Study finds wearable devices need network connectivity to unlock full potential

December 05, 2017 // By Jean-Pierre Joosting
A recent study by Strategy Analytics has found that introducing the ability to communicate and combine information from different areas of the body could result in distinct use cases that will increase the value proposition of wearable devices with end users.

The main ntake-away from the report is that wearables that rely upon a smartphone for their operation are not truly smart – they are more equivalent to Bluetooth accessories and this makes them less compelling.

Other key findings of the report include:

  • Though wearables designed around core senses (i.e., sight, hearing, and touch) can provide useful benefits on their own, their inability to adapt to changing technology is inhibiting.
  • The introduction of distinct operating systems can enhance a wearable's longevity and adaptability; by not only facilitating unique functions, but also their ability to interoperate with other disparate wearables.

Mathew Alton, Analyst and report author commented, "While wearables like smartwatches are very much reliant on a paired smartphone for their functionality, smartphones and tablets operate fine on their own — the benefits of ubiquitous computing aren't readily apparent for these two devices. This has created a situation where the wearable has become an accessory to the smartphone as opposed to an independent computer. As a result, the number of interesting things it can do has stagnated."

Chris Schreiner, Director of Syndicated Research, UXIP, added, "Networks are the underlying force for change: by networking disparate wearables together, they can exchange information in a way that is more useful by combining sensor data from different areas of the body."

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