In five years, Juniper expects wearable computing shipments to grow tenfold, reaching 150 million by the end of 2018, Juniper Research reported July 31.
"The actual take-up of CE smart wireless accessories will depend on whether companies succeed in creating accessories that will capture the imagination of the consumer," said Nitin Bhas, author of "Smart Wireless Accessories," a new report on the topic.
"Nevertheless," Bhas continued, "the multiplicity of potential use cases means that the consumer electronics category represents one of the most important areas in which smart wireless accessories will develop."
Juniper expects the fitness and health industries together to account for more than 50 percent of the devices shipped during the forecast period. Smart watches and smart glasses are expected to drive adoption toward the latter part of the forecast period.
Apple, like seemingly all of its competitors, is expected to be working on a smart watch that's to some degree likely to be informed by CEO Tim Cook's use of the Nike FuelBand. (At an AllThingsD event in May, Cook commented that Nike "did a great job" with the wristband, which lets users measure their movement and set goals.)
In March, Samsung confirmed that it's developing a smart watch, and Google, LG, HTC and Sony reportedly are as well.
"The market entry of players such as Apple and Google will further drive the adoption of premium wearable devices ... at the same time publicizing and educating consumers," Juniper said in a statement. It added that establishing a "multi-channel strategy" will be essential to securing a firm position in this new market.
Google, which has been slowly and deliberately making its wearable Glass product available to early users, has nudged open the gate a bit farther. On July 30, it sent out emails to those with its Google Glass Explorer Edition, inviting them to invite one friend into the fold.
"We love sharing glass with our friends, because adventures through Glass are more fun with others. Here's your chance to invite one friend into the Glass Explorer Program," Google said in its email, which Cnet reported was posted by Glass user Ryan Mott.
The friends need to be 18 years or older, live in the United States and able to pick up a Glass in Los Angeles, San Francisco or New York.
Google introduced the Explorer program in April. Those selected were given the opportunity to pay $1,500 to try out the device. While a mechanism attached to eyeglass frames, Google says Glass delivers the equivalent of looking at a 25-inch HD screen from 8 feet away. With a voice command, users can take photos, video, Google questions, send and receive messages and more.
Those who don't get tapped by an early wearer will be able to purchase a Glass later this year, a source inside Google confirmed to eWEEK in May.