Wearable tech still has a long way to go before it is taken seriously by consumers. This was the general consensus of a roundtable Samsung Thought Leadership Discussion on ‘The Business of Wearable Technology’ that brought together key industry representatives and analysts this week.
The current crop of products - such as the smartwatches launched by several phone manufacturers – is proving slow to take off, experts agreed. Alan Payne, head of healthcare IT at BUPA, believes this may be because: ‘Smartwatches could be out of date in a few years time. The next stage is devices which are built into clothes.’
Experts from the fitness sector said wearables will only reach their potential if the industry gets the marketing right. ‘We first need to get consumers to adopt these things, and we need to work out how to convince them that they are a good thing. I’m not sure we have the answer right now,’ said Kasper Brehmer, sales chief at Endomondo, a sports community based on free real-time GPS tracking.
A Samsung representative said the public are interested in the products when they get to see them up close, but still don’t understand their benefits. ‘It comes down to what these products really do for you and how do they help enhance your experience?’ said James White, UK Head of IM strategy & mobile product marketing.
However, the services industry does appear to be taking the technology seriously and the impact of wearables is already being felt in industries such as education, communication and navigation. But perhaps the greatest potential lies in healthcare, and Samsung is intent on dominating this niche. Health and fitness has played a pivotal role in the development of its recent Gear Fit smartwatch and companies such as BUPA and Fitness First see the huge potentials of wearable tech for the industry.