We work heavily in the mobile space here at Pinpoint, and we’ve noticed there’s been a lot of hype recently about the rise of wearable technology, thanks mostly in part to the publicity surrounding Google Glass.
In fact, Google and rival Apple made wearables the main focus of their developer conferences this year, proving that wearable tech is on an upward trend—and the sky is the limit.
ABI Research is predicting that the wearable tech market will see 485 million annual device shipments by 2018—that’s just four years from now. By the end of this year alone, over 19 million wearable devices will ship worldwide in a market valued at a cool $3 billion, according to Deloitte Consulting.
The Wearable Technology Market
It is estimated that 61% of all the wearable technology sold last year was comprised of sport and activity trackers, made by companies like Nike, Samsung, Fitbit, and Jawbone. This share is expected to decrease as more variety hits the market in the form of smartwatches and smartglasses, especially from heavy hitters like Google, Apple, and Microsoft. Most famously, Google has already handed out prototypes of their Google Glass, and Apple is expected to debut an “iWatch” later this year, though they’re stingy on the details.
But even outside the consumer marketplace, there’s more opportunity to be had. Wearable technology has a huge amount of potential in the healthcare sector by digging even deeper than activity tracking and instead monitoring all the vitals that make us tick, from heart rate to blood pressure. Google is already working on a contact lens to test and track the glucose levels of people with diabetes, which could replace traditional finger pricking, and some companies are already creating and testing bionic organs and biosensors to make us healthier and head off disease at the pass.
Creating Apps, Creating Jobs
Developers are already vital to the success of wearable technology, and all this growth only means that they’ll be in even more demand as more and more companies in sectors all across the board adopt this technology. Much like healthcare, retail, fashion, entertainment, and other companies are creating mobile applications for their customer base, wearable tech has the potential to become as commonplace to us as smartphones (and mobile apps) are now. The technology to create apps for wearables isn’t even so very different from the tech to create apps for a smartphone; Google and Samsung, for example, just use a slightly modified version of Android called Android Wear for their wearable devices.
There’s also the fact that wearables will become an integral part of the Internet of Things, which is just another step up from cloud computing and big data. Not only will wearable devices be able to provide all sorts of real time data about their users, but they’ll also be able to communicate to other “things” in ways that can make our lives infinitely easier. Imagine a world where we can pay for things in rewards points by simply waving our smartwatch over a sensor in the checkout line, or where our car sends a message to our oven to start heating up when we reach a certain distance from home.
So are wearables worth the hype? In a study by Rackspace, 61 percent of wearable technology users said that they felt more informed; 47 percent felt more intelligent; and 61 percent felt that their personal efficiency improved by using wearable tech. And as more and more people start hopping on the bandwagon, they’ll no doubt agree.
And what about IT professionals looking to hop on the bandwagon too? Fortunately, the infrastructure for mobile applications, cloud computing, and big data is already there. Outside of activity tracking, developers could find themselves working with wearable tech that’s used for picture taking, video recording, smart clothing, 3D motion sensing, environmental sensing, data monitoring, collaboration, authentication, augmented reality, and much, much more. Wearable technology is here to stay.
Here at Pinpoint, our large network allows us to assist our clients quickly with their needs in new technologies like wearables. If you’re an Android or mobile developer, please check out our job board of recently posted positions here.