Smart wearables: who will be the leader?

POSTED BY Nitin Bhas
The rapid growth in sensors, component and system integration, along with next generation wireless technologies and mobile devices has driven the market for wearable devices in the consumer segment. Over the last few years, the smartphone and tablet devices which are now used in conjunction with these devices have become powerful computing and Internet access devices. However, even though smartphones and tablets were not essential for the development of the smart wearable device concept, we believe that wearable devices needed smartphones and tablets as a user interface platform to be successful. The increased processing power and improved functionality of today’s mobile devices means that the consumer electronics industry and the mobile industry are more aligned with one another than they have ever been. We now have key and influential players such as Google, Apple and Microsoft making key strategic moves within the wearables sector. The entrance of the likes of Apple, Microsoft and Google into the wearable market will not only create a whole new world of experience (both from a product range and an educative/marketing perspective), but these players are capable of replicating the success they have enjoyed within the smartphone ecosystem. Undoubtedly, the three platform providers (Apple, Google and Microsoft) are in a strong position to replicate their success in mobile devices with other connected next generation devices (in this case, wearables) and can provide some kind of convergence between the two. However, as Juniper Research notes in our recent report, to become the leader, these players and others will need to develop an app ecosystem for wearable devices to create a platform for further broadening the role of wearable devices similar to the smartphone app ecosystem. The simultaneous development of app-ecosystem and wearable devices will integrate technologies, such as augmented reality, into human life more seamlessly.