Have you embraced the wearables revolution yet? If not, you could fall behind, as activity trackers, smartwatches and countless other wearable products are transforming the technology market for both businesses and consumers. But if you hop in now, the rapidly expanding wearables market could provide you with an opportunity to boost your revenues as well.
Consider the results of a recent IDTechEx report, which indicated that the wearable electronics industry could grow from $20 billion in 2015 to almost $70 billion in 2025.1 Wearables are becoming increasingly popular because they blend form, functionality and fashion, making it easier for users to monitor their steps, keep track of work projects and offer other capabilities that empower users to become more productive, connected, or safe. These gadgets are evolving and the future looks bright for wearables - and their designers.
Expect wearables to dominate the Internet of Things (IoT) market over the next few years. Some experts are predicting that the wearables market will expand at a compound annual growth rate (CAGR) of 35 percent over the next five years, reaching 148 million units shipped annually in 2019, up from 33 million units shipped this year. In addition, smartwatch shipments are expected to rise at an annual rate of 41 percent over the next five years.2 But why?
As businesses and consumers realize the benefits of wearables, the number of users could increase significantly. Add the potential for new wearable devices to enter the global market and a rising demand for increased functionality - the wearables revolution could be well on its way. Therefore, you will need to find the best ways to set your wearable apart from the competition; otherwise, you'll risk falling behind your rivals in a highly competitive global market. The first step to setting your device apart is determining which of those consumers you’re targeting.
Evaluating Target Audience
Is your wearable designed for enterprises, consumers, or both? Understanding your target audience is key and should be a major consideration. Who the audience is and what they’re looking for, will guide you in your quest to create a wearable that can stand apart from the rest.
For enterprises, there's a heavy focus on both the top line (revenue) and bottom line (costs). As such, return on investment (ROI) is important to them, especially when they look at wearables.
Most wearables that will draw a company’s eye are ones designed to help businesses optimize their profits and reduce their operating costs simultaneously. In essence, these gadgets serve as both money and time savers. Enterprise wearables are all about increasing ROI, and thus are often equipped with features that business professionals or companies need to maximize their efficiency.
Businesses searching for wearables are sure to appreciate the vast array of productivity features they offer, which include:
- Augmented reality capabilities — In the healthcare sector, wearable developers can “combine augmented reality with wearable devices to ‘see’ people's veins when they're inserting needles or operating.” This can lead to safer, faster and more efficient procedures.3
- Advanced CRM — Customer relationship management (CRM) tools enable businesses to take control of data, optimize critical systems and equip their workforce with the technologies they need to offer customers a consistently gratifying experience. For example, Google Glass can track a user’s eyes to see which advertisement the customer has seen. In conjunction with its
patented “Pay per Gaze” advertising, this capability has the potential to transform digital marketing and CRM as well.4
- Safety Monitoring — In the industrial space, safety is a constant concern. Wearables that can track employee safety and vitals and send real-time data to managers and overseers are increasing in demand.
These features represent only a fraction of what wearables can offer enterprises, but incorporating a distinguishing feature that stands out within those categories can put your wearable on the track to success. The types of industries you can target your enterprise wearable towards include:
- Healthcare — Wearable devices in this sector include wireless sensors being used in hospitals to monitor patients and watches worn by an increasing number of patients to monitor their health, well-being and activity.
- Supply chain — Factory and warehouse workers can use smart glasses to optimize inventory management and quality control.
- Automotive — Wearable technology such as glasses, watches, and wristbands can provide vital information to drivers, such as directions, the position of the car on the road, potential hazards, traffic and fuel efficiency.5
- Industrial — Wearables can help industrial workers with warehouse management, field maintenance, manufacturing and more. Industrial wearables enable and optimize workflow efficiency, enhance communications, reduce paperwork and allow workers to take advantage of a hands-free work environment. Also, industrial use cases could drive the adoption of 75 million wearables between 2014 and 2020, according to Tractica.6
Apple and IBM, two technology heavyweights, recently partnered to deploy wearables for business users. With this partnership, these companies are driving the wearable push across multiple industries, as they are working on wearable technology for myriad sectors.7 While they are working towards addressing the enterprise market’s needs, their new devices may not have the features that consumers look for in their wearables.
Consumers, it seems, want a “cool, hip” wearable technology – just consider some of the recent innovations at CES 20158:
- Misfit's Swarovski Shine — Solar-powered fitness trackers that resemble Swarovski jewelry.
- Sony Smart Eyeglass Attach! — Eyewear that transforms into a smart device capable of displaying superior image quality.
- Apple Watch — Smartwatch developed by Apple that incorporates fitness tracking and health-oriented capabilities as well as integration with iOS and other Apple products and services.
And then there's Frog Design, a business unit of Aricent which recently collaborated with the Chinese company Mobvoi to roll out Ticwatch. This smartwatch offers a traditional analog design, making it a great option for those who want a wearable to blend with formal wear. This distinguishing feature sets it apart from existing competitors. For many consumers, aesthetics are high on their list of priorities, as are smaller gadgets that they can easily carry on the go, a big, bulky wearable won’t suffice. Nor will a lack of mobile capabilities.
A "mobile-first" strategy, which ensures you can incorporate as many features that empower consumer mobility, is important.9 PwC U.S. official Deborah Bothun points out that this strategy can help you "deliver perceived value to the consumer in an experiential manner."
"For wearables to be most valuable to the consumer, it needs to embrace Internet of Things opportunities; transform big data into super data that not only culls, but also interprets information to deliver insights; and take a human-centered design approach, creating a simplified user experience and an easier means to achieve goals," the PwC U.S. relayed.
The value of your wearable will dictate demand for your device. Regardless of whether you're targeting consumers, enterprises, or both, you'll want to make sure your target user can maximize the value of your gadget; otherwise, you may miss out on an opportunity to capitalize on the wearables revolution. It all comes back to the simple idea – figure out what they want and deliver it, in a way which is above and beyond your competitors.
Evaluating Your Wearable from All Angles
Designing wearable technology requires extensive technical know-how, along with knowledge of your target audience. You need to understand how to build a high-quality device, how to do it quickly and efficiently and how to ensure that this gadget meets your target audience's needs. It can be extremely challenging to accomplish your design goals on your own, fortunately, we have technology leaders like Aricent.
Aricent provides highly differentiated offerings to enable you to build a successful wearable technology. It partner with many of the world's leading technology brands to help them deploy wearable technology that meets the needs of both business users and consumers.
Aricent understands wearable technology and takes a consistent path to innovation. Please contact us for more information.
1 Wearable Technology Report. (n.d.). Retrieved September 23, 2015.
2 Intelligence, B. (2015, May 21). THE WEARABLES REPORT: Growth trends, consumer attitudes, and why smartwatches will dominate. Retrieved September 23, 2015.
3 Can wearable tech boost business productivity? (2014, January 23). Retrieved September 15, 2015.
4 Wearable Devices: The Next Big Thing in CRM. (n.d.). Retrieved September 29, 2015.
5 Could enterprise be the spark the wearables market needs to ignite consumer sales? (2015, September 11). Retrieved September 23, 2015.
6 Wearable Devices for Enterprise and Industrial Markets. (n.d.). Retrieved September 29, 2015.
7 IBM confirms Apple Watch is also an enterprise product. (2015, May 22). Retrieved September 15, 2015.