The Week In Wearables: Company News, Forecasts, and More

Week In Wearables
Company News

  • On December 2, dosaVi Ltd., maker of wireless sensors for medical and sports applications, announced that its $18 million IPO closed oversubscribed and they plan to list on December 11. The IPO gives them a market capitalization of $48.5 million, and dorsaVi plans to use the funds to hasten the release of their products to the consumer market. Read more.
  • A recent patent filed by Sony indicates that it may seek to venture into the wearable space in a very interesting way. The patent is for what is essentially a smart wig that tracks blood pressure, detects nearby objects, and helps handicapped people navigate roads. Although no plans of a commercial release were announced, three prototypes were made.
  • On November 28, Flexpoint Sensor Systems, Inc., announced that 500 seat sensors were ordered for a fire apparatus safety system. This sensor system gives the apparatus operator the flexibility to apply the parking brake normally without additional maneuvers to secure the vehicle. The benefits of using their products, as Flexpoint typically points out, is decreased liability for fire equipment since the Vista System protects 24/7.
  • Misfit Wearables, maker of the Shine activity monitor, has recently raised $15.2 million in Series B funding. Li Ka-Shing’s Horizon Ventures led the round and previous backers such as Founders Fund, Khosla Ventures, Norwest Venture Partners, OATV, Max Levchin, and IncTank also participated.
  • AT&T has jumped into the wearable and senior monitoring market with their newly-released EverThere. The product is a wearable amulet that detects falls and automatically alerts a 24/7 call center for help. The device also contains a GPS signal to help responders find the wearer. The product costs $99.00 up front and comes with a monthly fee of $29.99.
  • An interesting comment from Plantronics CTO, Joe Burton, underscores their increasing focus on wearable technology. He talks about how the company needs to “shift to mobility … [and] away from normal phones.” They have already reached out to third-party developers such as PLT Labs to start development of conceptual hardware and software for potential wearable devices.
  • A recent interview between Motorola CEO Dennis Woodside and YouTuber Marques Brownlee cleared some air regarding their relationship with Google, involvement with wearable technology, and upcoming projects. Chief among them is Project Ara, which is an ambitious endeavor that seeks to revolutionize how we use our smartphones. A video of the interview with more information can be found here.

Forecasts

  • An article from forbes highlights some of the key areas where where wearable technology needs to improve in order to obtain mass consumer adoption. Among these areas are an increase in the functionality of smartwatches to justify the high price tags and more apps for wearable devices like Google Glass. Like a box of chocolates, consumers are worried that they don’t know what they’re going to get when it comes to wearable tech.
  • A recent study by Juniper suggests that wearable devices will number 130 million by 2018, implying that producers will become increasingly focused on this emerging market with the end-goal of spearheading broader consumer appeal and adoption.
  • An article from CNBC sheds light on why analysts today are not convinced that wearable devices have the mass appeal needed to spark short-term demand for these products. Although they acknowledge the huge potential for these devices to take off eventually, they are quick to highlight the nascent nature of the current market due to early-stage design difficulties and a lack of must-have features.
  • Gartner has issued new insights into the wearable market that does not bode well for the smart watch market. They found that consumers are being increasingly steered away from smart watches and more towards tablets and fitness bands. The reason for this shift, Gartner explains, is due to the high prices for these watches coupled with an “unclear value proposition”.
  • Juniper Research recently released new findings that project mobile smart wearable devices to reach 130 million shipments by 2018, a ten-fold increase from today’s levels. These increases are attributed to an increase in consumer awareness for these products as well as the influx of new wearable devices that have been penetrating new markets. Read more on VentureBeat.
  • A recent report titled “Disposable Medical Devices Sensors Market – Global Forecast to 2018” indicates that the market for these devices currently stands at $3,831.6 million with a CAGR of 10.1% over the next 5 years to grow to $6,212.7 million by 2018. More details can be found here.
  • A recent article from IT Business Edge highlights the increasing relevancy wearable devices will have in enterprise applications. Forrester’s J.P. Gownder states, “their utility as enterprise devices may prove to be the quickest route to the mass market should they fail to catch on as fashion statements.” Of course, with increasing adoption of these devices come concerns over security and privacy. Read more about it here.

Expert Opinions/Reviews

  • Marcus Weller, founder and CEO of Skully Helmets, Inc., recently discussed 10 design principles in wearable technology that he felt are important. Weller believes that the most successful products in the wearable space embody these ten principles in some capacity. Weller’s insight and the full list can be found here.
  • Bell Bethe Cooper of The Next Web discussed the 10,000 step rule and its relation to wearable devices in a recent article. Her anecdotal experience with both the Misfit Shine and the Jawbone UP reveal interesting differences between these two products in implementing the 10,000 step per day rule to increase physical health. Here is the full article.

Research

  • Researchers at MIT have recently uncovered technology that would allow for more accurate 3-D scanning and sensing. The technology represents a step forward from current 3-D sensing technology that is hampered by an inability to track transparent object. The applications of these findings have the potential to improve medical imaging and car collision detection. Read more about the groundbreaking findings here.
  • The Fraunhofer Institute for Applied Information Technology FIT in Sankt, Germany is spearheading the development of an armband that will change the way patients are triaged in emergency situations. Replacing the paper-based model that exists today, this eTriage device can transmit vital signs in real time, telling emergency responders whether the victim should be taken to the hospital or treated on site. More details on the armband can be found here.
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