Wearable Computers - Ready for Action!

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Recent developments suggest that wearable computing may finally be gaining traction. Intel evangelist Manny Vara believes that comfortable and convenient wearable computers may be just two to five years away.

originally posted to the Trends & Foresight blog

Recent developments suggest that wearable computing may finally be gaining traction. Intel evangelist Manny Vara believes that comfortable and convenient wearable computers may be just two to five years away.

Entertainment, sports, and fitness uses will drive the consumer market.

photo-cyclingUP by jawbone

From the Pebble Watch to the Jawbone UP, interest in wearables have so far been largely driven by consumer interest in sports and fitness.  Smart shoes, watches, wristbands, and other devices with integrated sensors and communication devices provide users with unprecedented levels of transparency into their personal lives. Driven by the desire to enhance their performance, consumers will continue to be drawn to different types of wearables.

There will be numerous Healthcare applications for wearables.

GlucoTrackMetria™ Wearable Sensor Technology

From the GlucoTrack non-invasive glucose monitor for diabetes patients to Avery Dennison's Metria sensor that monitors heart rate and respiration, there will be many new devices that will appeal to healthcare professionals and consumers for home use. See our report on Digital Health Monitoring for more information on emerging health technologies.

And let's not forget heads up displays

Google Project GlassInnovega iOptik

From Google's Project Glass which has spurred tremendous popular interest in the field to Innovega's iOptik multifocal contact lenses, heads-up augmented reality display systems will be created for a variety of markets (consumer, military, industrial, etc).

Combining video recording devices and displays, these devices will be equipped to take advantage of facial and object recognition and give consumers many new capabilities and less obtrusive ways to gather and process information.

 

With so many new types of wearable devices, businesses will have to understand and anticipate lots of implications for their industries. Here are just a couple of examples: 

 

1. Consumers will become even MORE empowered. 

The "always-on" smartphone has totally changed the way many consumers shop, from gathering information in-aisles about products to the practice of showrooming (examining merch in-store but buying later online). And while consumers have access to some augmented reality apps through their smartphones, wearable devices will provide this information seamlessly, and without others being aware this is taking place.

With wearable heads-up displays, people will have a new way to see their surroundings, and gain new forms of decision support - without even asking for it. We are moving from a world where information and connections are hidden... to a world where consumers gain real-time, contextual awareness of their surroundings. Check out ConAgra's vision of grocery shopping in such a world in this video.

ConAgra shows off a grocery shopping concept
ConAgra shows off a grocery shopping concept
 
 

2. Consumers will demand something in return for their “big data”

Wearable computers will make people creators of “big data” as systems continually log information about the wearer and the environment.

There will be numerous opportunities to design software and data ecosystems to manage and mine the volumes of data that will be generated by always-on, sensor and camera-equipped wearable computing devices. All of this life-logging data will also be very useful to marketers seeking to target and personalize offerings for individual consumers.

Currently, most consumers have low awareness of how their data is being used. But as awareness rises (as it seems certain to), millions of consumers who now share their data with no strings attached will start to demand in-kind rewards—or else reduce their willingness to share. Companies should start actively positioning themselves now for a world in which consumers expect rewards for sharing personal data.

Graphic summary of Davos workshop on personal data
Graphic summary of Davos workshop on personal data
 
 

For more information about this trend and its business implications, or other emerging technology trends, feel free to contact Mike.Vidikan@innovaro.com
 
 
originally posted to the Trends & Foresight blog

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