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The State of the Art in Wearable Tech - The New $10B to $50B Market That Impacts All of Us
Wearable Tech World Feature Article
June 25, 2013

The State of the Art in Wearable Tech - The New $10B to $50B Market That Impacts All of Us

By Tony Rizzo
TMCnet Senior Editor

Wearable technology (WT) isn't simply about gadgets. Sure, today you might think of Nike's Fuelband or Jawbone's UP or Pebble's smartwatch or any of today's new fashion-centric wearable tech outfits as being state of the art. In some ways, yes, these are in fact the state of the art – today at least.

But they also represent the very beginning stages of a market that is set to explode. We mention $10 billion in our headline - and that may be what the next several years will be worth. But in truth the next two to seven years - the timeframe that will take us fully into the next decade of tech wonders will see far more explosive growth - $50 billion is, we believe, a more real estimate of where wearable tech is headed before the decade is over. All of us will adopt wearable technology - it will happen without many of us even really thinking about it, simply because wearable tech is guaranteed to bring real changes to our lives in seamless ways that stay out of our way.

Imagine a larger world that will interact with us in ways we simply do not think about today. Many people today are still amazed that your car knows who you are simply because of the fact you programmed one of your keys to be associated with a certain set of features for whoever is holding the key, and because you were able to pair your smartphone to your car's internal electronics through Bluetooth. Folks - this is already yesterday's technology, and just around the corner lurks interactive wireless wearable tech that at least 98 percent of you don't even know is already possible.

Wearable tech already takes many forms - from the overt act of wearing a fitness monitor or a Pebble smartwatch - to less overt things such as say, a thermostat in your home simply recognizing who you are and what your personal preferences are, or a door lock system understanding it should unlock a door for you. From there we can move on to more profound things such as allowing a blind person to regain their vision.

Today's more visible players aren't necessarily the vendors that will be standing two years from today. For example, most readers are no doubt aware that Pebble Technology has a smartwatch - in fact for most of us Pebble currently defines the category. We'd also bet that many of you don't know that Sony has a smartwatch (and may in fact be planning to come out with a new one this week).

And how many of you know that Tissot (a maker of higher end wristwatches) actually had a smart watch back in 2005? We ourselves have owned a Tissot T-Touch (still a very cool watch), but our Editor in Chief Rich Tehrani (News - Alert) outdid us by actually owning and using the original Tissot High-T smartwatch - which he wrote about in 2005! This may be the earliest writing on record by a tech guy about a smartwatch. Rich also wrote about it when it was, sadly, discontinued two years later.

But Tissot, Sony and Pebble are already old news. Coming just down the road are VEA Design with its new Buddy Watch, Secret Labs with its new Agent Watch, and Kreyos with its new Meteor Watch. Will Samsung, Google (News - Alert) and Apple come out with their own designs? Very likely. Who will be the winner in this crazy market of pioneers? A good question!

A State of the Art Wearable Tech Conference

As much as some of the companies we are all familiar with are expected to play in the wearable tech market, today's wearable tech pioneers is a group primarily made up of very smart, primarily (though not always) young and energetic folks who are incredibly excited about and fully vested in the possibilities of WT - many of whom are not yet household names but will surely be so soon enough. We should know - we've been talking to most of them over the last six months or so and working to get many of them to come and join us on the absolutely coolest and most cutting edge project we've worked on in quite some time.

How cool? Let's put just a bit of perspective on it. We go back to the days whenMicrosoft's Windows events were bona fide big deals and we participated in them as a founding editor of Microsoft (News - Alert) Systems Journal as far back as 1990. We then built one of the largest and most important presences at Interop back in the early to mid-1990s when we were running Network Computing Magazine. Some of you may remember those days when it was a huge deal to be able to be able to turn on a network-connected toaster from a desktop PC - we were there. 

From 1999 - 2001 we were responsible, in our role as EIC of Internet World Magazine, for putting together the conference programs for the then huge Internet World trade show (where we progressed from making toast to pouring beer on tap through Web-connected apps), an age when mobility was still in its childhood and moving into the teen years phase (much as WT is today). We've been around for and have participated in all the major tech upheavals in very hands-on ways.

And yet, we have not seen to this day anything that will match what we believe will be the next true wave of technology as the world of WT becomes fully and seamlessly integrated with our lives. WT actually touches us not only from a technology perspective but also on a direct personal basis. We will begin to interact with the world around us in ways that only yesterday seemed more akin to science fiction than the real world. It is exciting and heady stuff!

We've therefore spent a lot of time speaking with our new WT friends and new colleagues and we have worked hard to assemble what we believe is the premiere WT conference to be found anywhere - either in the United States or in Europe. Have you heard of Sonny Vu, Jennifer Darmour, Dr. Robert Greenberg, Matthew Miesnieks, Greg Roberts, Syuzi Pakhchyan, Monisha Perkash, Skooks Pong, Benjamin Schlatka or Dr. Steven LeBoeuf? More likely than not you haven't…yet.

These folks, among many other very important WT and augmented reality (AR) pioneers and leaders, are the real names now driving the WT industry from the grass roots into the mainstream - and they are all participating in our upcoming conference. We know we're on the right track when the likes of CNN, NBC News and the majority of today's key tech gadget websites will be joining us for the event. But why let them have all the fun?

Join Us at Wearable Tech Expo

If you happen to find yourself in New York City on July 24th and 25th - and where else but NYC, which we think of as the mecca of wearable tech (ok, well, there are other metro areas that fit that bill, but NYC is number one in our book) - and you want to get up close and personal with where wearable tech is headed, come by and join us! We'll be at New York University's Kimmel Center, just a few steps away from Washington Square Park for our inaugural Wearable Tech Expo and Conference.

It isn't every day that those of you who are very interested in today's truly exciting cutting edge technology but aren't industry vendors or tech media can participate and be able to say you were there when it all began - at the ground floor of a new $50 billion market. Come and find out what follows networked toasters and Web-enabled pouring of beer on tap.

Check out Google Glass - there isn't anywhere else you will be able to do so or hear firsthand about what developers are working on. Or perhaps augmented reality players such as Oculus or maybe Thalmic are more to your liking and direct interests.

In addition to the full conference itself, from 4 to 7 p.m. on July 24th we will be holding our event Demo Forum, where our participants and speakers will each get 10 minutes or so on stage to wow our judges and our attendees with their products. Be among those to cast the first votes on which WT products are the coolest of the cool!

Well, if you've made it to the end of this story you should have a sense of our own personal excitement. And if you might be as excited as we are about WT - and you like the idea of being there at the very beginning, I've got a surprise for you. If you register for the event, use the promo code WTtony and get yourself a 50 percent attendee discount! Even better, go to our registration page directly from here.

We, Rich Tehrani and our extensive cast of WT pioneers will very much look forward to meeting you there - make sure to come and find us. And don't be too surprised if you also happen to run into a model or two walking around the show floor in their wearable fashion tech outfits.

Edited by Jamie Epstein

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