CCS Insight: Despite innovation, challenges remain for smart wearable devices

The past 24 months have seen an explosion of innovation in the area of smart wearable technology, and 2014 looks poised to be the "year of wearables," according to a new report from research firm CSS Insight. The firm there is growing evidence that gadget-hungry consumers are becoming more interested in this area even though current adoption is relatively low.

Although smart watches have existed since the early 1990s, hype in this segment has been ramping up of late, and CCS Insight notes that this is partly due to speculation that Apple is working on a smart watch, dubbed the "iWatch" by many. Samsung Electronics and Sony have also launched new products in 2013, with the Samsung Galaxy Gear receiving the most attention.

However, recent research by CCS Insight and On Device Research reveals that while awareness of smart wearables is currently surprisingly high, ownership of smart watches and fitness trackers is low and there is also an element of confusion about what "smart watches" actually are and do.

CCS Insight said it expects turbulent times in the wearables market for at least three years given the diversity of approaches currently being adopted by companies targeting this area, as well as the danger that early efforts are likely to disappoint customers and provide a false start for the whole market. Report