There's no denying that wearable technology is on track to be the next big thing in tech. To put it into simple numbers, Transparency Market Research expects the wearable tech market to reach $5.8 billion by 2018, when it sat at $750 million in 2012 — amounting to a CAGR of 40.8 percent.
Meanwhile, the upcoming Wearable Tech Expo — scheduled for July 24 - 25 at the Kimmel Center at NYU in New York City — is a good gauge of the type of innovation that's occurring in the space right now. A quick peek at the agenda reveals panel discussions on wearable tech in the enterprise, healthcare and bionics and investing in wearable tech start-ups.
Speakers at the event include Michael Durwin, design and brand consultant for Google Glass; Tammi Smorynski, investment director for Intel (News - Alert) Capital; LUMO BodyTech CEO Monish Perkash and many more.
In fact, TMCnet recently caught up with Perkash to talk about LUMO BodyTech's Kickstarter success, the LUMOback. This wireless device comes in the form of a back band that vibrates when the wearer slouches, promoting good posture and preventing long-term back problems.
Aside from its initial $200,503 Kickstarter funding, which cleared the initial goal amount by more than $100,000, the company also received $5 million in Series A funding and has increased its customer base by 120 percent since the launch of the LUMOback. As an innovator in the space, Perkash had a lot to say about wearable tech and its future.
How would you classify the state of the market for your particular wearable tech device or technology segment? Is it tomorrow's tech or is it already a viable wearable technology?
LUMOback is available in the market, instigating improved posture and increased mobility for customers worldwide. Living in societies where we often work and sit for long hours at a time, it can be challenging to remain conscious of how we use our bodies and how that affects our well-being. LUMOback empowers people with actionable, real-time feedback on sitting and posture, which is scientifically correlated with back pain. Our solution is comprised of a discreet biomechanics-monitoring sensor, an engaging mobile app, and intelligent algorithms for a personalized user experience.
How important are smartphone and/or tablet applications to your wearable tech devices?
The LUMOback sensor connects wirelessly to a mobile app with a friendly avatar that tracks your posture and activities in real-time, mirroring your daily activities, whether sitting, standing, walking, running or sleeping. Access to this data increases our customers' understanding of their movement patterns (like time spent sitting vs. standing) and enables them to focus on and increase healthy behaviors. In addition to overall posture tracking, the LUMOback app currently tracks how many steps you take each day and what percentage of the day you spend sitting, standing, walking, and running. You can even monitor your sleep patterns and positions.
Can you explain how your gadgets and/or sensor technology changes the landscape for what is immediately possible with wearable tech?
Our patent-pending solution harnesses the power of human movement data to provide real-time actionable feedback and to enable healthy behaviors. Our technologies enable insights about movement, biomechanics, and health that previously were not possible.
What is your sense of what wearable tech will look like three to five years out? Will a lot of today's overt gadgets become less overt and directly connected to or embedded in your skin?
The goal of wearable tech has always been to augment your awareness while not getting in the way of social interaction. As wearable tech advances, it will certainly become even more integrated into our everyday lives. Whether or not that means that we internalize technology in our bodies depends largely on the challenge we’re trying to solve and how elegantly we’ve designed a solution. We already use technology like pace makers or lap bands to help us do critical functions so it’s not a huge step to see how we could expand to other areas.
Do you think that we will be sporting multiple devices or will singular gadgets evolve to deliver multiple features?
There is definitely some overlap in terms of features, and while some companies are working toward providing data on health and fitness across the board, most products tend to do one or two things really well and consumers respond to that kind of singular focus. It would be nice to have all your information and features on a single platform, but so far, there seems to be broad consumer acceptance of using multiple devices.
What kinds of wearable tech capabilities do you wish already existed today?
I want to see more wearable technology products addressing issues around movement and biomechanics. For example, could sensing technologies predict a musculoskeletal injury before it happens? Or provide real-time feedback on your running form so that they can become a more efficient runner? I’d also love to see a wearable tech that helps monitor air quality as we breathe — for those of us living in cities, this continues to be a growing challenge resulting in increased rates of asthma, respiratory infections, cancer, and complications relating to inhaling particulates. These are the capabilities of wearable tech that I get very excited about.
Will wearable tech evolve to include being always M2M-networked to everything around your home? Doors that will lock and unlock depending on who you are, kitchens that know it’s time to get your coffee brewing, etc.?
We certainly look forward to that day, where wearable technologies enable even our bodies to become part of the 'Internet of Things' and in some respects, this is already happening. Our vision at LUMOback is to give the body a voice, and in doing so, we deepen the interconnectedness between ourselves and our environment.
What are you looking forward to most at Wearable Tech Expo and for whom should this be a must-attend event?
I’m thrilled to be a part of and to see the demo sessions. I think the Wearable Tech Expo is a great event that brings together brilliant minds working to solve the biggest challenges we face with the most advanced and forward-thinking technologies out there. It’s a can’t-miss event for anyone interested in the technology space.
Edited by Rachel Ramsey
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