Christmas and New Years is a quiet time for investors. For professionals, it’s an opportunity to reflect on past performance, research, and devise our plans and strategies for the upcoming year. And the hot topic now is Wearable Technology. If you’re not on board now, you’ll miss the boat!
So what is Wearable Technology?
Wearable Technology is the incorporation of matching new computerised technology into everyday fashion. The most talked about apparel is Glasses and Watches, however, sporting apparel is also highly predominant.
Through late 2013, many technology speculators were anticipating Apple Computers announcing the highly anticipated SmartWatch, or iWatch. Expectations are that this device will sync with your SmartPhone or tablet device, allowing you easy access to applications. One can only hope it also tells the time!
But Apple are a little behind in this technology revolution. The Galaxy Gear has been on the market since September 2013, but has failed to live up to a revolutionary expectation. This puts more pressure on the iWatch which is rumoured to have been in development when the late Steve Jobs was instrumental in the Apple ideas factory.
During the battle between wrist wrapping products, another Wearable Technology product has been seen on the streets – the Google Glass. This is a head mounted optical display that is worn like glasses. Only difference is that there is only one eye piece, which projects information in front of the wearer.
Although Google has not yet released the Glass, it has heavily been promoting and driving online interest. As the world’s biggest online information source. And why wouldn’t you?
Smart undies or iBra?
Wearable Technology is not just wrist bands, watches or glasses. A little research online shows quite a diverse amount of products available. There is a ‘bionic’ contact lense that has been in development since 2008. Gloves and wrist devices for controlling computers or other electronic devices. Jewellery which is synced in through Bluetooth, and clothing that incorporates sensors, LED lights and Bluetooth.
In fact, technology is being woven into clothes to assist athletes in their training. Nike has produced the Fuel Band fitness tracker and has a series of shoes that incorporate technology for tracking of data for performance analysis.
How far this type of wearable technology will go is still uncertain, although it wouldn’t surprise this writer if our underwear started to incorporate technology. For what purpose? I’ll leave that to your imagination!
Consumer Electronics Show could unveil new products to the world
In Las Vegas this week, the annual Consumer Electronics Show will be held for 2014. Expectations are that there will be more Wearable Technology products, and Mobile Devices on show as Personal Computers (PC’s) are on the decline.
Smart devices and their accompanying Applications have become their own industry, and is growing at an alarming rate. This is one of the key factors behind the consolidation between Hardware manufacturers and Software developers in the smart phone space. For example, Microsoft has bought out Nokia Mobile; and Google purchased Motorola Mobility.
Statistics don’t lie!
A poll taken from more than 6 countries and including 6,000 people reflects a sharp increase in demand for Wearable Technology. 46% were interested in smart watches, 42% in eyeglasses, and 52% were interested in any type of wearable technology.
The global market for wearable medical devices was valued at $2billion in 2012, and is expected to increase to $5.8 billion by 2019. That’s an increase of 190% over 7 years, or an average or approximately 27% per annum. This study only includes the applications and devices that are available today, and doesn’t reflect any new technology that will reach the market during that time, and the increased momentum that it will produce.
So where do we invest in wearable technology – this exciting growth industry?
The predominant companies have already been mentioned: Apple Computers (NASDAQ:AAPL) , Google Inc (NASDAQ:GOOG), and Nike Inc (NYSE:NKE). Intel (NASDAQ:INTC) has announced their desire to expand into the wearable technology field.
Flying under the radar is Under Armour Inc (NYSE:UA). This company manufactures, develops and distributes branded performance wear. The stock price gained more than 80% in 2013, and is set to grow with the Wearable Technology industry over the coming years.
Thinking outside the square, suppliers of components to this industry will also benefit from an increase in production. Himax Technologies (NASDAQ:HIMX) designs and develops semiconductors (computer chips) for flat panel displays, and is currently the major supplier to Google.
Other companies diversifying in this field include: Abbot Laboratories (NYSE:ABT), Adidas (listed in Europe), Eurotech (listed in Europe), Garmin International (NASDAQ:GRMN), Medtronic (NYSE:MDT), Sony (NYSE:SNE), Suunto, and Zephyr Technology.
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