Story image

How wearable technology is expanding beyond fitness

12 Jan 17

Many products from maturing, growing, and niche wearable segments made their debut at the annual Consumer Electronics Show in Las Vegas last week.

With the primary use case of wearable technology expanding beyond fitness, an eclectic variety of users are being targeted with the most recent wave of wearable launches, including fashion followers, parents, health patients, gamers, and more.

Vendors are making strides in wearables outside of fitness trackers and smart watches, choosing to invest in wearable jewelry, smart clothing, med tech, and consumer health devices.

Wrist-worn wearables

New Balance and Casio released smart watches powered by Android Wear 2.0, while Suunto and Garmin released generational iterations of their products.

The Fossil Group had the largest presence among wearables, with more than 300 different offerings across its brands: Fossil, Chaps, Diesel, Michael Kors, Misfit, kate spade new york, and Skagen.

Among the multitude of fitness bands and smart watches, unique additions to the wrist-worn wearable segment included Proof, a blood alcohol content tracker, and Actofit, a wearable that detects different workouts and muscles used.

Smart watch manufacturers seem to be trending away from developing innovative features and instead sticking close to consumer-approved features that enhance product functionality (e.g. the Casio WSD-F20 watch adding GPS capabilities that were lacking in previous generations).

Smart clothing and accessories

Under Armour unveiled its next generation of shoe that tracks and analyzes running metrics and recommends workout intensity based on body readiness, as well as its TB12 smart sleepwear in partnership with quarterback Tom Brady.

Polar, originally a smart watch manufacturer, unveiled its Team Pro Sport shirt for elite athletes, which captures heart rate and motion tracking data – cementing the trend of wearable manufacturers expanding their product portfolios.

Xenoma, a new market entrant, has created an e-skin shirt containing 14 strain sensors that can track motion, breathing, pressure, and body temperature, with a primary use case in VR.

Smart clothing and jewelry is one of the wearable segments that will see the most growth, due initially to fitness/wellness and fashion offerings from established sportswear and designer companies with a large marketing spend and then spurred by multipurpose technological convenience in the form of near-field communication payments, GPS tracking, notifications, and more.

Healthcare

Willow's hands-free breast pump allows mothers to be both discreet in breast-milk collection and able to multitask, and Bloomlife's third trimester pregnancy contraction and fluctuation tracking device allows pregnant women to identify when there are irregularities that signify a baby's arrival.

Siren Care unveiled smart socks containing sensors that analyze changes in body temperature to keep diabetic patients aware of any health issues that may require medical assistance.

Neofect Rehabilitation Solutions debuted the Rapael smart glove, which helps stroke patients rehabilitate more successfully through games and data analytics.

In the past few years, there has been a surge of wearables focused on soon-to-be and new parents – indicating another target segment for wearable penetration in the near future.

With the influx of wearable med tech, consumers may be more willing to invest in certain products given two crucial things: first, that there is credence behind product functionality (ideally through a government agency such as the FDA), and second, that there is a complementary decline in healthcare costs (e.g. fewer necessary doctor or physical therapist visits).

Article by Rishi Kaul, Ovum analyst

Survey reveals CX disconnect is risky business
Too much conversation and too little action could lead companies to neglect, lose, and repel their very lifeblood, according to Dimension Data.
Eaton launches portal and revamped partner programme
The portal has many features including a training academy, monthly promotions, rewards and a 24-hour turnaround on deal registrations.
8x8 appoints A/NZ channel senior manager
Joins 8x8 after time at Oracle, Avaya and Optus to managing 8x8’s growing team of partners across the region.
Check Point launches hyperscale network security solution
With Check Point Maestro, organisations can scale up their existing Check Point security gateways on demand.
Trend Micro’s telecom security solution certified as VMware-ready
Certification by VMware allows communications service providers who prefer or have already adopted VMware vCloud NFV to add network security services from Trend Micro.
Logitech wins awards for the art of good design
What makes a good design? Logitech may know a thing or two about that.
Fujitsu takes conservation prize for immersion cooling system
The prize was awarded for the Fujitsu Server PRIMERGY Immersion Cooling System that can reduce power consumption by up to 40%.
Why 37% of enterprises believe in artificial intelligence
The number of enterprises implementing artificial intelligence grew 270% in the past four years and tripled in the past year, according to Gartner.