Three Trends You’ve Never Heard About That are Shaping the Future of Wearables

Those of you paying attention, know that health care has just begun to grapple with the implications of the mobile revolution. Yet, another mega technology trend is already poised to radically transform health and wellness: the emergence of wearable technologies, which represents a shift in computing innovation from our hands to our bodies.

In some respects, the current state of the wearables marketplace can be compared to the dawn of the personal computing era.  Old-style PCs only did a few things well and required early-adopters to overlook clunky – and frankly ugly – user interfaces. Meanwhile, the marketplace was filled with dozens of companies engaged in rapid experimentation – and failure.

About a decade after the first PCs appeared, things were very different, as we all know. Computers became much easier to use and a few large players dominated the market.

Today, just like during the early days of the PC, we’re seeing rapid experimentation in the wearables space from both established players like Samsung and upstarts like Pebble. But again, just like the early PC market, many wearable devices, such as wristwatches and Fitbits, are only built to do a few things well, are not very fashionable, and have limited memory and battery life.

Anyone familiar with wearables knows the landscape is rapidly changing.  The current narrative about the future of this market features the following themes:

  • Consumer Adoption of Health and Fitness Wearables is Accelerating  It appears that not a week goes by when various research organizations release figures suggesting that consumers globally will purchase millions of units of wearable devices over the next few years.  Much of the focus will be on arming fitness buffs and couch potatoes alike with gadgets that enable them to track a range of health parameters such as their exercise habits, sleep patterns and more.
  • Biometrics and Bioscanning Will Bring Humans and Machines Closer: If cell phones helped to accelerate the bonding of humans and computers, wearable devices – especially those designed to monitor health indicators such as heart rate, blood pressure and more – will accelerate the man-machine union.  The next generation of wearable devices will not only track our health status passively, but provide a new level of security for our devices by doing away with passwords in favor of encryption via body indicators such as heart rate, and much more.  The biometric-bioscanning future of wearables is outlined in this compelling report published by PSFK recently.

Yet, there are several trends that are not widely recognized or discussed, but are absolutely essential to the future of the wearables marketplace.  These are the trends we plan to discuss in our upcoming joint Health 2.0 EDU course, part of a four-part series of sessions dedicated to identifying and exploring lesser known trends molding the future health technology landscape. Some themes we’ll look at include:

  • Google and Apple Are Doing More Than Inventing Glasses and Watches: Much virtual ink has been spilled about how Apple and Google are developing new wearable devices, meeting with the FDA and hiring health industry talent.  But, what does this activity tell us about their ongoing battle to shape the future of the health data-device landscape?  What do these efforts mean for other companies in this space.
  • How Two Largely Ignored Market Segments May Drive Adoption of Wearables and Sensors: Fitness buffs, members of the quantified self movement and people with chronic conditions appear to be ideal candidates for wearable technologies.  But, there are two consumer market segments eager to utilize these tools.  Who are these people and what do they mean for the future of wearables?
  • What Investors Know About the Future of Wearables That You Don’t: Investors, startups and established firms are making large and small bets on sensors and other technologies that can be embedded into wearable devices.  What can examining this activity tell us about where the wearables market is headed?

If you’re ready to go beyond the headlines and receive unique consumer and business intelligence about the future of wearables, we hope you’ll join us for the first of four future health tech trends Health 2.0 EDU sessions.  To learn more about these unique courses and register, please click here.

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