Wearables have made a lot of news recently, especially following the launch of the Apple Watch. The business is gaining momentum, as is evident from the 18% CAGR predicted over the next few years. According to reports, the global wearable technology ecosystem was worth $4 billion in 2012, and is expected to reach $14 billion by 2018. Currently, North America leads the wearable technology market, with an estimated share of more than 40%.
It is likely that the adoption of wearables will continue increasing with new devices pushing the envelope in terms of form factor, functionality and User Experience. A lot of the wearable devices provide real time data and feed. Applications that can provide and use the data will fuel demand and act as differentiators. The impact of wearables is already being felt in education, communication, navigation and entertainment.
But the greatest potential, perhaps, lies in healthcare, at the convergence of traditional medicine, fitness and wellness. Wearable technology has started to revolutionize healthcare by assisting doctors in the operating rooms, delivering remote care through video conferencing, providing real time access to Electronic Health Records (EHR) and others. A lot of companies, industry giants and startups alike, are looking for solutions that could turn nascent wearable technology like smart watches and smart bracelets from curiosities into must-have items. Already, devices in the market can monitor blood pressure, fitness, heart rate and diabetes.
Wearable technology offers much promise to improve the delivery of healthcare, especially with the advent of regulated medical devices. Despite the projected growth and burgeoning consumer interest in wearables such as fitness bands, smart wrist watches and Google Glass-like hardware, large scale adoption within the healthcare system will be slow. There are too many unanswered questions regarding compliance, interoperability, the economic impact of using wearables in healthcare and more.
I invite to share your thoughts on how you think wearables will make a difference to healthcare and what will be the biggest hurdles in getting there.