Beecham Research and Wearable Technologies will be publishing a report on wearable technologies in July. We interviewed two of the bright minds behind this report: Robin Duke-Woolley (RDW) and Harry Strasser (HS). Read what they can already reveal about the report below:
1. Since when have you two been involved in the wearable technologies space?
RDW: I have been researching and analyzing the M2M market since 2001, and the wider Internet services market since 1997. Wearable technologies are closely related to connected devices and therefore a natural extension of what we have been doing – in particular closely related to consumer connected devices and the use of cloud services, which is a defining characteristic of M2M and Internet of Things solutions.
HS: During my role as Chief Strategy & Marketing Officer at Philips we started already in 2000 with first wearable technology projects in the sports and fashion industries. It was a niche segment for a while. By now the ecosystem is getting ¬ready for early mass market deployment in various key industries such as sports, wellness and health. Being fascinated by this subject I recently joined Wearable Technologies as Managing Partner to further expand this worldwide leading platform for innovation and market development.
2. Where did the decision for a joint research activity come from?
RDW: Beecham Research decided to do a first report in the area of wearable technology and quickly came to the conclusion that current research available in this area did not explore what we considered to be the full potential. We thought that it needed a new market segmentation and new approach. We approached Wearable Technologies AG as a leading authority in this space because we were clear that the two companies would have considerably more impact acting together. We are excited by the partnership of the two companies and believe that working together we can make a significant contribution to practical development of the wearable technology market.
HS: We were really happy when Beecham approached us regarding this report. Trend workshops have always been services offered by Wearable Technologies. Our team comprises of several experts from various areas of technology and with many years of in-depth market insight. This report is just a logical next step for sharing this knowledge with people that are interested in this subject.
3. What makes this report different from all the other reports out there?
RDW: There are many reasons why this report is different. However, the most important reason is that we see ourselves as market participants helping in the development of the wearable technologies market, rather than just observers. Much flows from this. We are introducing a new market segmentation comprising of seven sectors, because we think that will help to better communicate the extent of opportunities available. Our forecast methodology is organized around who we think will buy these products and services and why, rather than using the more classic technology-focused approach which we think is less appropriate. We have a deep understanding of the enabling technologies and when these are likely to become available. From our work in M2M we are also particularly familiar with the issues arising in complex value chains and have applied this to assess the key issues arising for development of the wearable technology market.
HS: I completely agree with Robin here. This report will try to answer the question if wearable technologies will finally cross the chasm and offers an in-depth insight into the building blocks of wearable technologies. It reveals a redefined technology and user segmentation for this buzzing field of technology. Additionally, with our deep insight into the entire ecosystem, we developed a comprehensive overview of the complete value chain of wearable technologies.
4. In your opinion, what wearable product still needs to be invented?
RDW: We think the wearable technology market is still in an early phase of development, roughly where M2M was a few years ago. There are wearable products yet to be invented in all key application areas – more than 30 different areas within seven key sectors. This is why the wearable technology market is at such an exciting stage – the opportunities are ready to be picked up and developed into many new products and services.
HS: The innovation pace is definitely increasing with many new exciting products and solutions showing up. With our WT Innovation World Cup we provide an excellent opportunity for start-ups and innovative companies from all over the world to present their solutions, promote the most innovative ideas, and to help them scale internationally.
5. There are many market figures out there on the web for the wearable technologies market, what is your estimate for the next 5 years?
RDW: The opportunity in five years is large, but the way we look at this is substantially different to other reports. It is not just about selling products and reporting projected numbers of those. It is about the part that wearable technologies can play in the wider trend towards an Internet of Things. In other words, towards a connected lifestyle. We see wearable technology itself as a key enabler for this, rather than an end in itself. In that context, projected shipment numbers are rather meaningless – the opportunities and implications are much more profound and extend into the connected car, the connected home, the connected “location” wherever that may be.
HS: With about 30 m wearable devices in 2012 wearable technologies are about to cross the chasm and generate sustainable growth in the years to come. The ecosystem of widely adopted smart phones, enabling technologies such as low power sensors, Bluetooth 4.0, highly integrated M2M modules, and cloud computing, as well as new app stores for wearables is getting into place. Innovative companies and start-ups across the globe are nurturing this new megatrend. Big brands like Apple, Samsung, Google, Nike and carriers will further push mass market adoption. Major players from other industries like healthcare, automotive, entertainment etc. are about to enter as well.
6. Why should people be excited about your talks at the upcoming Wearable Technologies Conference in San Francisco?
RDW: We aim to show something different and new. A new perspective that we think has not been properly explored to date.
HS: Our delegates will have the chance to meet with key players of the entire ecosystem, get exciting insights about major opportunities, and learn more about our vision for this vibrant market. We at Wearable Technologies envisage a connected world, where everything in people’s lives will have computing power, wireless connectivity, and a lot of sensors. Wearable technology solutions will substantially enhance people’s life and work style. I am looking forward to discuss and share ideas and expectations with you at the conference.