The Internet of Things (IoT) has entered the rapid growth phase. Millions of new devices are being added every day. According to a recent report from BI Intelligence, there will be 34 billion “smart” devices connected to the Internet by 2020, a huge increase from a mere 10 billion devices in 2015. That means factories across the globe will churn out over 24 billion new IoT devices in less than five years.
The massive data stream that will be generated by the IoT is both a potential treasure trove and a Pandora’s Box. Not surprisingly, marketers are salivating and making plans to exploit the IoT-fueled growth of Big Data, while privacy advocates and cybercrime experts are sounding warning bells.
Of note, one of the fastest growing sectors in the Internet of Things is the wearables segment.
More on expected growth of IoT
According to BI Intelligence, close το $6 trillion will be spent on developing the IoT in the next five years. Moreover, it appears businesses will be the driving force behind many IoT solutions. For businesses, the IoT can lower operating costs, improve productivity, and lead to the development of new products and new markets.
Government agencies across the globe are also interested in boosting productivity, decreasing costs, and generally improving the quality of life for citizens, which means these agencies will also become large-scale adopters of new IoT ecosystems.
That said, consumers are likely to be somewhat slower than businesses and governments in adopting IoT solutions, but within five years consumers should become the driving force behind mega-scale, globalIoT ecosystems.
Wearables driving the growth of “digital health”
Wearables are also a big part of the recent push towards “digital health.”
Digital health is a term describing how various new technological developments are transforming modern healthcare. Eric Topol (among others) has described how new digital technologies, social networking, mobile connectivity, rapidly growing computing power and Big Data will take advantage of wireless sensors, genomics, imaging, and health information systems to recreate modern medicine.
Wearable fitness trackers such as the FitBit Surge smartwatch(priced at around $250) includes a heart rate monitor, sleep tracking, food tracking and GPS functions. All of this information is collected by a slew of sensors in the device and can be used to provide more customized experiences or improve health outcomes for the user.
Moreover, the growth of new digital health apps and third-party support tools is gradually increasing the impact of Big Data analytics, and this trend is just beginning to gain steam. Health care industry analysts highlight that the age of “personalized medicine” is on the horizon, and that sensor loaded wearables will be a big part of this new health care delivery model.
The analysts also point out that the smartphone has already become the de facto sensor hub for wearables, and is rapidly becoming the preferred consumer engagement platform for both health care consumers and providers.
Latest trends in wearables
Digging deeper into the subject, we can identify three major trends in the wearables sector in 2016:
1) Massive growth in smartwatch sales
2) The first wearable products with technology integrated into clothing
3) Increased use of wearables in business
Smartwatches are the big deal today, with all of the major consumer electronics firms launching new wrist-worn devices.
The first couple of generations of smartwatches used Bluetooth to connect a smartphone, permitting owners to monitor their various physiologic readings, control the camera and music player as well as check messages on the small screen.
However, many consumers are not happy about having to use two devices. Related to this, a number of consumer electronics firms have recently released smartwatches with built-in connections so their owners can make and receive calls without a phone.
With smartwatches available at great deals from coupon providers like Frugaa, a number of manufacturers are already moving beyond purposed devices such as jewelry & headsets and are working to develop new types of smart clothing with additional functions.
Research firm Gartner anticipates that smart clothing (or smart garments) will become the fastest-growing category of wearables within just a few years, growing from a mere handful of sales in 2014 to at least 26 million unit sales of smart clothing-related wearable in 2016. As you can see wearables don’t appear to be wearing-out anytime soon.
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