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Long road to success for wearables

Posted: 16 Sep 2014 ?? ?Print Version ?Bookmark and Share

Keywords:wearable technology? mass market? smartwatches?

There's still a long way to go before wearable technology reaches the peak of success, according to a new report. Research firm Gartner recently plotted the direction to mass market success of many emerging technologies, including wearables, in its annual "Hype Cycle" report.

This year's report shows a seesaw journey that wearables, consumer 3D printing and even the connected home will take before they will be fully embraced by consumers.

Wearables hype

From smartwatches and clip-on devices, wearables technology has generated a buzz over the past year, prompting tech giants to launch their own wearable devices.

Last week, Apple unveiled the Apple Watch, which is the company's first foray into the wearables market. The smartwatch comes with fitness and workout apps, as well as the ability to sync itself to your heartbeat. (See the rest of the article here: Apple Watch, biggest breakout product since iPod)

Other players, including Samsung and LG, have already provided a glimpse of their own wearable devices. The G Watch R is touted to be the second coming of LG's Android G watch with a traditional wristwatch design, while Samsung's Gear S features 3G connectivity and runs on its own OS. (Read more: Smartwatch battle: G Watch R vs Gear S)

The phase of inflated expectations

Industry players may have already started rolling out their wearables, but research analysts said it will still take time before the technology will be adopted by mainstream consumers.

In its report, Gartner positions wearables, along with consumer 3D printing, in the "peak of inflated expectations" phase, which represents a time when a hype cycle encounters a lot of publicity with some successes and scores of failures. Both technologies are pegged to reach mainstream adoption, referred to as the "plateau of productivity" in five to 10 years.

Hype Cycle for Emerging Technologies, 2014

Gartner releases hype cycle for emerging technologies in 2014. (Source: Gartner)

Experts with the World Economic Forum, meanwhile, predict a shift in the wearables sector.

According to a WEF report, the technology will move beyond wristbands and other external devices to more "body-adapted" electronics that will help users monitor their exercise, heart rate and sleep patterns, among other things.

In the future, experts said the wearable devices will even be tinier and less intrusive, but packed with a wider range of sensors and a feedback system. The next-generation wearables could include earbuds that will monitor heart beats or even haptic shoe soles that will give GPS directions using the vibrations from walking.

-Jasmine Solana
??[EE Times Asia]

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