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UK Sees a Place for Itself in Wearable Fitness Monitoring Technology Industry
Wearable Tech World Feature Article
April 10, 2013
UK Sees a Place for Itself in Wearable Fitness Monitoring Technology Industry
By Tracey E. Schelmetic
TMCnet Contributor

While we’ve been hearing about wearable technology for years now, it’s generally been in an abstract “someday” kind of manner. A shirt that can change the music on your iPod? Wow. A wristband that can show you your text messages? Eventually. A small, wearable appliance that can monitor your blood glucose? We’re already there. With the imminent launch of Google (News - Alert) Glasses, however, the tech industry is getting interested.

What we’re likely to see in the near future is a jockeying for position in wearable computing, not only in its sub-categories such as communications, healthcare, fitness and entertainment, but in a rush for nations to make their mark in the industry.

The U.K. website, The Engineer, recently wondered if the current spike of interest really heralds a wearable revolution, and if so, how the U.K. can capitalize on it.

Rob Milner, a senior consultant at Cambridge consultants, told the site he believes that after more than a decade of hype, wearable technology is almost ready for its close-up.

“We’ve been working in this area for the last 15 years,” Milner told The Engineer, “and we have really seen an enormous peak in activities over the last couple of years.”

So might the U.K. be well suited to make its mark in wearable technology? Milner said there’s one area that plays directly to the region’s key strengths: the development of technology for monitoring and analyzing a user’s fitness and health.

“Google glass grabs the headlines because it’s such a striking product but actually looking at CES (News - Alert) this year there was a chunk of one of the halls that was completely occupied by fitness and well being accessories which were intended to be worn,” he said. “I think that’s where the volume is going to come from.”  

He may be right about that. According to IMS Research, 14 million wearable devices were shipped in 2011; by 2016, wearable technology will represent a minimum revenue opportunity of $6 billion, according to World Market for Wearable Technology – A Quantitative Market Assessment – 2012, IMS’s new report.

Much of this revenue will be centered on fitness-related applications.

Current wearable devices are concentrated around a few products mainly in the healthcare and medical, and fitness and wellness application areas, according to IMS Research. In these areas, there is a greater use-case for wearable technology in order to transmit data such as vital signs, and track user performance.

Edited by Braden Becker

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