Based on Senior Developer Matthew Morey’s talk on Wearable Devices at TechStreet
Follow him on Twitter @xzolian
It seems like everyone is talking about wearable technology. Startups and other companies are competing for a prime spot in this market with many aiming for a spot on your wrist. Wearable technology may seem like a new thing, but it has actually been around for a while if you consider the smartphone a de facto wearable device. People check their phones constantly and usually have their mobile devices with them all of the time. Barring the smartphone, this market is ripe for new technology with many wearable devices cropping up. With the popularity of devices like the Nike Fuelband and the Pebble smartwatch, people have shown that they are comfortable with wearable tech.
Current Wearable Technology
Many companies such as Nike, Jawbone, Fitbit, Garmin, Nissan, and Google currently compete in the wearable technology space. The devices they are creating are serving various markets such as:
Health and Fitness
A popular application for wearable devices is tracking fitness and health. For example, the sleek and stylish Nike Fuelband allows you to track the amount of Nike fuel points you earn during the day. Fuel points are Nike’s homegrown points metric that takes into account how much you move. If you want to spend less money on an activity tracker, there are other devices that help you track your health and fitness goals such as the Fitbit or the Jawbone which helps you understand how you sleep, move, and eat. Devices such as the iPhone 5S even have a built in M7 motion co-processor to measure motion data and improve its interactions with health and fitness apps.
For those interested in improving their baseball, golf, or tennis game, Zepp allows you to capture and analyze your swing. Zepp uses 3D motion technology in sports to help people improve their game. Even car companies like Nissan are getting into the wearable technology space. Nissan created the Nissan Nismo Watch as its first entry into the wearable tech world. However, the watch isn’t for regular consumers as it is being developed specifically for the Nismo motorsports line and meant for racers. The watch can monitor a vehicle’s performance and even the driver’s heart rate.
When mentioning wearable technology, you can’t forget about Google. Google made headlines when it came out with the Google Glass device. Mock it all you want, but it has the potential to change how we go through our daily lives. Recently, Google unveiled its Glass Development Kit so that developers can create new applications for Google Glass.
Tech giant, Apple, isn’t ignoring wearable technology either. At the D11 conference, Tim Cook told the crowd that he thinks smart watches are interesting. That doesn’t sound like much, but the company has already filed various patents for things associated with wearable technology. The company is currently rumored to be developing a smartwatch.
Opportunities in the Wearable Tech Market
So why should a company get into the wearable technology market now? Here are three reasons why:
1) Blank Slate: It is an exciting time to get into the wearable technology market. By getting involved now, you can be a part of something new and have a blank slate to work with. Technology enables people to do new things and wearable technology isn’t an exception. Laptops and tablets already help people work on ideas and projects while on the go. Think of what wearable technology could bring. As shown earlier, wearable technology can make tasks more convenient and help us track data better.
2) Improve Lives: Wearable technology has the potential to improve lives. Technology such as Withings, Masimo, and Scanadu can track things like your blood pressure and pulse. These can prove to be very valuable in helping people understand their bodies and can even help save lives.
3) Money: The Pebble smartwatch started as a crowdfunding project and was able to raise $10,266,846 on Kickstarter. This makes wearable technology the #1 crowdfunding product on Kickstarter and also shows that consumers want these devices. The Pebble shows that people are spending money even before a product exists. Furthermore, the wearable technology market is valued at $4.6 billion for 2013 and is estimated to reach $10 billion by 2016.
Overall, the wearable technology market is an exciting new market to get into, but you need to remember that we all need to be responsible citizens as well. Customers are agreeing to wear your technology around and share personal data with you. It is a company’s responsibility to develop great technology and make wearable devices that people will want to use.