Frost & Sullivan: Wearable devices need battery, data improvements to attain mass market appeal

Frost & Sullivan predicted that wearable devices will become a mass market proposition as improvements are made in design and battery life, and new usage cases are found in the field of remote healthcare.

The research company said the market for wearables is currently restricted by pricing, battery life, the accuracy and security of data, and weak business cases. Expansion will come as the market evolves to offer sustainable business models including subscription services, and enterprise and vertical specialisation such healthcare applications.

Senior research analyst Shuba Ramkumar said the company's research points to a market that will extend beyond today's popular, but niche, smart bands and fitness tracking devices. Future wearable devices, he said, will enable two-way communication between healthcare systems and end users, provided data systems improve.

"Though a number of applications currently address the business to consumer market, wearable devices will eventually offer support to healthcare institutions by sharing real-time data collected by the consumer," he said.

Battery life remains a key constraint on the market at present, the company stated. Many products use OLED displays, which together with complex functionality place high demands on power sources.

However, Ramkumar said improvements in "energy harvesting and wireless charging technologies will reduce battery issues" in the long term, which will help "wearables to capture the interest of consumers."

Data collection and security are another key area where improvement is needed to fuel interest in wearables. The research company noted that inaccurate data generation can affect consumer uptake of wearable devices, while the security of the information gathered by embedded sensors is another concern.

Frost & Sullivan said strict privacy and security laws are an essential component in addressing such concerns among consumers, adding that technology vendors, legal institutions and governments must work closely together to determine the future of wearable device data.

"Assuming battery and data accuracy issues are resolved, the real value of wearable devices will accrue as part of the Internet of Things ecosystem, enabling communication of data across devices," Ramkumar said.

For more:
- see this Frost & Sullivan release

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