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Juniper: Wearable Devices are the Next Big Trend

January 16, 2013 - Written By Briley Kenney

While some of you naysayers may be snickering at the idea of Google’s Project Glass, people who make a living analyzing the industry and market trends are remaining positive. According to research done by the well-known analyst firm, Juniper, wearable mobile devices may certainly be the next big thing.

Recent activity in the tech industry only proves said estimations, especially when you consider that the Pebble smart watch amassed more than $10 million through Kickstarter, with nearly 70,000 backers total. Sure, if you truly wanted to be a stickler you could say that the Pebble smart watch only represents one project out of many. Let’s examine the idea a little further.

While it’s easy to ignore the obvious appeal of wearable mobile devices, like the Autographer, it’s not easy to ignore the focus of colossal names in the industry. A USPTO patent, filed by Apple, cropped up in December, related to wearable technology or more specifically a Project Glass type device. Apple referred to the mystery device as a “portable presentation device”.

Juniper’s report essentially predicts the wearable device market will see a tremendous increase in support starting later this year with the release of Google’s famous Project Glass. This surge in the relatively niche market, will be “driven by the launch of augmented reality glasses and similar products from Google, Microsoft and Apple”.

According to analyst Nitin Bhas, the wearable device market will see a boon because of the big names in the industry.

“Google Glass will be made available to the consumer only by late 2013 and with players like Apple & Microsoft filing wearable device patents, we expect Apple to launch similar products in the medium-longer term.”

Bhas predicts that the highest selling products in the wearable market will belong to fitness and sports devices, like the Fitbit. According to Juniper, not far behind fitness devices, will be similar healthcare tools and equipment.

Of course, this wouldn’t be the first time an analyst missed their mark in projecting industry trends. It’s pretty early to predict how the wearable device market is going to turn out, especially since most of the products mentioned have yet to release to consumers. It’s certainly possible that people will reject the idea of wearing devices on their person.

I’d argue that the recent success of similar projects on Kickstarter proves otherwise, however.

“There are, of course, inherent challenges in forecasting a market which is early in its life-cycle. While Juniper Research has questioned key players on their expectations of the market for both their own projects and the market as a whole, we believe that only when several commercial roll-outs are underway can adoption rates be ascertained with a high degree of certainty.”

Bhas also goes further to say, that the adoption rate of wearable devices will be highest in the States.

“Juniper Research’s own research, corroborated by discussion with industry players, suggests that adoption will be highest in the U.S., but the anticipation is that usage will spread to selected European and Asian markets during the five years for which roll outs are forecast in the report.”

As a side note, that’s kind of conflicting information when you consider that fitness devices are quoted to be the best selling products in said market. This is particularly antithetical because so much of the US is obese. Okay, so I’m not being totally serious here, but that’s okay. Something had to be done to spice all of this information up a bit.

Now, please forgive me while I go get a McRib. They’re back, by the way.

Source: TechCrunch