A few years ago, the emergence of fitness trackers that soon became known as ‘wearables’ shook the technology world. What used to seem like gadgets from distant future has become widely available in the form of smartwatches, wristbands and smart glasses, as marketed by Nike, Jawbone and Google.
As soon as wearable technology products hit the market, various estimates appeared, suggesting its rapid growth. Visiongain thus predicted that the wearable technology market would attain a $5.26 billion in 2014, while Statista calculations gave an analysis of market growth by year, revealing that it would reach $12,642 million by 2018.
Although the adoption rates of wearable gadgets are quite high, especially after so many manufacturers entered the market, there are certainly many concerns about their future development. An interesting article on The Economist suggested several important issues with the future of wearables.
People don’t seem to commit to wearables
When it comes to fitness trackers, which are definitely some of the most popular gadgets nowadays, there seems to be a limited target audience for this type of product. The devices such as Fuelband and Fitbit are essentially aimed at fitness fanatics, which do not seem to constitute a large portion of the U.S. citizenship, for example. As shown in a research by Endeavour Partners, many users (around 30%) discard their devices after several months. This is certainly a major problem for their providers as without constant usage and commitment, they’re not very likely to become well integrated into people’s daily lives.
As is usually the case with emerging technology, no stable predictions could be made about its future course of development. This is a major concern for device manufacturers, who are increasingly aware of the fact that majority of such applications can be developed for smartphones instead, which are likely to remain much more popular than single-purpose apps. Besides, even though it may seem the world is shifting towards hyper-connected mobile devices, it is questionable whether there’s enough space for all of them in people’s everyday lives.
Wearables in business
As opposed to fitness trackers, devices such as Google Glass and Smartwatches seem to have a brighter future because they can be used for a variety purposes, including professional activities. Therefore, many experts predict that wearables are to gain ground in workspace, just like smartphones and tables did before them. This, however, raises new issues related to cyber security and variety of threats businesses are trying to cope with in terms of corporate data protection. With yet another set of devices in the office, it might get even more difficult to track the data flow inside and outside the company, which might slow down the adoption of these devices in business settings.
Whatever the future has for them, it is obvious that wearables have made a true little revolution in the way we perceive and use data availability. Information revolution as triggered by the expansion of the web and further promoted by mobile devices, indeed has transformed the way we think about technology. Contrary to many predictions about the wearables market growth, their adoption in the following years will depend on the manufacturers’ vision and innovation potential.