Wearable Tech: The Next Big Thing

The industry will be worth $70 billion in the next 10 years. The following examples will give marketers food for thought on how to monetize this opportunity.

I bought my first Fitbit Ultra in January 2012 as a cool device that could help me stay fit. Little did I know that I was joining the wearable tech revolution that would shape a $70 billion (Dr Peter Harrop, 2014) market in 2024. From on-body and ingested devices that can track your every movement to Google Glass, which allows you to take pictures with a blink, it seems like wearable tech will soon become an integral part of our lives.

On paper, wearable tech presents us with an opportunity to revolutionize our interactions with customers, partners, and even our own employees. However, the question is how can we monetize this opportunity?

The following examples will give you some for food for thought to apply this trend in your own industry:

  • Fitness: This is where it all started. E-wristbands like Nike Fuel, Jawbone Up, and Fitbit Force were the first applications to hit the market. These Bluetooth-enabled devices used accelerometers to measure activity levels and sync them with smartphones and PCs. The next avatar of these would be in professional sports to find ways to measure athlete’s peak performance as well as monitor their health and safety. The Zebra Motion Works sports solution is one such example. This technology involves placing a sensor inside a player’s uniform, which transmits real-time information about the player’s movement, distance, and speed via receivers to a smartphone or tablet, thus enabling better decision-making.
  • Health: “What can be measured, can be improved.” My transition to the Fitbit Aria wireless weighing scale was a step in the direction. After two years, I can happily share that I have achieved the goals that I set and improved my health! According to a 2013 (Technologies, 2013) study from Pew Research, 46 percent of people who tracked their health say that this activity has changed their overall approach to maintaining their health or the health of someone for whom they provide care. At the CES 2014, the focus was on wearable tech in health. An example of a cool device is Tinke, a device that can measure heart rate, blood oxygen level, and breathing rate just using your thumb!
  • Fashion: I find getting business suits and getting them fitted a pain. Well, it turns out wearable tech has an answer for that. Recently a start-up, Acustom Apparel, opened up a retail store in Manhattan. The company uses a 3-D body scanner to gather more than 200,000 unique data points to produce a 3-D body model. Using digital algorithms, the software creates personal patterns and customizes clothes to give a better fit. I’m not sure about you, but I’m going to visit them for sure during my next trip to NYC!

At this moment, most companies are monetizing wearable tech through selling devices and services. As wearable tech gets ready for prime time, it’ll offer a lot of opportunities for marketers. The devices and apps will provide personalized data about consumer preferences, allowing us to target consumers with targeted content.

As a marketer, I’m excited about what the future holds for wearable tech and look forward to finding ways to enhance the consumer experience and positively impact the business at the same time!

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