Forrester analyst JP Gownder says wearables are just taking off and have a bright future ahead of them.
“Sure, wearables are facing a hype bubble. So did the Internet; that didn’t make it any less significant in the long run,” Gownder opined in a recent blog post. “I’m impressed with the wide array of companies, entrepreneurs and agencies innovating in this space, which is really more of a long tail of different computing market segments.”
According to the analyst, 2014 will see commercial availability of new wearable devices, a richer set of business models, the entry of bigger players (like Apple), and the maturation of business models. Specifically, Gownder emphasized that enterprise wearables have a particularly rich future ahead of them, often in customer-facing situations.
As we’ve previously discussed on Bits & Pieces, wearables are expected to make a huge splash at CES 2014 this January in Las Vegas. Indeed, Angela McIntyre, research director at Gartner, confirmed that digital health and fitness will be one of the hottest segments at CES 2014 – with 40 percent of exhibitor floor space expanded for the lucrative segment.
To be sure, despite some of the inevitable hype surrounding wearables, the segments for fitness and personal health devices have been among the first to gain traction.
“Wearable electronics has its strongest consumer base among fitness enthusiasts and wider consumer interest in these devices is leading to broader adoption. The worldwide revenue from wearable electronic devices, apps and services for fitness and personal health is anticipated to be $1.6 billion this year, increasing to $5 billion by 2016,” McIntyre explained.
“[In addition], wearables support the ‘quantified self’ trend of people tracking their vital signs, activities, and capturing images of what they experience during the day. The fun of wearing and using gadgets to track fitness and health is appealing, and so is using their apps and services. Online communities provide camaraderie with those having similar goals, [with] wearable electronics providing new motivation to consumers for improving fitness and health.”
It should also be noted that analysts at ABI Research see wearable wireless device revenues exceeding approximately $6 billion in 2018. Of the four segments tracked, sports, fitness and wellness are the largest, never dropping below 50% share of all device shipments over the forecast period.
Interested in learning more about wearable tech? You can check out Atmel’s white paper on the subject here.