Are smartwatches a thing of the past now?
Not quite. Smartwatches are still expected to lead the wearable tech market in the years to come. But despite its demand, this thriving market is now facing fierce competition.
Advancements in technology show no signs of stopping. From the invention of functional luxury fashion spanning to immersive virtual realities experienced through head-mounted displays, the future of wearable technology will continue to evolve and intertwine with every facet of our physical (and virtual) lives.
We all love our Apple Watch, Fitbit or Garmin trackers for sure, but wearable tech isn’t confined to these smartwatches alone. With the development of smaller yet more powerful chips, this market is enjoying a sudden boost leading to the emergence of other competitive devices like image-capturing glasses, and smart clothing that enables you to answer calls right from your sleeve.
What is wearable technology exactly?
Wearable technology or simply known as wearables is defined as a category of electronic devices that can be worn as accessories, integrated into garments, implanted in the user’s body or even imprinted on the skin. These small pieces of devices usually have smart sensors and are connected to the internet to transmit, store and process data either through web-based or mobile applications.
Circling back to our introduction, the most common type of wearable tech is a smartwatch. It comes with a host of fitness and productivity features on top of telling time. In a study conducted by Business Insider, a survey showed that people hated pulling out their mobile phones every time it pings. Thus the ability of smartwatches to funnel phone notifications and enhance everyday productivity made them very attractive to consumers. Another key motivation is health. Users have become more interested in keeping in shape and monitoring their health with the use of smartwatches. While others, simply preferred high-tech accessories with exciting features that they can play around with.
Smartwatches conveniently take the most common features out of your mobile phone and with just a flick of the wrist or a tap, you can carry out an expanding number of functions without having to pull out your smartphone. Users can reply to messages, answer calls, play music, track their jogging routes and make contactless payments through their watches alone. Small but mighty, smartwatches are one of the most versatile wearable devices created. This is due to its ability to host several hardware and software integrations like NFC, GPS and wearable versions of leading mobile applications. Due to its unmatched versatility, global shipments are expected to rise to 280 million by 2024 and will continue to be a key driver in the smart wearable industry.
Here are some of the best smartwatches you can explore this 2022:
- Apple Watch Series 7 - it now comes with a larger display, enhanced durability and faster-charging capabilities.
- Samsung Galaxy Watch 4 - boasts a sleeker and more versatile design and new health-tracking features.
- Fitbit Versa 3 - it has a built-in GPS, sleep tools and unique music experiences.
Smart jewelries are a great way to combine technology’s latest innovations with wearable pieces of art. Perfect for those who don’t like wearing bulky watches or trackers on their wrists, these pieces of jewelry exude versatile sophistication without sacrificing functionality. To date, many if not all of the smart jewelries available in the market are used as a subtle way of tracking and monitoring personal health and wellness.
- Smart Ring: Motiv
Motive provides comprehensive fitness tracking with app integrations and comfortable 24/7 wear that’s barely there. This smart ring connects directly to the Apple Health app or the Google Fit app.
- Smart Necklace: Leaf Urban
The Leaf Urban is a button and screen-free wellness tracker that can be worn as a necklace, bracelet or brooch. Designed specifically for women, this wearable tracks activity, sleep, stress levels, reproductive health and meditation so users can stay in tune with their bodies effortlessly.
- Smart Bracelets: Ringly’s Luxe Smart Bracelets
This accessory got the beauty of high-end jewelry and the brains of a wireless tracker. It connects to over 200 apps, tracks step activities, and provides guided meditations and subtle mobile alerts.
Technology allowed for groundbreaking breakthroughs in the fashion industry with the launch of smart clothing. Sensors and other systems can be integrated within actual garments for a functional wardrobe. By wearing smart clothes, you can probably ditch other wearables and simply depend on what you’re wearing for a more carefree digital experience.
There are a handful of intelligent fashion pieces in the market, some were even launched by leading brands like Levi’s a few years back. Let’s take Levi’s smart trucker jacket for example. It looks like the brand’s iconic trucker jacket and wears like one, but with one small surprise right on its sleeves. This classic piece is merged with Google’s innovative Jacquard technology. With Jacquard, a user can connect to their mobile devices and access digital services from the jacket’s cuff. These services include answering and dropping calls, taking remote selfies, and so much more.
Though, the question is, can’t you do all of these and more from a smartwatch?
You probably heard of audio sunglasses. Product designers found a way to integrate Bluetooth and bone conduction technology giving users a hands-free open-ear audio experience – pretty neat right? But have you heard of a sunglass that has a built-in camera and can connect and share your content on Facebook? Ray-Ban x Meta got you covered on this one.
Brands are pushing boundaries to give consumers unique experiences that now go past entertainment. In collaboration with Meta, smart wearables like the Ray-Ban Stories Smart Glasses can now capture life’s most precious moments by taking photos and videos right from your specs. Users can also listen to music and calls, and view or share content on social media channels using a complementary Facebook View app.
These are just some of the popular wearables in the market but not enough to represent the spectrum of available tech out there. Aside from typical consumer use, wearable technology has been revolutionary in the field of healthcare and patient management. It allowed patients and clinicians to create a plan of care and monitor results. Wearables like smartwatches or fabric patch sensors are very helpful in promoting self-management for chronic conditions because they can provide real-time data, and keep patients motivated to strive for better outcomes. Moreover, experts project that the future of wearables will be implanted due to the reduction of hardware sizes and the constant innovation in both consumer and healthcare technology. But it still has a long way to go at this point and is another story for another time.
What Ties It All Together
We covered the unique features of popular wearables in the market. But all these wouldn’t be possible without software. Software like programs and apps allows users to process data whether on the wearable device itself or through their mobile phones. It is on the other side of the stick and a vital component in smart wear development. Because without any software tied to it, the whole product experience wouldn’t be complete, and some features won’t even work.
Smart wearables typically pair with apps on a smartphone to unlock its full features and experience the product in its entirety. These apps are sometimes expanded to wearable versions of it to make functional features available through the hardware’s built-in display or buttons. It’s safe to say that wearables are built to be extensions of our mobile devices but not designed to replace them. Because of its size, hardware limitations are expected, so wearables taking over or good ol’ smartphones are a long shot. After all, there’s a reason why everyone is still on mobile up to this day.
If you’re a brand or a business owner, this is a market you should probably explore. Nearly 57 million Americans and a whole lot more globally are projected to be wearing smart wearables on any given day. Banking on its promising trajectory due to heightened consumer interest, businesses can take advantage of this in a couple of ways. First is to develop your wearable with app integrations, or if you’re a mobile app owner, try to explore how you can integrate your current app into the most popular wearables in the market to expand your reach.
Best of luck!