Wearable Tech World Feature Article
January 22, 2013

Wearable Technology, Related Smart Products Predicted to Increase in Popularity

Wearable technology is no longer a fantasy of the future. New products already are gaining in popularity among diverse sectors.

The United States and other parts of North America are regions where these products have the most promising future. A new Transparency Market Research study shows that North America is projected to be the leader of the worldwide market with 43 percent of global wearable technology revenue in 2018. Europe will be in second place. Europe and the Asia-Pacific region will represent some 49 percent of market revenue by 2018 combined.

The current market has some clear trends already. Wearable technology for healthcare and medical purposes were dominant in 2012. Healthcare and the medical sector represented some 35.1 percent of the wearable technology market in 2012. The study suggested the aging population and an increase in diabetes were the reasons for its popularity. In second place last year, were fitness and wellness wearable technology.

But by 2018, the “infotainment” sector will replace fitness and wellness in market share ranking.  Smart watches and smart glasses will be especially popular. Military uses are another category that may grow in popularity.

As of now, wearable fitness and wellness items include: smart clothing, activity monitors, and sleep sensors. Infotainment includes smart watches, smart glasses and heads-up displays. Continuous glucose monitors (CGM), drug delivery, and wearable patches are among the healthcare and medical products. Hand-worn terminals and heads-up displays are among the products in industrial and military sectors.

Compactness, portability, access to real-time data, ease of use, multiple functions, and diverse applications are among the benefits found with wearable technology, a Research and Markets study said.

To reach its full potential, there are some factors that the market has to overcome – such as relatively high prices and a lack of consumer awareness, the study added.

In addition, Intel CTO Justin Rattner recently predicted in an interview with InformationWeek that “sensing is going to be a big deal ... It's what's going to take us from this generation, largely inspired by the iPhone, to the next generation of devices that finally transcend this, that really embody this notion of pervasive access to information."

Wearable technology will be the sector that will “help drive the proliferation of devices equipped for pervasive sensing,” with that coming “on strong in the next couple of years,” Rattner added.

The kind of sensors he is talking about include those that monitor light, heat, pressure and motion, as well as those that monitor a personal calendar, social network history and Web browsing, the report said.

In addition, the new kind of devices will eventually lead to improved diagnosis of some illnesses and personalized patient treatment, Rattner said. Lots more information will be provided on DNA, as well.

Edited by Brooke Neuman

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