FitBit-stye devices in particular), there was a 30% return rate as well as high product abandonment in the first six months.
Of course, since then wearables have come on leaps and bounds, and as things continue to develop, these products will only get stronger.
As wearable tech gets more compact, it will most likely become more efficient, causing more people to invest and as a result, drive global prices down. Like the smartphone and smart TVs, wearables, in the near future, wearables will become truly commonplace in our everyday lives.
As wearables become an increasingly integrated part of our everyday existence, we predict big things for this intuitive branch of technology. Developments such as:
● The rise of smart clothing: This is wearable in its most literal sense. Now, startups like Under Armour have already launched smart running shoes that are not only comfortable but can track steps, distance, and monitor multiple workouts. In 2015, shipments were a little under one million units, but the numbers have been rising steadily. And once the bigger players begin to develop their own smart workout clothes, but 2020, we expect wearable clothing to be a colossal market.
● Wearables an AI will come into play: With AI and ML developing at an incredible rate, this kind of intuitive self-learning technology will become a major part of wearables, helping to personalise the experience even more by understanding about the nuances of the individual when it comes to walking, working out and lifestyle habits. This integration will facilitate the notion of smart suggestions from the device to its user and in turn, make wearables all the more valuable in tomorrow’s world.
● Connected eyewear will see a renaissance: Google Glasses underperformed in 2015 and as a result, were phased out and swept under the carpet. But, with the success of Kickstarter campaigns from the likes of Oakley and Intel’s athlete-focused Radar Pace and in Vue’s connected glasses suggests that this branch of wearables is on the rise again. As designs become more ergonomic, intuitive and stylish, we expect to see a mass adoption
of connected eyewear that can help you listen to music, monitor your wellbeing and capture your point of view while on the move.
● The introduction of hearables: What’s that you say? Well, a variety of smartphone providers, headphone manufacturers, hearing aid companies, and startups are looking at creating and launching hearables in the not so distant future. There is currently a host of hearing aids with built-in wearable technology, as well as sports specific wearables from the likes of Samsung on the market – and in 2018 and beyond, we feel that these devices will become huge. These devices will not only enhance the listening experience but have the capabilities to capture biometric data, aid language translation and more while remaining almost invisible.
“Beyond what wearables provide us regarding value directly, they now make humans a ‘thing’ in the Internet of Things.” – Wave of Wearables Videocast
Wearable tech is going from strength to strength, and before too long, these devices will become an extension of ourselves, improving, enhancing and providing a whole new dimension of metrics to the human experience. By 2021, we expect wearables will be everywhere, bridging the gap between human and machine even more – we are living exciting times, and if embraced, with wearables, we have everything to gain.
For more on where tech is going to take us in the future, read about The Future of AI.