While the term “wearable technology” gets thrown around a lot these days, it’s important to understand that there are several sub-sectors of this increasingly important industry. While the most visible wearable technology might be gadgets such as Google (News - Alert) Glass, the search giant’s “smart glasses” that are expected to be widely released this year, the lion’s share of sales thus far has been in the fitness monitoring industry.
What started out as rather uncomplicated wrist watches that measured pulse has turned into “smart” and connected devices that can collect and store vast quantities of biometric information such as oxygen saturation (SPO2), heart rate, temperature, blood pressure and water content in the body among several other intelligent diagnostic parameters. While measuring these stats do have a fitness application, they also have a medical monitoring application, and growth is expected to be robust in that sub-sector, as well.
According to a new report released by Transparency Market Research called, "Wearable Medical Devices Market (Heart Rate Monitors, Activity Monitors, ECG, Pulse (News - Alert) Oximeters, EEG, EMG, Glucose/Insulin Management, Pain Management, Wearable Respiratory Therapy) - Global Industry Analysis, Size, Share, Growth, Trends and Forecast, 2013 - 2019," the global market for wearable medical devices was valued at $2 billion in 2012 and is expected to reach an impressive $5.8 billion in 2019. This represents a compound annual growth rate (CAGR) of 16.4 percent from 2013 to 2019.
It’s no longer simply about wrist watches anymore. There are smart phone applications that can test blood glucose, and some companies are working on wearable technology devices as complex as an “artificial pancreas” worn on the outside of the body to perform much the same insulin regulation function as a biological pancreas.
The Transparency Market study, however, measures only applications available today, which means that there is considerable room for upward growth in the marketplace as new products debut. The report notes that growth will be stratified by region, but is expected to be strong all over. North America was the market leader in 2012 with a market share of 44 percent. In terms of competition, the market is highly fragmented and there is no clear leader in terms of revenue considering the whole market.
Ultimately, the wearable technology market may merge with the telemedicine and teleradiology arenas, meaning that patients will be able to monitor vital signs using wearable devices and communicate with healthcare professionals and facilities to have their results recorded, read and interpreted, bringing them into the realm of “virtual healthcare” in which patients seldom see physicians, physical therapists or other professionals face-to-face.
To further explore this dynamic market sector, the Wearable Tech Expo at the Hilton Los Angeles/University City features keynotes by leaders from adidas Interactive, Fullpower, Plantronics and Vuzix as well as TMC (News - Alert) CEO and Group Editor-in-Chief Rich Tehrani, together with interactive exhibits and conference sessions.
Of particular note is today’s panel discussion happening at 11:10 a.m. PT called, “Quantifying Yourself - Do All Those Fitness Wearable Devices, Health Details and Graphs Really Make a Difference to Your Health?” The session will feature executives from Medibotics, Basic Science, LUMO Body Tech and Motion Technology Partners.
Edited by Stefania Viscusi
Wearable Tech World Home