Motion technology is so hot right now, due to more and more industries becoming aware of its possibilities, and its market growth continuing to skyrocket.
IDC forecasts that the market for IoT services and devices would triple from around $650 million in 2014 to $1.7 trillion in 2020, a more than 20 fold increase, and if we dig deeper, we see that in Q1 2016, the wearable market has grown by nearly 70% YOY, with the overall market expected to more than triple by 2020, to 411 million units and $34.2 billion of sales.
So, how do we expect technology to develop in that time? What kind of changes could we expect to take place in our lives? We lay out a few of the trends you’ll see in the near future.
A smarter future
With every quarter, smartwatches capture more and more of the wearable pie, with Gartner predicting they will take up more than 20% of the worldwide wearable market by 2017, up from 13% in 2015.
Yet, ever since their release, there’s been a nagging sense that smartwatches are a little… boring. While they’re interesting in theory, in practice, they’ve been used as a stripped-down smartphone second screen.
However, with Google announcing Android Wear 2.0, the next version of their wearable device software platform, things seem set to change, with a tantalizing glimpse at the future of smartwatches.
For one, smartwatches using the platform will be usable as standalone devices, with WiFi connectivity and an App marketplace. This is as much a conceptual shift as it is a technical one and should lead to more creative uses of the smartwatch.
Secondly, gesture controls are becoming more common. Android Wear users can flick, lift, lower and turn their wrists to flip through notifications, bring up apps, or return home. We expect this type of user-device communication to become the norm, which is why we developed our Kiwi for Android app, which enables gestures to control everything from volume control and music playback to screen dimming on your smartphone.
A virtual future
Virtual reality has arrived, and it’s here to stay. Glowing reviews have accompanied the release of the Oculus Rift and the HTC Vive, with users struck by the sense of immersion.
By the end of the year, with the market having 5 devices, (Oculus Rift, HTC Vive, Google Cardboard, the Samsung Gear VR, Playstation VR) VR might just become the next must-have technology.
Right now, most applications are for gaming and entertainment, but as these devices begin making their way into the hands of consumers, we’ll see more creative applications, such as workplace simulation and training, or therapeutic uses.
It’s easy to imagine driving license applicants going through a VR simulation before they do their actual driving test, or managers preparing for presentations by speaking in front of a simulation crowd, or even people with phobias being gradually exposed to their fears as part of their treatments. Reports are predicting huge increases in consumer spending in VR from $660 million spent in 2015 to $5.1 billion in 2016 to $12.3 billion in 2018.
An intuitive future
Currently, wearable reporting capabilities are limited to high-level data with surface-level insights (am I eating too much, am I getting enough sleep?) without much context into how that data can be used to change your behaviour.
Very soon, wearable analytics will be able to provide data directly relevant to you. For example, current wearables are able to track your sleep, knowing when you fall asleep, when you wake up and whether you had a restful sleep or not.
While these metrics are broadly useful, wouldn’t the data be so much more interesting if you discovered that, by correlating sleep patterns and workplace productivity, your body only needed 6 hours of sleep? You might discover what time waking up is easiest, or when in the day you have the most energy and are most productive.
Imagine being able to know how severely your work productivity would be impacted if you slept 4 instead of 6 hours. Imagine if that level of insight was extended to every part of your life. You might discover the best foods for your body, or the most effective exercises for your body type. In short, the mysteries of the self would begin to reveal themselves to you.
Apps like Waze give us an idea of how this data can be useful. Waze doesn’t say “traffic is building up on the highway, now you decide where to go”, but provides route recommendations, ultimately saving time and stress.
Some pre-existing notifications include “traffic concerns for your journey home, updated football scores for a team you search for a lot, the weather for the day ahead when you wake up”.
And that’s not all...
We expect other areas like sports, health care and payment to experience similar transformations and we’ll go into more detail in future posts. For now, it’s clear to see that our world is about to change very quickly, very soon.