​Analysts see a wearable computer device (WCD) future

Posted by Trent Nouveau

Wearable computing devices are expected to significantly increase in popularity over the next year. To be sure, with a wave of new devices set to hit the consumer market, wearable computing could soon become the norm for most people within five years.

Indeed, analysts at ABI Research believe the potentially lucrative market will grow to 485 million annual device shipments by 2018.

"Currently, sports and activity trackers account for the largest chunk of wearable technologies shipped today. Smart activity trackers are widely available, and the device’s trendy and stylish appearance makes them very popular with a broad range of customers," explained ABI Research analyst Josh Flood.

"It is estimated 61% of the wearable technologies market is attributed to sport/activity trackers in 2013. Smartphone compatible watches are beginning to emerge, and rumors have materialized regarding Apple releasing a smart watch some time this year. Furthermore, we will see the arrival of the much anticipated, smart glasses later this year."

According to Flood, the furor about wearable technologies, particularly smart watches and smart glasses is unsurprising, as both technologies are quite fascinating, while some of the applications for the devices are rather inspiring.

"[For example], Apple’s curved glass-based watch could prove to be a revelation in the wearable technologies market. [Of course], the major question is whether the digital timepiece will act as a complementary device to the company’s iPhone smartphones or as a standalone product with other functionalities like health or activity tracking capabilities.

"[Meanwhile], smart watches offer extra usages for an item most people already own and commonly purchase. It may become universally expected for watches to include this functionality as feature in the future. Furthermore, the capabilities of smart watches could lead to the device being used as a wearable remote for home automation systems. A quick shake of your wrist to turn off/on room lights would be a very convenient tool indeed," he added.