The smartwear market came riding a tsunami of hype. Five years ago, the prediction was that everyone will own more than two wearable devices in two years.
All the ‘with-it’ people were already wearing fitness bands, all the cool kids had tried out virtual reality headsets, the geeks and nerds swore by Google Glass and smartwatches were all set to outsell smartphones.
Whoosh forward to today and the wearable tech market is a disaster. No momentum. Most fitness bands have been taken off wrists, smartwatches are a dead category and most people who bought a Google Glass can’t remember which cupboard it’s lying discarded in.
But in 2015, wearable tech may just see a phoenix-like rise from the ashes. It may even outgun all previous predictions.
Sample these estimations: 150 million wearable devices will be bought every year by 2019, smartwatches will dominate 60 per cent of this sale, 100 million active smartwatches will be on people’s wrists in the next three years and the wearable tech market will be worth about $55 billion by then.
As real as it gets: Microsoft HoloLens and similar options are a start to the greatest revolution in virtual
and augmented reality
Many analysts have come up with theories for this. I’m going to give you some of those, contradict a few that seem to be pure hyperbole and then add a few reasons of my own.
The Apple watch kicks off
No, it’s not that the Apple Watch will sell in those numbers. But it might kick-start the sale to reignite this market. It’s estimated that 2.5 million Apple Watches were pre-ordered in the first week.
While the Watch itself isn’t ground breaking or perfect, it has two things going for it. The first, an army of Apple fans that blindly pick up anything Apple; the second, it’s a seamless extension of its ecosystem.
Put them together and you’re going to see a serious number of people buy an Apple Watch. Right after, you’re going to see a serious number of other manufacturers come up with watches that do everything that the Apple Watch does, and then beat it.
The iPhone story will play out all over again. My prediction is that by 2019 Apple will have about 20 per cent of the market, Google will have about the same and a third player will take the lion’s share.
I hope you’re reading this Pebble, TAG Heuer and Timex, and I hope one of you is ready to get serious and come out swinging. Brace up for HoloLens, Gear and Oculus
If you haven’t heard about Microsoft HoloLens, Samsung Gear VR and Oculus Rift, it’s time for you to check your pulse and see if you’re still alive. These are the start to the greatest revolution in virtual and augmented reality.
By 2018, these will shrink in size to near nothing, will dominate the gaming world and make monitors and TVs obsolete. You’ll use these as a video conferencing system and communication devices, and also as your go-to displays for everything you do.
Think of every sci-fi movie that made your imagination go wild about the future. These display devices will beat the pants of all of those.
GOQii forays new terrain
Juniper Research are technology market research specialists. Top companies across the world rely on them to predict the future.
When they predict something, it’s likely to happen.
And in their new report, they’ve listed our very own GOQii fitness as one of the top five reasons for the wearable
tech market to explode. Their reason is fairly simple.
Fitness bands need to have a second-level trick apart from quantifying data about your body. That data needs to
link to a service that actually helps you make changes.
They cite GOQii’s fitness band and its unique ability to link a user with their own “real” personal coach to keep
them motivated towards achieving their goals.
In the future, a wearable device needs to distinguish between an app that syncs data versus a service that uses that data. GOQii’s amazing success in the US, India and Middle East markets seems to be a testament to that fact.
Imagine never carrying a wallet, never withdrawing cash from an ATM and never swiping a credit card ever again. The prediction is that wearables will become your secure payment system.
Touch your smartwatch to the machine at the mall, hold out your band while getting into the Metro, and buy a movie ticket
by swiping the kiosk with your bracelet.
Each of these will have the technology for you to load money on to them and use it where you like. The ease of this system will make every one of us go out and put on at least one wearable device on our body.
I’m going to close by giving you an offer. The next huge start-up, the next billionaire, the next household name, will come from the wearable market.
If you’re in school or college, if you’re thinking of a start-up, if you think you want homes all over the world and if an Aston Martin DB9 car is your model of choice to commute to your office, then start racking your brains as to how you can get
into the wearables markets.
There’s $55 billion waiting for someone to paw it. Just make sure you send me my standard one per cent as ‘idea-starter’ fee.
Rajiv Makhni is managing editor, Technology, NDTV, and the anchor of Gadget Guru, Cell Guru and Newsnet 3
From HT Brunch, May 10
Follow us on twitter.com/HTBrunch
Connect with us on facebook.com/hindustantimesbrunch