What's Going on with Wearables?
Last week, CNBC reported that Intel shut down its wearables division. Three weeks ago, Jawbone went out of business. Over the course of the last year, Fitbit has lost more than 50% of its market value. The wearables honeymoon appears to be over.
Why you should care
Wearable devices have been the darling of the tech industry for the last five years, with many industry experts looking to innovative, consumer-friendly devices for the next big breakthroughs in medicine, wellness and sports. Last month, we predicted that over 1.3 billion wearable devices will be sold over the next five years.
What we think
Wearables are still in their infancy. We are confident that wearables will redefine the way we monitor human performance, but the industry hasn’t hit its stride yet. Wrist-worn activity trackers (i.e., not smartphones) are a dying breed, and that’s not surprising to us. Wearables today are generation 1.0. Here’s what we think generation 2.0 needs to do:
- Move beyond the wrist: Wearables started on the wrist for an obvious reason - user compliance. There are limitations to this paradigm (e.g., data accuracy), so the next generation of wearables needs to be designed with use case in mind.
- Build contextualized datasets: Companies need to place a bigger emphasis on context - what conditions the data was collected in, who generated the data, etc. - and abandon the “more is more” attitude.
- Foster highly-engaged communities: It goes without saying that user engagement is vital to technological adoption. Creating online communities that encourage user interaction (data sharing, motivation, etc.) will accelerate adoption and maximize engagement.
Despite big losses in this market, it wasn’t all hype. Wearables are here to stay, but they need to evolve. Smarter datasets, better form factors and bigger online communities will catalyze the next generation of wearables and transform human performance.
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