If you think clothes are unnecessarily expensive now, just wait until 2014, a year Juniper research is calling “the watershed” for wearable devices.
According to Juniper’s latest study, wearable computing, a market which includes smart glasses and other head-mounted displays, should come to over $1.5 billion in the next couple of years, largely driven by consumer spending on fitness, multi-functional devices, and healthcare.
Forget form fitting, wearable devices are the “future form factor,” says Juniper, with big players like Apple and Google already making “key strategic moves” in the sector.
This year, wearable devices already accounted for $800 million, as apps like Nike+ and the Fitbit Tracker took off, allowing users to work up a sweat, while the computer crunches their fitness data.
While the sporting industry seems to have gotten off to a running start with wearables, it isn’t the only market sector that can look forward to a huge boon.
“While fitness and entertainment will have the greatest demand from consumers, within an enterprise environment, the demand for wearable devices will be greatest from the aviation and warehouse sectors,” noted report author Nitin Bhas.
The report also makes mention of wearables being developed for the military, specifically for soldiers in combat, but since these won’t be widely commercially available, their revenues are not lumped in with the rest of the bargain bin clothing being stitched up for us plebs.
Unsurprisingly, Juniper says the market for wearable electronics will be dominated by North America and Western Europe, which will represent about 60 percent of sales, though I wouldn’t be surprised in Asia caught up fairly quickly.
The report also says that although the number of fitness and sports devices bought per year is higher than the number of healthcare devices sold, the health sector will be slightly larger in terms of retail value.
Whether any of the devices is actually capable of taking the pain and strife out of clothes shopping, however, remains to be seen.
As for me, the only wearable device I’m truly coveting is T-shirt OS.
David Patterson, known for his pioneering research that led to RAID, clusters and more, is part of a team at UC Berkeley that recently made its RISC-V processor architecture an open source hardware offering. We talk with Patterson and one of his colleagues behind the effort about the opportunities they see, what new kinds of designs they hope to enable and what it means for today’s commercial processor giants such as Intel, ARM and Imagination Technologies.