Collaboration is King for Innovative Wearable Technologies in B2C and B2B Markets

by Peter Düking, Strategic Business Consultant at Wearable Technologies

Introduction

The market for Wearable Technologies is experiencing a consistent growth pattern and there are numerous types of devices with a multitude of applications. Wearables are maturing from products for early-adopters to consumer mass-market products and cannot only be highly beneficial in B2C, but also in B2B Markets. Yet, for business development purposes it is critical to identify the right collaboration partners from different industries to build sustainable products. Additionally, to gain competitive advantage, increasing brand awareness is crucial, especially for start-ups working in this highly innovative and competitive market.

Definition of Wearables and Market Figures

Wearable Technologies can be defined as connected electronics and technologies which are worn close to, on, or even inside the body. Wearables can have different form-factors ranging from Smartwatches to Smart Garments, head-worn Wearables such as Smart Glasses, Hearables or Helmets, and Smart Patches. We estimate that in 2019 around 550 million Wearables will be sold across all industry sectors with rising numbers in the coming years. We estimate that in the near future Smart Patches will make up to 30 % of the overall wearable market.

Users First!

In the past, many products failed because product developments were driven by technological innovations and without having the user and its needs in mind. This impaired mass volume production. A clear understanding of your company’s target group, whether that be e.g. athletes, medical doctors or factory workers, is the basis for Wearable Technologies to become mass volume products. Wearables need to be developed with an ‘identity’ in mind which evolves from the needs, habits, preferred activities of users. Of course, Wearable Technologies need to solve an (at least perceived) problem of the user. Developing and applying Wearable Technologies in such a manner will unearth a unique set of unexpected data enriching the customers (and companies) with information they previously have never had access to which is a fantastic starting point to enhance aspects of peoples life’s as well as for further business development.

No product development without collaboration

Collaboration is a critical element in any product or service development process. Especially for Start‑Ups it is almost impossible to develop every technological detail of a Wearable on their own, and reliance on, and cooporations with  educated consultants, SME and blue chip corporations in different areas is king. For example, Start-Ups can rely on the expertise of chip manufacturers such as STMicro, or the electronic printing capabilities of VTT, and/or the material innovations developed by DuPont and/or Datwyler Sealing Solutions. All of them have extensive experience in the field of Wearables and enabled many Start-Ups to develop different Wearables already.  Cooperating with such companies could also open doors for cross-industrial marketing of products. Often, technological innovations stemming out of the medical market can be positioned in the sports and/or the industrial safety market and vice versa.  This creates completely new business channels for companies. However, well guided strategies are essential not only to find the right collaboration partners which fit to your individual business,  but also marketing strategies need to be defined in reconciliation with the relevant target group and brand awareness needs to be created.

How to find the right Collaboration Partner?

If you want to learn more about the Value Chain of Wearables and who might be your potential collaboration partner, a visit to the conference and trade show series of the WT | Wearable Technologies Group, stopping respectively in Bangkok/ Singapore and Düsseldorf at the Medical Fair Asia and MEDICA, as well as in Munich, Melbourne and San Francisco.

Additionally, the Innovation World Cup ® which is the most established open innovation platform worldwide is a great opportunity for Start-Ups to  create brand awareness and to win prices to propel business growth. Participation is free-of-charge.

Reach out to us to get professional assistance in your journey of developing wearables!