Making Wearables Look Good
Connected devices are everywhere—in our pockets, in our homes, and even at the doctor’s office. The use of M2M and connected devices is becoming ubiquitous in everyday life, and that trend is set to continue, as carriers and other technology providers associated with M2M and IoT (Internet of Things) are preparing for the growth of wearable devices and NFC (near-field communication).
Wearable devices include everything from a fitness device to smartwatches. In 2014, carrier retailers plan to diversify products by offering a variety of wearables, handsets, tablets, and detachable and convertible PCs, according to ABI Research, www.abiresearch.com. This means consumers can expect to see more of these wearable devices in the future.
However, in order for wearables to really take off, the pricing model needs to be appealing to consumers. The carriers recognize this, and, as such, will use multi-device shared data plans and flexible subsidy to drive adoption and increase the average revenue per user, according to ABI.
Nick Spencer, senior practice director, ABI Research, says the right data plans, billing infrastructure, user analytics, and segmentation will ensure carriers’ use of subsidy is well spent across these new device categories.
In addition to the right data plans, another factor pushing the trend for wearables gaining momentum among consumers is the convergence of tech and fashion. A report from Beecham Research, www.beechamresearch.com, suggests now is the time to bring fashion designers and tech engineers together in order to create wearable devices that are both technologically advanced and stylish.
This new world of wearables and NFC will be explored in-depth at the 2014 Connected World Conference, which is located within the 2014 Chicago Auto Show, February 6-17.
A panel will specifically address trends related to how wearables can provide data from head-to-toe. Executives from adidas, www.adidas.com, Misfit Wearables, www.misfitwearables.com, LUMO Body Tech, www.lumoback.com, and GTX Corp., www.gtxcorp.com, will participate in the discussion.
adidas, for example, offers SMART RUN, a new watch that provides realtime coaching to runners, and has made tremendous strides in creating intelligent fabrics. The miCoach Elite team system uses sensor technologies, electronics, and wireless communication to monitor the performance of athletes in realtime and send the data to a coach’s tablet. adidas and Major League Soccer have integrated the adidas micoach Elite System league-wide this year.
Misfit’s Shine also provides consumers with a wearable device to track activity levels and set goals related to physical activity, while LUMO Body offers a wearable device that vibrates to remind consumers to sit straight. GTX, on the other hand, makes GPS shoes that allow for tracking of loved ones.
Bringing these wearable devices to market requires a lot of work on the part of the M2M industry. With that, big considerations exist for all parties involved. For instance, with the rising use of devices comes an increase in the amount of data used.
The question of spectrum has long been one the carriers have had to address. ABI Research says spectrum repurposing is gaining momentum—in particular, VoLTE (voice-over-LTE), which is an effort to move voice calls from the circuit switched 2G and 3G networks to the packet switched LTE networks. ABI says the launch of VoLTE will take place with major carriers first in South Korea and soon in the United States.
At the same time, the 2G sunset also presents a major task for the M2M industry, due to the fact a large number of devices will need to be replaced in roughly three years. Many have tried to address this concern for the market, and some interesting suggestions for how to deal with the coming 2G sunset are examined in a new whitepaper.
The end result for the consumer will be more devices for work and play, and a whole new world of wearables and NFC.
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