Gartner Predicts Growth of Wearable Tech

Posted: February 11, 2015

Many of my readings for CS855 Futuring and Innovation (and also for my dissertation) have touched on the science of Affective Computing, Ubiquitous Computing, flight simulating/training, wearable technology, and self-quantification.

Screen Shot 2015-02-11 at 11.11.39 PMLate last year Gartner revealed a number of predictions regarding consumer adoption of wearable technologies in 2015 through 2018 and beyond. The company predicts a dramatic increase in sales of wearable devices, particularly fitness and biometric wearables (see the excerpt below), including smart clothing. Further prediction includes the sales of these devices through atypical channels such as wellness/health providers, gyms, insurance providers, weight loss companies, and even employers, including subsidized or discounted pricing.

Other market predictions:

2016: 40 percent of smartphones shipped to consumer will include biometric sensors

2017: 1/3 of consumers in emerging markets will not have ever owned a Windows device

2018: Virtual worlds will become mainstream rather than fringed, with over 25 million HMDs having been shipped

There are a number of forces that have synergistically combined to propel wearable technology. The social media phenomena and online sharing cultural has helped drive sharing self-quantification data (such as health/fitness and activity tracking), hence the popularity of devices such as the Fitbit.

The success of and popularity of smartphones as tables from Apple’s iOS platform and Google’s Android platform has knocked Microsoft Windows of its pedestal as the dominant technology platform. This is particularly true in geographical regions where PC penetration is lower, and many consumer have not owned (and likely never will) own a PC thanks to the lost cost of entry level smartphones now that they are available at less than $50.

 Devices like the Oculus Rift and Google Glass have popularized and made wearable VR/AR devices accessible, as well as breaking down some of the cultural barriers towards their acceptance.

Wireless network are getting faster, and cloud-computing platforms are getting cheaper. The era of Affective Living, where our own cloud based personal assistant/advisor/intelligent tutoring system travels with us in our wearable devices and embedded devices in our environment (such as our house, workplace, automobiles, gym, and even personal aircraft) is closer than ever.

References

Gartner, Inc. (October, 2014). Forecast: Wearable Electronic Devices for Fitness, Worldwide, 2014.

Gartner, Inc. (December, 2014). Predicts 2015: New Business Opportunities and Complexity on the Rise in Consumer Devices Market.


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