The emerging applications for IoT sensors that are designed to be worn will become vast. The wearable technology market is forecast to rise from $24.2 billion in 2015 to three times that size in ten years -- creating a market of $74 billion in 2025, according to the latest market study by IDTechEx Research.
In addition to increasing demand for current enabling components and software, this market provides a large opportunity for new technologies as electronics move from being bulky devices to ones that can conform to the wearer.
As the traditional markets for consumer electronics devices begin to saturate, new markets are being explored and foremost among them is the evolution of smart wearable technology.
However, smart wearable gadgets thus far are mixed in terms of their success, consisting usually of bulky electronics with many limitations; power consuption being one of them.
About $1 billion was invested in wearables during 2014. According to the IDTechEx assessment, this level of investment will rise as the largest companies in the world compete for a slice of this emerging market.
The following chart provides the 2015 segmentation of wearable technology devices by revenue, excluding basic infotainment devices -- such as headphones and electronic watches.
Wrist-worn devices -- under Advanced Infotainment -- are currently the most popular and publicized area in wearable technology. Smart watches, in particular, have been extremely prominent in the media as these gadgets become more affordable.
Smart wristbands -- such as the Fitbit Flex and Jawbone Up -- have also become increasingly popular, with the market for health and fitness trackers being one of the key growth sectors.
Moreover, these devices are an extremely promising prospect for software app developers -- particularly in the open source big data sector -- who contribute to the ever growing need to counter the global obesity epidemic, without requiring lengthy and costly clinical trials.
Therefore, the health and fitness market has become extremely competitive and the incorporation of a broader range of more reliable and accurate sensors is key to making a device stands out from the ever-growing crowd of me-too vendors.
Wearable sensors are becoming increasingly versatile and mobile -- energy harvesting and storage systems are becoming smaller and more efficient and new e-textiles are just beginning to emerge. In fact, IDTechEx has forecast that $25 billion will be spent on formulations and intermediate materials in 2025, as a promising component of the overall wearables marketplace.