Wearable technology has proven to be one of the top trends in 2013 and an innovation that doesn’t appear to be loosing steam anytime soon. So what are wearables?
Wearable technology is the concept of gadgets, worn on the body, that do everything from monitor personal body performance and movement (heart rate monitors and pedometers) to products just for fashion (think an LED tie that is voice-activated showing the pitch and volume of the voice by displaying blinking lights). As wearables evolve and appeal to the mainstream market, they are being accepted by more than just geeks and gadget freaks.
In 2012, the focus on collecting personal data through wearables that sync with mobile apps (Jawbone’s Up and Nike’s Fuelband have been competing to win over this space) began to gain a larger following as the application for this data was explained. This part of the market and opportunity focuses heavily on health and fitness, and making ourselves perform better by collecting our data and identifying our personal patterns.
An example is the sleep tracking app (and function on the Up band) that help a person understand if they are sleeping well, or waking up and being disturbed through the night. Understanding this pattern can lead to lifestyle adjustments, and ultimately, better sleep, increased energy, and overall improved health.
As Google Glass made a splash in early 2013, the wearable market gained more traction and interest and the understanding of its applications expanded. Google Glass uses the concept of augmented reality to create a virtual layer to a real-life experience by simply wearing the glasses and activating the functions. This is the true convergence of technology penetrating our daily lives. Although this product is slated to hit the mainstream market in late 2013, developers are already taking Google’s lead and creating competing products and assuming that the opportunities in wearable technology will continue to expand.
As of now, the market is still undefined and major players could emerge as more innovative products are unveiled. It may take a bit for individuals to adopt wearables that are “distracting” or “look funny,” but that will depend on the value it brings to the experience.