We all have better things to do with our hands when we’re shopping, driving a car, or riding a bike than hold a device to our ear or hypnotically gaze into a screen. It’s why consumers are especially attracted to the hands-free, mobile functionality offered by wearable computing.

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Wearable computing, or “wearables” is one of those emerging trends that has been slow to adopt, but will soon explode. That’s because the technical hurdles that have stalled the adoption of wearables are quickly eroding.

In fact, Gartner Predicts that by 2020, consumer data collected from wearable devices will drive 5% of sales from the Global 1000. It’s all part of Gartner thought leadership around trends that are both disruptive and constructive. Read the full report, Gartner Top Predictions 2014: Plan for a Disruptive, but Constructive Future.

Consider:

  1. By 2020, well over 150 million wearable devices will ship worldwide, led by the sports and fitness sectors.  Nike FuelBand technology (targeting general consumers), combined with the Adidas launch of miCoach (targeting professional sports), are just two illustrations of how the human body’s transmission of information will trigger commerce. Advertisers will likely use exercise data and eating habits (from devices like the Fitbit) to serve up relevant ads and offers.
  2. Then there’s health care. Our increased attention toward personal health combined with a movement on the part of providers to contain costs — will trigger products and services that promote preventive measures.
  3. Wearable technologies will also emerge in the huge disability market (such as aids for the deaf, blind, paralyzed and elderly).
  4. In manufacturing and distribution markets, wearable computers worn on the arm for hands-free operation will continue their popularity in field service and assembly lines and warehouses.

Although Google has said it won’t give advertisers access to its Glass, consumers will use it to view ad-rich social sites, Web pages and Facebook news streams.

When it comes to wearable computing, all you need is some creativity and an open mind.

Read the full report, Gartner Top Predictions 2014: Plan for a Disruptive, but Constructive Future, along with our other top 10 predictions for 2014.

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11 Comments
  1. 30 April 2014 at 1:28 pm
    Annette Krausse says:

    Hands-free, attention-free functionality is key. As Tim Cook stated, wearables must be multifunctional to appeal to the masses, and we are seeing healthcare and other verticals making use of these new technologies. But wearables have to look good too, especially those that are worn externally. It will be interesting to see how wearables and their apps will play out in the IoT and interact with data and the “quantifiable self”. The industry will likely see a change in consumer behavior.
    My company, i2i, Inc. recently launched an Indiegogo crowdfunding campaign for iPal, a wearable computer with eyetracking and eye gesture controls. i2i expects to play a significant role in simplifying how one interacts (attention free) with the outside world when capturing images and videos. Just as iPod changed how we interact and store music, perhaps iPal, as it digitizes the human eye interface, will change how we use our sight and capture images. Combine eyesight with cloud processing power and the right apps, and the possibilities could be endless.

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