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Diabetes monitors set to dominate wearable technology sector

Market will be worth more than $6bn by 2016 according to new study

Nike Fuelband

Continuous glucose monitoring devices will continue to dominate the wearable technology market, according to a new study that predicts the sector will be worth more than $6bn by 2016.

Growth will be driven by an increased demand for actionable, real-time data, according to analysts at IMS Research, who point to a number of new areas expects to make a big impact.

These include smart watches, smart glasses, sleep sensors, industrial and military heads-up displays and hand-worn terminals.

But health and medical applications will make up the largest part of the market in 2016 and continuous glucose monitoring devices will be the largest single product category, according to IMS Research.

Senior analyst Theo Ahadome said: “A $6 billion market in 2016 is our most conservative forecast, which assumes that the adoption of wearable technology will be limited by factors including lack of suitable technology, poor user compliance and lack of an overall enhanced experience from devices that are wearable as compared to non-wearable products.

“In our mid-range and upside projections, product introductions such as Google's Smart Glasses and the rumoured Apple Smart Watch come to fruition and are successful. In addition, an increasingly self-aware consumer seeks more and more data on their health and fitness, leading to even more rapid expansion in the market for wearable technology.”

The sector is currently dominated by a handful of products with healthcare and medical, and fitness and wellness applications, with pharma companies like Abbott and medical technology firms like Medtronic already active.

But an increasingly diverse range of players is also active here, including traditional sports brands such as Nike with its Fuelband and Addidas with miCoach.

As companies like these and other non-health brands look to wearable technology, pharma runs the risk being outflanked when it comes to its target audience.

Speaking at the Think Digital event in June, Will Sansom, a consultant with Contagious, noted the way the Fuelband cleverly “connects the user into a much wider Nike-based service ecosystem, through which they're engaging with the brand every time they move”.

“I fully understand that for pharma there are inherent risks in terms of trying things like this … but if you're not taking risks then other people are going to move into that territory and it'll be guys like Nike.”

10th August 2012

From: Marketing

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