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What’s that Computer you’re not Wearing?

11 Feb 2014

We all have better things to do with our hands when we’re shopping, driving a car, or riding a bike than hold a device to our ear or hypnotically gaze into a screen.

It’s why consumers are especially attracted to the hands-free, mobile functionality offered by wearable computing.

Wearable computing, or “wearables” is one of those emerging trends that has been slow to adopt, but will soon explode. That’s because the technical hurdles that have stalled the adoption of wearables are quickly eroding.

In fact, Gartner Predicts that by 2020, consumer data collected from wearable devices will drive 5% of sales from the Global 1000. It’s all part of Gartner thought leadership around trends that are both disruptive and constructive.


By 2020, well over 150 million wearable devices will ship worldwide, led by the sports and fitness sectors. Nike FuelBand technology (targeting general consumers), combined with the Adidas launch of miCoach (targeting professional sports), are just two illustrations of how the human body’s transmission of information will trigger commerce.

Advertisers will likely use exercise data and eating habits (from devices like the Fitbit) to serve up relevant ads and offers.

Then there’s health care. Our increased attention toward personal health combined with a movement on the part of providers to contain costs — will trigger products and services that promote preventive measures.

Wearable technologies will also emerge in the huge disability market (such as aids for the deaf, blind, paralysed and elderly).

In manufacturing and distribution markets, wearable computers worn on the arm for hands-free operation will continue their popularity in field service and assembly lines and warehouses. Although Google has said it won’t give advertisers access to its Glass, consumers will use it to view ad-rich social sites, Web pages and Facebook news streams.

When it comes to wearable computing, all you need is some creativity and an open mind.

By Richard Fouts - Gartner