Out of Pocket: Wearable Wireless Could Challenge Smartphone Form Factor

Google Glass has barely scratched the surface of the huge market for wearable technology, according to researchers who have analyzed the market from several perspectives. Transparency Market Research says the market for wearable tech was worth $750 million in 2012, and will hit $5.8 billion by 2018. IMS Research has an even more aggressive projection, predicting that “by 2016, wearable technology will represent a minimum revenue opportunity of $6 billion.”

Wearable wireless is expected to both complement and cannibalize the $40 billion smartphone market. “Really where we’re heading is a technology paradigm shift,” said Jennifer Darmour, design director at Seattle’s Artefact Group. “Right now we’re in a world where we’re essentially interacting with our phone. What I think wearable technology is offering us is to basically turn that around. The technology is working for us. It becomes ambient and integrated. If you are wearing something, it has the potential to be contextual.”

Makers of wearable wireless gear know that their products are only as useful as the apps they run. Google is encouraging Android developers to create apps for Google Glass, and Epson just completed an app developers’ contest to solicit new content for its Moverio smart glasses.

Consumer market emerges
To date, most commercial wearable technology has been deployed by military and medical customers. But Artefact’s Darmour believes the consumer market is almost ready to take off. “We’re right at the cusp,” she said. “If you compare wearables today to the evolution of the smartphone, we started out with the brick phone, which was this huge phone. It wasn’t very easy to carry around with you; you carried it in a huge suitcase basically. And we’re a little bit past that, but that’s where we started with wearables – trying to get the technology to work.”
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Reposted with permission from RCR Wireless. For more videos, visit RCR TV.

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