Wearables have traditionally been temporary in nature. They are the fitness bands and smartwatches we have all come to know. But that field is expanding, and it is becoming even more transient.
No longer is the wearable limited to just a piece of technology you strap to the wrist; it has reached down to small patches, even temporary tattoos, that affix to the skin for a limited period of time to administer medication and transmit data via Wi-Fi to medical practitioners.
This subset of the field is rapidly growing. It is moving so fast that a recent study from Tractica, a market research firm, predicts that the current rate of 67,000 annual shipments for wearable patches will grow to 12.3 million by 2020 and propel revenue to $3.3 billion. Charul Vyas, the principal analyst at Tractica, commented in the firm's accompanying news release that these wearables hold great potential in their burgeoning market.
“The nascent market for connected wearable patches holds great promise, with the potential to improve the health of patients and contribute to lower healthcare costs,” Vyas said. “It is, however, still very much in the early stages of development and commercial availability. Connected wearable patches face a variety of challenges that must be overcome in the next several years in order for the market to thrive.”
There are always a number of barriers for new products when they begin their development. This set of patches and tattoos has a background of support, however, that should help it through the early days. First, there will be no shortage of populations with unique medical needs—everyone from the aging to the chronically ill—so there will always be applications for use of these devices. Furthermore, the medical community is always looking for ways to make treatments easier and more effective, and the potential for these wearables to follow patients, unnoticed, in their homes is one way to reach that goal.
In addition, wearables also have the support of the tech community that holds global conferences such as TMC (News - Alert)'s Wearable Technology Conference & Expo which will take place this July. This year's conference will features keynote speeches from Stan Kinsey, the president of Martian Watches (News - Alert), and Gary Davis, the chief consumer security evangelist at Intel/McAfee. The newest technologies in the field, such as wearable tattoos, are bound to show up in booths and in conversation, and that should have a strong impact on the potential for this part of the wearable market to grow as Tractica expects.
Edited by Dominick Sorrentino
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