Written by Special Guest Blogger Noa Ghersin, Wearables Analyst, Lux Research
Lux Research recently held a webinar on the topic of how to build and identify good wearable solutions. The “Beyond Smartphone Clones: How Wearables Deliver Actual Value and Reshape Tomorrow’s Supply Chain” webinar can be downloaded here. Key takeaways from the presentation are described below.
Where most wearable electronics have gone wrong
Since the introduction of wearables, these devices have acted as a supplement to or extension of smartphones. However, with the likes of the Apple Watch and Fitbit – today’s most iconic wearables – being crappy versions of the smartphone, it is no surprise that wearables are viewed today as little more than nice-to-have gadgets. Moreover, developers of these solutions have witnessed low sales and even drops in stock. Therefore, there is a need to re-think how to go about building wearable devices.
Beyond smartphone clones: What good wearable electronics actually look like
Few wearable electronics are starting to deliver real value to users; from enhancing athletic performance, improving working efficiency and safety, to facilitating effective and convenient wellness programs. It is those wearables that look to augment the human – whether it be by improving volleyball training like Vert, helping workers manage their fatigue while on the job like SmartCap, or alleviating back pain through posture coaching like Upright – that have the potential to become truly valuable and witness success in the long-run. However, even among solutions that augment the human there are varied levels of “good.” Wearable solutions that are truly valuable and effective are those that sense well, analyze well, and make it easy to act on the insight they generate.
Applying the formula: How to turn a wannabe-smartphone wearable device into a compelling offering
We take Fitbit’s device as a case study for how this framework – sense, analyze, and act – can be applied to transform a non-compelling offering into an effective solution that consumers will actually want to use. Specifically, we suggest how Fitbit could become a valuable weight loss device by pairing it with other solutions (see figure below). By taking on Healbe’s automatic calorie intake tracking capabilities, for example, Fitbit will know both how many calories its users burn as well as consume. By taking on Habit’s abilities to recommend biology-based personalized nutrition, Fitbit will be analyzing information that will be valuable to the user. Finally, by partnering with a device like Pavlok, which helps users abandon their unhealthy habits and reach their goals, Fitbit’s solution could become a compelling offering that will provide long-term value to its users. Altogether the new, re-imagined offering provides a more effective, personalized, and ultimately – compelling – solution.
Looking towards the future: What will happen when we sense well, analyze well, and also nail the “act” stage
The shift to sensing well, analyzing well, and making it easy to act on insights will impact players along the entirety of the value chain, from materials and components developers to device integrators and even consumers. The shift to making wearables that sense well will necessitate development of new sensors, ones that can sense better, faster, and noninvasively. This will give sensors developers more leverage over device integrators. The need to also analyze well will bring along the emergence of companies who do just that – analytics for wearables. This will give device integrators the luxury of making the choice between building or buying analytics capabilities, but will also create more competition. Finally, the shift to making the “act” step easy on the user will require incorporation of new feedback modalities (e.g. haptics) as well as of new behavior augmentation techniques (e.g. penalization, gamification). As a result, wearables will become valuable for all types of consumers, independent of the level of specialization.
Noa Ghersin is an Analyst at Lux Research who leads the Digital Health and Wellness team. Lux Research provides strategic advice and ongoing intelligence for emerging technologies. Leaders in business, finance and government rely on Lux to help them make informed strategic decisions. Through their unique research approach focused on primary research and their extensive global network, they deliver insight, connections and competitive advantage to their clients.
About EWTS 2017:
The 3rd annual Enterprise Wearable Technology Summit 2017 taking place May 10-12, 2017 in San Diego, California is the leading event for wearable technology in enterprise. It is also the only true enterprise event in the wearables space, with the speakers and audience members hailing from top enterprise organizations across the industry spectrum. Consisting of real-world case studies, engaging workshops, and expert-led panel discussions on such topics as enterprise applications for Augmented and Virtual Reality, head-mounted displays, and body-worn devices, plus key challenges, best practices, and more; EWTS is the best opportunity for you to hear and learn from those organizations who have successfully utilized wearables in their operations.
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