Rise in wearable technology to be driven by smartphone growth

Rise in wearable technology to be driven by smartphone growth

The global wearable computing market is set to rapidly grow into a multi-billion dollar industry over the next year, according to research from professional search engine Reportlinker.com.

Wearable Computing: Technologies, Applications and Global Markets says that the market will grow at a compound annual growth rate of 43.4% from around US$5 billion forecast for 2013 to US$9.2 billion in 2014 and more than US$30.2 billion in 2018.

The report adds that the key market driver for wearable computing is the soaring global popularity of smartphones.

At the moment, the market is at a relatively nascent stage and with shipment of 20 million units in 2012 (US$800 million).

The report said: “Traditional markets for wearable devices have primarily been focused on non-consumer niche applications including those in healthcare, defence/security, enterprise and industrial markets. However, recent advances in materials sciences, electronics, photonics and software are enabling a potentially vast range of new lightweight, wearable computing products to emerge.

“These technology advances are not only growing traditional non-consumer markets but are also enabling a number of new consumer applications to emerge. Wearables are poised to go mainstream.”

IDC has forecast that shipment volumes will exceed 19 million units in 2014 and the global market will rise to 111.9 million units in 2018, a growth rate of 78.4%.

The research company says that to succeed, smart wearable vendors must convince users to shift to a new user experience while offering them a robust selection of third-party applications.

This report follows the news that Microsoft is set to get into the wearable technology market with the launch of a smartphone.

The US Patent and Trademark Office released the documents outlining the functionality of this product last week.

Microsoft also acquired patents in March for augmented reality intellectual property worth up to US$150 million from Osterhout Design Group (pictured above).

The San Francisco-based company develops wearable technology accessories, such as head-mounted technology for industry and the military (not, currently, consumers), with the US government being its biggest customer.

To access the full report, visit the Reportlinker website.

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