Technology advances every day. While a person may believe they have the latest and greatest today, many times it will be obsolete technology within a month. As the years go by, you can see that these advances change lives in sometimes subtle ways and sometimes radically. Five years after Apple Watch brought the concept of wearable technology into the mainstream, companies today are trying to break the mold of the smart clock, both figuratively and literally.
The market for Smart Wearables devices was valued at 216.18 million units in 2019, and is expected to reach 614.31 million units in 2025, at a compound annual rate of 19.1 percent over the forecast period from 2020 to 2025.
Advances in research have led to greater innovation in recent years, and have been instrumental in driving market demand for wearable devices, as well as bringing new product categories such as smart clothing and hearing aids into everyday life. The overall approach in recent years has been to provide a new aesthetic design for the devices, to attract more customers and give a new sense of fashion to smart technology.
Wearable technology is an emerging trend that integrates cutting-edge technology into everyday activities. This technology fits the most changing and active lifestyles of this century. It can be worn on a small part of the body and focuses on tracking and improving health, physical activity and well-being.
The most common Smart Wearables technology includes smart rings, smart jewelry, smart watches, exercise trackers, smart clothes and small screens that are worn on the head, but there’s more.
The rapid technological developments in the Smart Wearables technology market bring competitive intelligence, product innovations and a variety of strategies to leading industry representatives. A detailed understanding of some of the industry’s pioneers, as well as current market dynamics and potential growth opportunities, will help new emerging companies thrive in this industry.
There are many examples of intelligent wearable technology devices already available on the market that can be adapted to the specific needs and budgets of each person. Quantitative bracelets, headphones and smart watches have become a huge success in the industry in recent times. In fact, sales have practically doubled in comparison to last year, and the great winner in the market is Apple, which thanks to its AirPods dominates this niche and especially the ‘hearables’ section, which is triumphing over the rest of the wearables.
But these are not the only ones who are trying to stand out and some technology companies are trying to overcome the new features and implementations.
Ōura Ring and Motiv Ring
These two companies offer something different. Their devices are essentially smart rings that are less conspicuous than a smart watch and offer most of the same features.
Rather than just an activity tracker, Ōura gives the user a personal activity target that is calibrated daily based on their own individual recovery status and willingness to perform. The ring tracks overall daily movement, exercise, steps, calorie burn and integrates information to balance your training and recovery. It even tracks your sedentary time. In addition, the ring measures the physiological signals of the human body, analyzes and understands your personal lifestyle, and brings you closer to a better state of well-being. It makes personalized suggestions and can show user trends over time, specifically designed for each individual.
Ōura Ring includes multiple sensors, including a 3D accelerometer, infrared optical pulse measurement, gyroscope and body temperature sensors. All sensors combined are capable of providing information on three main areas: preparation, sleep and activity. In addition, in 2019, the company launched a new feature to quantify meditation: ‘Moment’.
The Motiv Ring combines fitness, heart rate and sleep monitoring with online security features that protect the user’s identity. The ring automatically measures metrics and tracks the progress of the activity. It detects when the user sleeps and when they wake up in the morning thanks to the sensors built directly into the ring. Active heart rate monitoring gives a clear picture of the benefits and health impact of favorite workouts. This helps prevent heart disease and stroke, and improves cardiovascular health. It also adjusts daily goals based on personal progress towards a weekly goal.
Some, like Bellabeat, are leaving the mould of the clock, opting for something completely different. Their Leaf device, referred to as smart jewelry, is an all-in-one pendant, brooch and bracelet. The device is a product that monitors activity, sleep, and wellness tracking.
Created specifically for women, it incorporates menstrual cycle tracking, meditation and breathing exercises, and other interesting features. It even has several discreet alarms.
In addition to this product, the company also created Spring, the first bottle of intelligent water powered by Artificial Intelligence.
The idea of so-called ‘wearable speakers’ is not new. In 2016, LG launched an attractive proposal known as the LG Tone Studio, and later Bose arrived with its sweat and water resistant SoundWear for use in the gym or for exercise.
The concept is the same, offering better sound quality in a speaker that is worn around the neck for an immersive audio experience. In addition, these devices often include a microphone so that it can also be used as a telephone. It connects to the mobile device via Bluetooth, and thus becomes a kind of personal assistant.
Now Sony believes the market is more ready for these devices and is preparing to launch its ‘Immersive Wearable Speaker’ (SRS-WS1), which is its first neck speaker. This is a speaker that will provide surround sound in a customised format. The difference between this device and others on the market is that it will not have Bluetooth or WiFi, but will have a ‘wireless’ receiver that connects to your cable TV, to transmit the audio to the speaker wirelessly. The SRS-WS1 speaker can also be connected to a smartphone, tablet or PC, but not wirelessly, but using the cable that comes with the device.
weWalk: the cane for the blind
weWALK is designed to help blind people navigate their environment, which means not only avoiding obstacles, but also knowing what is around them. This device consists of two parts: the cane and the handle.
It is precisely in the handle that there is a speaker, microphone and a haptic sensor, which serves to send vibrations to the user as if they were notifications. There is also a touchpad, which helps to navigate through the system’s options.
The cane has Bluetooth and can be synchronized with an iOS or Android smartphone through a mobile app. Because of this, it is possible to use Google Maps and even a personal assistant, such as Siri or Google Assistant. This serves to inform the user of nearby stores and details that cannot be seen by using the speakerphone alone.
weWALK also relies on an ultrasonic sensor that serves to detect obstacles above chest level, and warns the user through a vibration in the handle in case there is an object nearby that the same analogue cane has not detected.
Umay Rest combines the science of heat therapy, both hot and cold, and gentle vibration to help manage stress, improve sleep and restore eye health.
Umay helps digital device users find stress relief and restore the effects of screen time by resting the mind and restoring natural eye function.
This technology also promises to help stimulate tear production, alleviating dry eye conditions.
Intelligent helmets for cyclists
The Coros Omni smart bike helmet allows riders to listen to music, take calls and navigate with GPS thanks to its Bluetooth technology. Its ‘bone conduction’ technology converts sounds into vibrations and sends them through the cheekbones instead of the eardrums, allowing the cyclist to hear high-quality audio without drowning out important external sounds, such as a car or public transport horn, sirens, etc.
The Coros intelligent remote control allows you to skip and pause audio, change the volume, record GPS locations and answer calls without taking your hands off the handlebars. The helmet also has a light sensor that activates an LED safety light when it gets dark.
In terms of metrics, the helmet also offers all the other features you’d expect from a health application, tracking route, speed and pace, distance, calories burned, active energy, uptime and other data.
Apollo: the wearable that helps with stress
Developed by physicians and neuroscientists, Apollo is a wearable wellness device that uses gentle vibrations to help the body respond to stress.
Apollo is the first device that works with the user’s nervous system to optimize the variability of their heart rate (HRV), or the variation in time between each heart beat, and helps the user achieve a calmer, more balanced state of mind, for better sleep and greater concentration.
This device, which is placed on the wrist, familiarizes itself with the nuances of the user’s body as it is used and personalizes the vibrations to better meet the user’s needs.
Athos and her smart clothes
Today some companies like Athos are taking the term wearable to a whole new level. Serving athletes, Athos has created special shorts, leggings and T-shirts with built-in electromyography (EMG) and motion tracking sensors that map every muscle contraction and movement.
The sensors send that and other information (like heart rate) to the Athos application on the phone via Bluetooth, and there the user can see things like how much their muscles are working, which leg is stronger and much more. It’s a real breakthrough in the field of wearable devices.
This type of clothing is specifically created for users of bodybuilding, CrossFit, weightlifting or some strength-based training, since wrist wearables such as smartwatches or fitbands will not track these exercises as well as they do for cyclists, runners, etc.
Smart Belt Pro
Millions of people have fallen each year. For the average person, a fall is not as dangerous. However, a fall can be devastating, even deadly, for an older person or someone with other health problems, especially if they can’t get up on their own. The WELT Smart Belt Pro combats this risk by analysing the user’s walking patterns to detect the risk of falls before they occur.
The Smart Belt Pro provides walking analysis through sensors on the belt. It measures when the walking speed becomes inconsistent and detects abnormal symmetry in the user. Data can be shared via smartphones to help caregivers monitor patients. If the Smart Belt Pro detects an unsteady gait and an increased risk of falling, it sends a warning to the user’s phone.
Outside of the integrated sensors, the Smart Belt Pro looks like a normal belt. It is made of Italian leather with a silver automatic buckle. It can fit any outfit without looking like a medical device.
eSkin Sleep and Lounge
These smart pajamas are the perfect item for older people. The clothing is loose and comfortable, but able to detect falls, monitor overall activity and track sleep patterns. Sleep and Lounge eSkin can also differentiate between slips and falls, and trips and falls.
Bracelets, headphones, clothes, glasses, smart watches or smartwatches, running shoes with built-in GPS and bracelets or rings that monitor health status are examples among many other elements of this technological genre that is gradually becoming more present in people’s lives.
Under this conception, the wearable is no longer a strange device for the user who only used it in a defined space, becoming a factor that is incorporated interactively with him, in addition to accompanying him everywhere due to its small size.
The wearable market has grown exponentially in recent years, due to the constant demand for connection between people, places and things. The intelligent wearable devices are a perfect example of integration of advanced technologies towards objects such as glasses, bracelets, clothes and watches.
It must be taken into account that many of these wearables are used for health purposes, to monitor people’s health data. The growing demand for heartbeat monitoring, the need for daily activity monitoring and the increasing health awareness are driving the market for smart wearable devices.