When we think of wearable technology, what comes first to our mind? Google, isn’t t. But recently I have noticed a surge in interest for wearable technology in India. Of course such forays in India are done by heavyweights like Infosys and TCS. But interestingly, it has to be noted that not only are the big guns involved in this emerging new tech space but there seems to be a surge in how Indian startups in Bangalore, Hyderabad, Chennai and Kochi are getting a piece of the pie.
If we ask most people who are aware of wearables, they would instantly talk about the Google glass or watches ( like the Apple Watch) that gives you health indicators. But it is to be noted that these startups seriously think out of the box from the usual glasses or watches. Why be the follower when you can create something new and lead the way, right? That’s what I noticed about the way they approach wearable technology.
Recently I came across an article in CNBC that highlighted about a start-up in Hyderabad that created the fitness band, Goqii. Now this is not just a regular wearable tech to only monitor the amount of calories that you burn, distance covered while walking or cycling, sleep patterns of the wearer, but you can connect to a live trainer to provide the human touch in workouts which can be delivered via phone or video calls.
This start-up has recently tied up with Indian online retailer Snapdeal.com to sell six-monthly and yearly packages. A Hyderabad-based start-up has come forward with a smart shoe called Le Chal that connects to the smart phone via blue tooth. Tell the shoe where to go and it will vibrate to indicate where to turn or how many calories a particular route will burn. Should you prefer your own shoe, a smart insole is also available to do the task for you. Le Chal was launched in March, with initial proceeds used to subsidise the product for the visually-impaired.
This is a new trend in India which I believe is the reason why a Kochi based start-up has come up with a unique wearable tech, you will never guess it, a ring! Yes, that’s right, a ring that can be worn on the thumb, you can use it to send an emergency alert, control the music playlist, pick up a call or silence the phone or operate home appliances. See where the wearable technology world is going places? No wonder I’m not surprised that Intel is working with a bunch of Indian start-ups to develop a variety of form factors in the wearables and Internet of Things devices segments.
India as an Emerging Market for Wearable Technology
So what’s the future of the Indian market in wearable technology? Well I would say it is at a nascent stage, currently selling a handful of products like smart watches and fitness bands launched by handset makers such as Samsung, Sony and Alcatel One Touch. But the future is promising, as indicated by a recent survey by Accenture, on the appetite for wearable gadgets, Indians ranked the highest in the world in terms of readiness to buy, with the breakdown showing 80 percent keen on fitness monitors, while 76 percent and 74 percent were keen on smart watches and eyeglasses, respectively. This maybe an indicator on why Intel chose to build its third largest R&D facility in Bangalore whereby they could work with Indian partners to help Intel push forward the technology at the global level.
India holds a lot of promise as I’m certain that it would add value to global wearable market in a significant way. Still not convinced that wearable tech is not powerful? Think about it this way, 15 years ago the super computer was less powerful than today’s smart phone. In 5-10 years from now, wearable technology will be more powerful, intuitive and unobtrusive than the smart phone.
That’s the power that the future has in store for us. So let’s get ready for the future and see great wonders that this technology would bring our way.