The evolution of fashion, fitness and technology lies in a new frontier of wearable technology with the adoption of smart sensors, web connections, and the use of Bluetooth to connect to smartphones and apps.
Most wearables are wrist worn, but an increasing number can be clipped to the body and hung around the neck. Smartwatches, fitness trackers, sport watches, head-mounted displays, smart clothing and jewellery, and implantables form the different categories of wearable technology at the moment.
Wearable technology can be used to record heart rate, body fat composition, perspiration, health, temperature and muscle activity by simply coming in contact with the skin, apart from determining movement, distance and speed using GPS, accelerometers and gyroscopes.
Vendors in the wearables market are expected to ship a total of 45.7 million units in 2015, up a strong 133.4 percent from the 19.6 million units shipped in 2014, according to data from research firm IDC. That figure is likely to climb to 126.1 million units by 2019, resulting in a five-year compound annual growth rate (CAGR) of 45.1 percent.
Devices focused on smart wearables, or those devices capable of running third-party applications include devices like Motorola’s Moto 360 and Samsung’s Gear watches, while the Apple Watch is expected to raise the profile of wearables in general. The total volume of smart wearables will reach 25.7 million units in 2015, up a whopping 510.9 percent from the 4.2 million units shipped in 2014, according to IDC estimates.
The smartwatches segment currently saturated with multinational tech brands like Sony, Samsung, Motorola, LG with Apple set to join the bandwagon soon.
Wrist-worn wearables, including bands, bracelets and watches, are set to account for over 80 percent of all wearable device shipments.
Basic wearable technology, or those devices that do not run third party applications, will grow from 15.4 million units in 2014 to 20 million units in 2015, resulting in 30 percent growth from last year.
Wearable Technology & Gaming:
Wearable Technology has also caused disruptions in the gaming Industry, with virtual reality devices such as Facebook owned Oculus Rift and Sony’s Project Morpheus leading the way.
In addition, independent companies in the gaming industry such as Valve (with the Vive VR headset made in partnership with HTC) are also entering the market in a bid to claim a share of the potential lucrative games market.
Smaller companies like Jawbone, Fitbit, Misfit and Withings are also part of the wearable technology space with their fitness trackers for the masses. TomTom, Polar, Garmin and Suunto make some of the very best sports watches for cycling, hiking, golf, running, swimming, cycling and even skiing.
Last week, Apple Watch received close to one million pre-orders on its first day in the U.S. alone, according to market analysis firm Slice Intelligence.
On Wednesday, Microsoft Band, powered by Microsoft Health will debut in the U.K. It tracks wellness goals by keeping tabs on heart rate, steps, calorie burn and sleep quality. The Microsoft Band costs £170 from retailers like Amazon, Currys PC World, Dixons Travel, Harrods, Microsoft Store and O2, making it one of the more expensive fitness trackers available.
The Band through companion apps for Windows Phone, iOS and Android devices provides users with tailored workouts depending on specific goals and will do things like mapping training routes via GPS, or allow the user to set commands using Cortana.