Wearable Devices: 8 Myths Debunked

 
 
By Michelle Maisto  |  Posted 2013-12-16 Email Print this article Print
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 

Wearable devices, from Google Glass to Samsung's Galaxy Gear, are for now "technical fascinations," Thomas Stuermer, a senior executive with Accenture's Electronics & High-Tech Group, told eWEEK. They present lots of opportunities, certainly. They can expand the landscape for back-end players like app developers, but they also offer untold benefits to enterprise workers, such as surgeons, who have already demonstrated how Glass can assist in surgeries, and provide consumers with a more efficient or even just fun experience. At least 46 percent of Americans say they're at least a little interested in a watch-type device, while 20 percent say they're very or somewhat interested in headset- or glasses-type devices, Harris Interactive reported recently. The report added that 49 percent of Americans expect wearables to be "just a fad." As companies consider how to capitalize on the growing market—fad or not—it's important for them to understand what the market so far is—and isn't, says Stuermer. "Right now we're seeing more questions being generated than answers," he said. To help set the record straight for potential investors, Stuermer and his team came up with eight "myths" about the current wearables market.

 
 
 
  • Wearable Devices: 8 Myths Debunked

    by Michelle Maisto
    1 - Wearable Devices: 8 Myths Debunked
  • Myth 1: Wearables Are Just Another Smartphone Form Factor

    The wearables market extends well beyond smartphones and even smartwatches. There are health trackers embedded in running shoes and smart clothing. One vendor has even exhibited a device, to be embedded in a user's tooth, that could monitor what a person has eaten. "The market spans multiple industries, applications and devices," says Stuermer.
    2 - Myth 1: Wearables Are Just Another Smartphone Form Factor
  • Myth 2: Consumers Will Quickly Embrace Wearables

    "We think this will be a warming trend, happening gradually, not quickly," says Stuermer. The public will need to be educated about wearables and understand what specific, unique benefits they can offer that no other device can. (Image: Harris Interactive)
    3 - Myth 2: Consumers Will Quickly Embrace Wearables
  • A Matter of Aesthetics

    "The industry is still seeking its first big consumer use case and contending with aesthetic issues about whether consumers find the looks of the devices appealing," Accenture said in its report on the myths. Apple CEO Tim Cook has said he thinks smart glasses are a harder sell than watches. "I don't know a lot of people that wear [glasses] that don't have to," he said at the AllThingsD conference in May
    4 - A Matter of Aesthetics
  • Myth 3: Wearable Devices Are Stand-alone Products

    Accenture believes vendors need to build ecosystems of services and applications around wearables. "These services in themselves will be disruptive forces, enabling users to achieve new things in new ways," Stuermer told eWEEK. "It's all coming together in different packaging. ... It'll be the value proposition [of the whole] that'll make it happen."
    5 - Myth 3: Wearable Devices Are Stand-alone Products
  • Myth 4: This Is Something New

    The first wearables arguably became commercially available "in 1974, when the first wristwatch with a digital display was unveiled," says the Accenture report. The term first began to be used, though, in the 1990s.
    6 - Myth 4: This Is Something New
  • Myth 5: Wearables Will Remain a Niche Market

    Quite the opposite will be true. Accenture expects broad sets of products to be offered across various industries. While consumer devices will need to be beautifully designed and unobtrusive, "Enterprises will be less concerned about aesthetics," says Stuermer, "and able to offer things like safety glasses and other tools that can help workers collect data and share it quickly. There's also a need for rapid response" that wearables could answer. (Image: From Google Enterprise)
    7 - Myth 5: Wearables Will Remain a Niche Market
  • Myth 6: Being First to Market Is a Can't-Miss Formula

    Fashion is going to be a major consideration in the success of the consumer-driven wearables market. "The key is to get the design aesthetic right, rather than just try to be first to market," says Stuermer.
    8 - Myth 6: Being First to Market Is a Can't-Miss Formula
  • Myth 7: Power Consumption, Battery Life Won't Be Big Deals

    Chip makers are going to have to rise to the occasion, delivering "the right balance of lower power and value-added functions," says Accenture. Wireless charging could also help, with users becoming more accustomed to setting devices on a charging pad on their desk or coffee table, letting them charge during downtown. (Image: Qi Wireless)
    9 - Myth 7: Power Consumption, Battery Life Won't Be Big Deals
  • Early Nudges for the Wireless Charging Market

    Nokia has helped to get users accustomed to the idea of setting devices on a charging pad, even partnering with cafes and airport lounges that now set out the pads. BlackBerry included in its new Z30 the same Qi wireless charging technology that's in Nokia phones, and Samsung is also on board.
    10 - Early Nudges for the Wireless Charging Market
  • Myth 8: Wearable Devices Are Secure

    "This is the furthest thing from the truth. Security is going to continue to be a challenge," says Stuermer, adding that software updates will be a way to keep devices appropriately secured. Additionally, from users recording video to driving to advertisers pushing highly targeted ads, "Feature regulation is going to be very complex and likely vary by country."
    11 - Myth 8: Wearable Devices Are Secure
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 

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