Wearables

Brandon Grosvenor wrote this on Jun 22, 2017 | 0 comments

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Devices Which Would Not Have Been Possible A Decade Ago Are Becoming The Next Big, Profitable Things After Smartphones.

Let’s start with the basics… What is a “wearable? “Wearable” simply means a device that you wear somewhere on your body instead of putting in your back pocket or bag, or keeping on your desk. Fundamentally, wearables consist of incredibly small, inexpensive computers and low- power sensors that can work along with your smart phone.

Is a wearable something that “normal people” actually wear? More are starting to. While a 2016 survey of Canadians found that only 10% of respondents said they own a wearable, that number had doubled over the previous year. This suggests that the technology is picking up market momentum.1

Gartner, Inc., an information technology research and advisory company, forecasts that 322.69 million wearable electronic devices will be sold globally in 2017, an increase of 17.5 percent from units sold in 2016.2

At the moment, fitness monitors and smartwatches are winning the wearables popularity contest.

Fitness Wearables

Fitness wearables include wristbands, sports watches, smart garments, and other fitness monitors. Made by companies like Fitbit, Jawbone and Garmin, these products are seeing large- scale adoption in the sports community as well as in corporate wellness programs.

According to Angela McIntyre, research director at Gartner, Inc.: “Of all the fitness wearables, sports watches will be the one product category to maintain its average retail price over the next several years. Race runners, cyclists and divers will choose sports watches over smartwatches because the user interface, capabilities and durability are tailored to the needs of an athlete in their sport. Continued advances in sensors and analytics for sports watches will bring new capabilities that bolster average retail prices.”3

Smartwatches

Smartwatches are considered the second most popular type of wearable device. While the definition of a smartwatch keeps changing, it’s typically thought of as a device that wirelessly connects to a smartphone to show you notifications, and that has the potential to run third-party apps.

Smartwatches still haven’t found a mainstream audience, but many companies are betting this will change. Apple is working on their own Apple Watch, and other companies are making watches with Google’s Android Wear platform.

Gartner, Inc.’s research director McIntyre predicts that “from 2015 through 2017, smartwatch adoption will have 48 percent growth largely due to Apple popularizing wearables as a lifestyle trend. Smartwatches have the greatest revenue potential among all wearables through 2019, reaching $17.5 billion.”4

Up and Coming

Head-mounted displays (HMDs) are another emerging market, led by a cast of global players like BAE Systems, Sony and Oculus VR. Put on this virtual reality device to step inside your favourite video game. Soon you’ll able to immerse yourself in movies and sporting events as well. These devices also have an incredible range of non-entertainment applications, in the military, for example, and in medical and engineering industries. They help with tasks such as equipment repair, inspections and maintenance.

Other emerging wearables cross a wide spectrum of markets, from smart glasses that enhance the retail experience for customers, to baseball caps used to track fatigue of workers at mining sites.5

Canada Becoming a Global Leader

Canada’s wearable tech companies are carving out a strong niche for themselves on the global stage, with everything from clothing to pet-wearables. “Canada is one of the countries where there’s a remarkable diversity in what’s being developed,” says Kate Hartman, an artist and technologist who teaches at OCAD University in Toronto and is the author of the book Make: Wearable Electronics.

According to Tom Emrich, a leading international voice in wearable technology, the key Canadian wearable tech scenes are in Montreal and the Toronto-Kitchener/Waterloo belt, but there are pockets elsewhere, including in Calgary and Vancouver.6

Talk To Us

Over the next few years, marketers across industries as diverse as consumer packaged goods, engineering, medical and finance will be looking more closely at wearables as an innovative way to promote their brands. At Brand Grow Media, we can help you determine the value of incorporating wearable tech into your marketing plan in order to collect meaningful data, connect with your customers, and add a new level of engagement.

Sources:

1 http://catalyst.ca/2016-canadian-smartphone-behaviour/
2,3,4 http://www.gartner.com/newsroom/id/3198018
5 https://www.tractica.com/research/wearable-devices-for-enterprise-and-industrial-markets/
6 http://www.cbc.ca/news/technology/wearable-technology-canada-emerging-as-a-global-leader-1.3091978

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