News Roundup – Winter Edition 2016

The first quarter of 2016 brought us many events like CES, ISPO, the 10th anniversary of the WT | Wearable Technologies Conference, Mobile World Congress 2016 along with many product launches!

CES 2016 :  Old friends from  WT  like MC10, Under Armour and Samsung, unveiled collaborations with different brands.

MC10 partnered with L’Oreal and unveiled the My UV Patch at the show in Las Vegas. The product is a stretchable skin sensor designed to monitor UV exposure that communicates with a mobile app via NFC. Under Armour unveiled an entire connected fitness product portfolio and app experience, designed to make athletes better. The line of devices includes the brand’s first smart shoe, and two models of wireless headphones. Under Armour is also announcing strategic partnerships with two leading global brands: HTC and HARMAN International Industries. On the other side, Samsung announced three Creative Lab (C-Lab). C-Lab is one of Samsung’s innovation programs and showcases the projects. For example, WELT is their newest healthcare belt that helps the wearer monitor their waist size by measuring their daily habits and behaviors; Rink is a hand-motion controller for mobile VR devices; Lastly TipTalk is a new user experience (UX) that enables users to hear sounds, transmitted through their own body. But this is only a small recap of what we found at CES! If you missed all the announcements read our full report!

Near the end of January WT celebrated our 10th anniversary! Wow! We can’t believe we have been working to bring this industry into a community for 10 years. Time has passed and technology has evolves, WT saw the first “wearable” in 2006 and is still pushing hard. Of course, the first few wearables to exist for the public market looked “weird” and too large – especially when compared to the devices we have now. CEO, Christian Stammel, spoke about the important changes within the industry; in case you missed our stop in Munich, we have a live report of Day 1 and Day 2. 2016 will mark the year of WT’s grandest world tour. Join us in a city near you to learn more about how the wearables market is evolving.

February was all about our love for mobile technologies at MWC. The WT team traveled to the beautiful Barcelona, Spain to make sure we don’t miss any new and exciting product launches. We learned that 2016 is the year for Contactless Payment! MasterCard and WISeKey have partnered to enable contactless payments on select luxury brand watches and other forms of wearables. The partnership adds new devices and brands to ongoing MasterCard programs. This allows you to charge payments to any consumer gadget, accessory or wearable devices. Coin announced a developer program for accelerating the integration of payments into wearables. The program will enable access to the MasterCard Digital Enablement Service (MDES) to securely digitize MasterCard payment credentials and further reduce the entry barrier for device manufacturers.  Another payment announcement was made by Visa Inc. The company announced that it is expanding its Visa Ready program to include companies within the Internet of Things (IoT), such as manufacturers of wearables, automobiles, appliances and much more. Regarding products it was also a big month for them, we gathered some of the most important devices here! 

Along with the MWC, we also hosted (for the very first time) a Conference in Barcelona! On the 24th of February the WT | Network gathered to hear great talks from industry leading professionals. The international exhibition area also brought us many successful products like Babypod, Neuroon, CardioSecur, Geeksme, FirstV1sion, Comftech or Twilio! To learn more read our live report.

An IoT alliance was formed by Microsoft, Samsung, Intel and many others to help devices “talk to each other”.  Made up of Microsoft, Intel, Samsung, Qualcomm, Cisco, GE Digital and others, the foundation aims to create open-source protocols any manufacturer could implement into their products. The alliance hopes to achieve this regardless of a device’s chipset or operating system. The alliance also wants to make sure that anyone that wants to create an IoT device can use its protocols to connect to devices from larger companies.

According to new data from Strategy Analyticsthe global smartwatch shipments reached 8.1 million units in the fourth quarter of 2015, up more than four times what it shipped in the previous year. In the same period, Swiss watches shipped 7.9 million units, down 5% from last year. This means that the number of shipments from Smartwatches was for the first time higher than the shipments of Swiss watches! Apple and Samsung led the growth – each accounting for 63% and 16% of the overall smartwatch market, respectively. We will have to wait until the Baseworld fair takes place to see how Swiss makers will respond! Save the date: 17th of March.

Sony announces hands-free wearable as part of new Future Lab Program. Sony has a new R&D project called the Future Lab Program, an effort to involve customers in the design process for eventual products. The program will “share concept prototypes with users while still at the development stage, and look to them for inspiration, leveraging their feedback to refine and evolve its projects.” The first of these concept prototypes is a wearable device currently referred to as N and hinted at in the video below. Sony says it has a “hands-free user interface that creates a new way of experiencing audio such as music and sound, allowing the user to receive audio information without having to insert any object into his or her ear.” Sounds cool but we will have to wait for that to know more about it! At least a week when it will be presented at the SXSW.

Winter was hot when it comes to wearables from innovative product launches, to outstanding partnership announcements. Let’s see what spring bring us!