2014 “Year of the Wearable Technology Boom”
Dress to impress’ has taken on a whole new meaning in 2014 as more early adopters in the UAE are looking to sport the latest smart accessories, according to industry experts.
From smart watches and wristbands to high-tech footwear and jewelry, the sky is the limit when it comes to the indisputable potential of this rapidly evolving technology. Industry researchers expect remarkable growth, with numerous reports forecasting a wearable technology explosion as techies adorn themselves with innovative cyber gadgets to satisfy their craving for instant information.
According to the independent business information provider, visiongain, the global wearable technology market will attain a value of $5.26 billion in 2014. In addition, global shipments of wearables are expected to reach 19 million units in 2014 and to cross the 100 million mark by 2018, according to the International Data Corporation.
“What was once thought of as the defining feature of a sci-fi film is now becoming a reality as wearable technology takes the world by storm, and that includes the UAE,” said Faisal Al Bannai, axiom CEO.
“Information speed and mobility is a growing consumer demand, and the latest innovations in wearable technology offer consumers both conveniences.
“We are witnessing a significant increase in the popularity of these products, especially among our smart watches, activity trackers, and headsets. We only expect this trend to continue rising over time as this technology becomes more accessible.”
Among the most popular products at axiom is the Samsung Galaxy Gear, a smart watch powered by Google’s Android Wear that allows users to see notifications for new emails, texts and phone calls simply by glancing at their wrist. The device also allows users to track their smartphones by activating sounds or vibrations on their mobile phone via the Galaxy Gear. Composing messages, checking the weather, or scheduling a meeting are also possible on the go, all through the help of voice control.
Another item that is making both a fashion and fitness statement in the UAE is the Fitbit Flex bracelet, which tracks users’ steps, distance, and calories burned during the day. At night, it tracks sleep quality and also lightly wakes users in the morning. The stylish device syncs effortlessly to a PC or Mac, and mobile phones, giving users the motivation they need to stay active.
The anticipated launch of Google Glass, spectacles that allow users to complete a multitude of actions, such as capture photos or videos, search for information, track reservations, make calls, send messages, and share content, has helped launch consumer awareness of wearable technology at full-throttle. Companies, organizations and government entities are all looking for ways to leverage this technology to enhance their services.
Among the highly anticipated wearable technology are a range of smart footwear that not only allow individuals sporting them to track their activity, but also to charge electronics and measure their proximity to close objects, the latter a particularly useful tool for the blind. Fashionable high-tech rings, such as those developed by the New York-based Ringly, have also picked up popularity instantaneously. By using Bluetooth technology, these rings alert users when they have missed a phone call, received a text, Facebook or Twitter notification.
The innovation does not stop there. Manufacturers are now looking at developing e-textiles and fabrics that can monitor an individual’s heart rate, blood pressure and temperature among other vitals.
“We have only begun to scratch the surface when it comes to this technology,” Mr Al Bannai said. “It wouldn’t be far-fetched to say that one day you might be able to race someone half-way across the world using your smart shoes. What is available in the market now is just the beginning to a series of infinite possibilities.”