Six years ago our digital experiences evolved mainly around desktop solutions and few experts out there could foresee this huge leap into the mobile space we're seeing now. Smartphones had to go mainstream to make businesses realize the importance of tailoring their web properties to mobile devices to provide the best possible UX design to consumers. Now when Google has announced plans to launch a separate app store for their Google Glass in 2014 and wearable technology is evolving at a rapid fire speed, there're no doubts left that brands will adjust their mobile strategies and learn how to use wearable devices to better communicate with their stakeholders and increase revenues. This blog post is an attempt to briefly analyze what's hot on the wearable gadgets market now and what will dominate the market in the near future.
1. Wearable technology market size
According to BI Intelligence, the 2013 wearables market size is assessed at less than $3 billion globally, with an opportunity to grow to $5 billion next year. However, analysts from Credit Suisse say BI Intelligence's estimates are ridiculously low and predict the wearable tech market will balloon to a "whopping $30 billion to $50 billion in the next two to three years".
2. Markets to catch up with wearable devices fast
A recent survey by ABI Research suggests sports, fitness and wellness industry will become the #1 investor in wearable innovations, followed by home monitoring, healthcare (remote patient monitoring and on-site healthcare), and personal tech.
These markets are already widely using wearable tech to track down everything that can be tracked and inform users about their real-time performance: in fitness, sports and healthcare there're already FuelBands, Jawbone Ups, Fitbits, Trace, Instabit, Checklight and other apps that help measure calories, steps, speed, distance, jump height, rotation, heartbeat, pressure, etc.
3. Wearable gadgets to lead the market
1) Google Glass - indisputable leader
(at least in terms of buzz around it)
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In its current form Google Glass isn't a consumer product yet, but improvements we can see in a second-generation gadget that Google has recently introduced suggest it will gradually turn into an "absolutely everywhere" product.
Right now Glassware (3rd party apps for Google Glass) is programmed using Mirror API, a fully cloud-based app building platform. A sneak peek at Glass Development Kit (GDK) suggests developers will soon be able to create apps using standard Android APIs compiled for Glass and insert Glass specific features using add-ons. Once Google creates and fine-tunes its full-fledged app development platform, Google Glass will go mainstream. As noted in Google Glass Trends Report 2013, "a crucial element in brand's success with Glass will be the ability to customize your app for each user".
It is expected that Google Glass will go beyond the commercial space and be in high demand by governmental and military bodies. For instance,
- firefighters will be able to use Glass to get visual alerts when water pressure begins to drop, to view team's air levels, etc.,
- police officers will have an opportunity to safely search databases for real-time information about suspects and access data for warrants in a timely manner,
- surgeons, consultants and tutors will be able to shoot first-person demonstrations and training videos,
- military personnel will use Glass for better location tracking,
- pilots will use voice commands during a flight to do things that normally require hands use...
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Quartz reporter Simone Foxman says that even though Google promotes its gadget as a consumer product, its main users will be businesses. Business use cases for Google Glass are manifold:
- manufacturers will be able to use it to keep track of inventory more effectively and make sure no stuff is missing or stolen (a simple Google Glass app will be able to record employees taking inventory and even recognize products automatically and transmit data about them to the company's server),
- traders and brokers will be able to use voice commands to get answers to questions about the current bid on the stock,
- marketers and advertizers can tap into Glass' ability to offer highly personalized and geolocation services to better engage with their target audiences, know their profile and behavior patterns...
And how else do you think Google Glass will be used in business after it's become a mainstream gadget?
To be continued...