Smartphones are alive and well, but there's a next big thing coming in mobile: wearable devices combined with the Internet of Things (IoT).
It may not be immediately apparent to consumers, but this dynamic duo is on the fast track. ABI Research expects 90 million wearable devices to ship globally in 2014 and IDC recently predicted that the IoT market would reach $7.1 trillion by 2020.
One major turning point for the market may be the expected launch of an Apple "iWatch" sometime this year. Samsung and LG have set the table with new smartwatch releases (Gear Live and G Watch, respectively) and Google has chipped in with a wearables-specific version of Android called Android Wear. Of course, the company's Google Glass wearable has also stirred up loads of attention if not a widely available product just yet, but no company can awake a sleeping consumer (and developer) like Apple and all eyes will be on an iWatch release this fall.
Yet wearables won't be driven solely by consumer interest. Smartglasses, smartwatches, fitness trackers that attach to clothing, and health monitors worn on the body offer big opportunities for businesses to improve worker safety and productivity, capture and analyze important data, and create a more rewarding experience for customers.
Still, InformationWeek readers remain divided about the state of wearables and IoT, with many wondering if wearables will be truly useful and if the flood of data brought on by wearables will be properly managed and secured. But probably the most pressing concern is whether activity tracking wearables violate personal privacy.
These are some of the topics I'll cover when I talk to J.P. Gownder, vice president and principal analyst at Forrester Research, live on InformationWeek Radio on July 15 in a segment titled Beyond Glassholes: Why Wearables Have A Place In Business.
Other points we'll discuss:
- What types of wearables and IoT scenarios should we expect in industries like healthcare, sports, manufacturing, retail, travel, and others
- How to address worker concerns about personal data being exposed by always-on wearable devices
- How mobile app developers should prepare for wearables
- Predictions for how wearable and IoT technologies will evolve over the next five years
I'll interview Gownder live on Tuesday, July 15 at 2:00 p.m. ET (11:00 a.m. PT). Please register here to listen live on our site, and bring your questions, which you can ask us via our live chat feature. You also can catch the archive version. (On the registration page, if you're already an InformationWeek.com registered member, just click the login link at the top of the form. Once registered, if the audio player doesn't appear at first, please try refreshing your browser.)
I hope you'll join us on Tuesday, July 15, for the latest edition of InformationWeek Radio.
InformationWeek's new Must Reads is a compendium of our best recent coverage of the Internet of Things. Find out the way in which an aging workforce will drive progress on the Internet of Things, why the IoT isn't as scary as some folks seem to think, how connected machines will change the supply chain, and more. (Free registration required.)