Wearable Tech World Feature Article
September 09, 2014

Will the iWatch's Release Kick Off a Firestorm of Wearable Tech?

Wearable tech is still a young market in general. While there have been some impressive advances, and some exciting new offerings, the spacing is still fairly broad, and many of the releases look vaguely familiar, refinements of material that's currently available. But a new study from Juniper Research suggests that this market is primed to explode, with global retail revenue set to hit a whopping $53.2 billion just by 2019. What's more, the catalyst for this explosion may well ultimately be traced back to just one item: the iWatch.

A Juniper Research study titled “Smart Wearable Devices: Fitness, Glasses, Watches, Multimedia, Clothing, Jewelry, Healthcare & Enterprise 2014 – 2019,” makes several critical points, one of the biggest is that while the recent gains in overall devices are due to certain firms making an entrance into the field, there are still some critical problems of perception to overcome, mostly on the part of the vendors. Vendors should, according to the report, drop the attitude of “technology first” that's often being seen in the field and instead put a particular focus on benefit to the consumer. Such an approach, the study notes, will likely drive product adoption.

Indeed, this is one of the biggest problems facing wearable tech, as many potential consumers just plain aren't sure how wearable tech can be of value in everyday life. While fitness trackers and the like make the case just fine — you wear this thing, it tracks your running and your heart rate and then relays the results to a smartphone — the rest of the sector isn't quite keeping up in terms of presenting that value to the user. Many users reportedly regard most wearable devices as being similar to that of a smartphone, and as such, wonder why a second device with mostly redundant function would even be necessary? However, this may not be the case much longer.

The Juniper Research study suggests that smartwatches will actually be the most purchased wearable device by 2017, passing fitness wearables, though wearables will still largely remain as companion devices, tied to specific operating systems as a means to help differentiate among the growing crowd of devices in the field. We have video on this and a variety of other topics available at this link.

This may seem like common sense on the surface — Apple's iWatch will likely drive a host of imitators much as the release of the iPhone started the smartphone phenomenon, and companies need to do a better job of spelling out to potential buyers just what the value of the wearable tech in question is, and so on — but it's still something important to consider. After all, the better a job that companies can do telling people why there's more value to be had in having a certain item of wearable tech than there is in, say, hanging on to $150 or more, the better the likelihood that sales will be made. In many ways, for wearable tech it really is about the customer experience, and the better a job that the vendors can do making the experience worthwhile for users, the better the chance said users will come back.

It remains to be seen just how much of this the wearable tech vendors take to heart, but putting this advice to work is likely to generate positive results in a market that's got plenty of room to grow.

Edited by Rory J. Thompson

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