PARTNER GUEST POST: Intersog is a Chicago-based provider of mobile software development services.

There has been a lot of buzz surrounding the smart wearables market and there has been a lot of chatter long before the emergence of the Apple Watch. Throughout 2015, the wearables market has maintained an upward trajectory and it’s expected to keep growing.

Growth in this segment can probably be attributed to the fitness industry. Brands like Xiaomi and Fitbit have definitely catapulted the popularity of wearables, but also increased the technological awareness of these devices.

According to a recent forecast from the International Data Corporation (IDC) Worldwide Quarterly Wearable Device Tracker, 72.1 million wearables are expected to be shipped out this year (a rise of 173.3% from the previous year’s total of 26.4 million units). For the next five years, it also expected that smart wrist wear will continue to dominate the market. As a result you can expect fitness trackers to evolve and further increase their presence.

The demand for wearables that run third party apps and ones that don’t is currently insatiable. But, it is expected that devices that run third party apps will grab majority of the market share in 2016. So what are the interesting markets that you can enter with wearables? We know that these devices are gaining popularity in health and fitness, but what else? Where can these devices become a game changer?

According to CCS Insight, the market research indicates that wearables will take a strange turn producing a line of new products that they call “long tail” of wearables. This segment is comprised of smart devices like clothing and smart shoes, jewelry, sex toys, and adhesive sensors/patches. Most of these products are expected to come from startup businesses and not all of these crowd-funded gadgets will succeed. So it will be interesting to see how these devices will impact fashion, adult entertainment, and digital health.

Wearables are good for Business

Although it may not be clearly visible, smart watches like the Apple Watch have already had an impact in the business world. Further, smart jewelry like Ringly are also playing their part in the office and in the conference room. By delivering customized messages that can be viewed at a glance, this tech phenomenon is expected to continue to evolve and increase productivity (and not cause disruptions at meetings).

According to research conducted by Chris Brauer from Goldsmiths, University of London, employees are quite keen to incorporate wearables at the office to boost productivity. As a result, this segment will grow significantly in the years to come. Beyond basic efficiency, the key benefits of smart wearables at the workplace are the potential to increase in employee support, increase employee wellbeing, and streamline customer interaction. Employee wellbeing is focused on employee health which can be supported by apps like OfficeHealth.

Industrial Support & Compliance

An exciting market that’s opening up for wearables will focus on factories and safety. Devices like the Google Glass have already been used to ensure compliance, PFO Safety Bracelet to enhance personal security, and Fatigue Science Readiband to keep track of employee fatigue (and avoid accidents) are all breaking new ground. Further, there are also products like Zypad WL1500 which is like a little computer worn on your wrist that instantly connects you to world of computability while staying mobile.

Industrial enterprises also have other devices that enhance the experience of working in an industrial setting. Fujitsu Glove-Style is an interesting gadget which is like a glove that is equipped with a Near Field Communication (NFC) tag reader and is essentially a gesture-recognition device. The product is best suited for functions associated with industrial usage and maintenance. It’s a gesture control device that will help employees operate their smartphones without ever reaching for them.

Some of the other wearables targeting the industrial market are as follows:

Daqri Smart Helmet

eLocator Checkpoint

Smart Cap

Spectrum Xli Field Survey Pack

Tobii Eye Glasses 2

Vuzix M2000ar

Wearable Healthcare 2.0

It’s no secret that healthcare related wearable devices are having huge impact on the industry. But this is just the beginning as far as wearables are concerned. The digital healthcare niche is going to continue to explode with health related wearables crowding the market. Although there are a lot of players involved, it is still an interesting area to get involved in as the potential is endless.

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To get an idea where digital healthcare is heading, take a look closer look at what’s already become a reality. Wearables devices like Cyberdyne Hal which is a wearable (robot) suit designed to help individuals who are unable to walk or stand (injuries to the lower body) is nothing short of revolutionary. Further, there is Ekso Bionics which is a wearable exoskeleton bionic suit designed to do more or less the same thing (think of a future where everyone can walk regardless of their disability).

These days we also have microchips for birth control, Wearable Artificial Kidney (just what it sounds like), a smart bra to detect cancer (early cancer detection), and Basis Peak to keep track of sleep. Further, what’s mind blowing when it comes to a health related invention is

something that looks like sunblock, which is a wireless skin like device. Developed at Northwestern University in Evanston, IL, the device was designed to monitor cardiovascular and dermatological health, 24/7.

The markets that wearables can penetrate seem to be only constrained by our imagination. There are already smart mini fridges and VR headsets for augmented reality and gaming, so it’s an exciting time to see how this technology evolves. With the North American and Israeli markets driving the growth of this segment, you can expect to hear more about smart clothing, modular devices, and more smart eyewear to meet the demand from the enterprise market.

And how have wearables enhanced your personal and work life? Please share your experience in the Comment section below.


image sources: Shutterstock

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