Juniper argues “invisible wearables” provide key to mainstream market success

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Analyst house Juniper Research has released a new paper asserting ‘invisible’ wearables – hardware which is indistinguishable from non-smart technology – will provide a key market opportunity by 2020.

In a report entitled ‘The World in 2020: A Technology Vision’, made available for free download here, the analysts argue many wearables companies are mistakenly developing capabilities before aesthetics, limiting choices due to requirements of screen size.

Juniper asserts ‘fashion-first’ wearables will have a much greater appeal than their tech-centric equivalents, blending in with consumers’ lives more effectively. It’s definitely a view industry experts agree with; indeed, a panel discussion at the Apps World Europe event last November argued wearables should be sold in general retail stores, rather than tech shops.

The report notes invisible wearables will hit the market by 2019, with wearables that pervade the skin taking a bit longer to reach maturity because they require a significant change in consumer habits. Yet invisible wearables certainly appear to be the way to go. “There is room for many players in this market, as differences in aesthetic, rather than function, appeal to different consumers,” the report notes.

This publication has certainly noted the truth of that statement; for instance Cuff, which won the most beautiful wearable of 2014 in New York in November, as well as partnerships between technology firms and luxury brands, such as Misfit and Swarovksi.

“One of the best current approaches to this is prioritising form over function, to make devices that are aesthetically desirable even if they are not smart,” the report notes. “This will not be a strategy that every wearables company will pursue, as the appearance of tech may ultimately become part of an overall design aesthetic.”

The report also takes a look at augmented reality (AR) wearables, which Juniper predicts will fly in 2018. This is down to the breakthrough of complementary technologies such as beaconing and cellular M2M, enabling AR wearables to be used in their own right as opposed to a companion for a smartphone or Wi-Fi network.

Do you agree with Juniper’s analysis?

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