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Sept. 1, 2015: RCR Wireless

IDTechEx Talks the Future of Wearables

Form factor is key to market success for wearables

WASHINGTON – Raghu Das, CEO of IDTechEx, a Cambridge, Mass.-based market research firm focused on emerging technologies, sat down with RCR Wireless News to discuss trends in the wearables market.

Das was joined by James Hayward, an IDTechEx technology analyst. Das and Hayward explained how IDTechEx studies emerging technology and market trends to help companies determine if their blue-sky concepts translate into viable products. One area in which IDTechEx is seeing quick development is the wearables market.

"The issues we see with wearable technology today is that many companies are taking regular pieces of technology and strapping it to their bodies," Das said. "But we think the wearable of the future will be very different because rather than have ridged, bulky devices, it will be items that can be stretchable, can be conformable and can be flexible to the wearer."

According to Das, if these trends are realized soon, "technology will stop wearing people and people will be wearing technology."

How could these new, much less intrusive wearable systems find a market niche? According to Hayward, two big areas of potential for wearables are the two key global verticals: defense and health care.

"Wearable technology is something in the military that goes back a very long way right from the heads-up display," Hayward said. A major factor driving the development of new military wearable technology, Hayward noted, is systems integration.

Currently, militaries around the world – including in the U.S. – issue numerous pieces of wearable technology from digital communication equipment, to automated sensors and HUD units. Many of these devices are off-the-shelf components that are bolted together and lack an integrated operating system.

"As new technology is being integrated more and more in the consumer space, the growth in military is still pressing on and one really good example of this is the standardization and integration of existing military wearables," Hayward said.

Health care is another major vertical where wearables are having a huge impact. IDTechEx has been watching numerous concepts and prototypes with great interest that, over the next few years, could potentially revolutionize the entire health care industry. Hayward pointed out that health care means more than just traditional medical care, it also encompasses fitness tracking and sports wear.

"You've got this huge shift in demographics where people are living much longer in most nations and there aren't enough young people coming in to look after them." Hayward continued, "The technology has to get better, rather than having pills with instructions on the bottle that elderly people can't read, medication is becoming just a patch which automatically releases medication either on a timer or as needed based on your vitals."

IDTechEx will be hosting a conference Nov. 18 and 19 in Santa Clara, Calif., where it will be showcasing many of these next-generation wearable concepts as well as emerging technologies in the fields of 3D printing, new materials and electric vehicles.

Listen to RCR Wireless News Contributing Editor Jeff Hawn interview Das and Hayward here:

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