The following is an excerpt from a KBYR Glen Biegel radio Q&A discussing Wearable Techlology.
Glen - Guest: Dr. Tracey Wilen
Glen: ...You recently wrote an article called fashion a new career in wearable technology. What is wearable technology?
Wearable technology, also referred to as tech togs or fashion electronics, is clothing and accessories incorporating computer and advanced electronic technologies.
Wearable technology spans multiple sectors. Beecham Research has published chart that shows the key sectors, applications and products for wearable technology:
Glen: What are some examples of wearable technology?
There are number of wearable technologies products in the market place today:
- Watches that synchronize with smart phones for phone calls
- Dresses that light up
- Twitter dresses (display tweets in real time) (Cute circuit)
- Nike wrist fuel bands that track your work out activity
- Google Glass are glasses that integrate augmented virtual reality and voice features into head gear
- In sports there are boots that charge cell phones
- Gloves that deaf and blind people can use to send text messages
- Shirts that play the drum
- Solar bikinis – the idea was to create a swimsuit that could generate enough power to cool the beer cooler (Clean Tech)
- Phone gloves
Some of the technologies may be far reaching and still evolving, but many solve problems and are quite practical.
Glen : Where are the most opportunities?
I think that healthcare is an area where there will be investment and growth. Mainly because people are living longer, interested in preventive health to keep out of the hospital or doctor’s office due to cost. I think we will see a lot of devices that help individuals track their data and use technology as a health advocate. Applications include Lumo Back (tracks sleep movement and posture), Thimble (smart bandages that send electric current to pain spots), 3-D printing pros ethics (replacement body parts), monitoring devices for newborns, wearable robotic legs Ecktoskeleton, and Taiwan sensors on teeth to monitor oral activity.
There’s also an automotive entry into the business, as Nissan has just launched the Nismo watch. The Nismo watch will allow drivers to:
- monitor the efficiency of their vehicle with average speed and fuel consumption readings;
- access vehicle telematics and performance data while on track;
- capture biometric data via a heart rate monitor;
- connect to the car using a smartphone app via Bluetooth Low Energy;
- receive tailored car messages from Nissan;
Glen : Is this a growing market?
According to ABI Research, by 2016, wearable wireless medical device sales will reach more than 100 million devices annually. The market for wearable sports and fitness-related monitoring devices is projected to grow as well reaching 80 million device sales by 2016.
- Research firm Gartner expects wearable tech to be a $10 billion industry by 2016
- According to IMS research, 14 million wearable devices were estimated to have been shipped in 2011. Of these 3 million units were fitness activity monitors with continuous glucose monitors accounting for most of the income.
- According to Credit Suisse the wearable technology market has hit an inflection point and will reach $30-$50 billion over the next 3-5 years.
Glen: How can people keep on top of these trends?
If this interests you as a potential career opportunity, I would explore it further. There are a number of conferences around the world now on wearable technology. Some are free and some charge. Regardless, you can sign up to their newsletters, feeds, and twitter accounts to learn about the industry. Wearable technologies.
Glen: What kind of jobs will wearable tech create?
I think this is an emerging in market. Job boards are currently posting several jobs for people who have technology backgrounds to help design the next generation of products. Once developed, industries will need people to market, sell, and distribute the products.
Glen: What would you recommend for someone who might want to pursue a job in the industry?
I would encourage people to learn about it and see if there is a sector that is of interest such as sports, health, and fashion. Then I would look at the firms leading in their industry and connect with them. At the same time individuals need to be practical about what their skills are and what the job requirements are. Firms hire people who can bring something to the table such as increased sales, distribution channels, and engineering development. Passion is important, but not the only thing that will get you a job.
Glen: Where can people find you, your information, and your speaking schedule?
My website is traceywilen.com, my Twitter handle is @traceywilen, and my Facebook page is DrTraceyWilen. I blog every week on the Huff Post about technology and careers, and speak often on the subject at conferences and corporations and of course I will be back on your show on Tuesday October 8th.
Dr. Wilen is on a corporate speaking tour on the topic of 21sty Century Careers and can be reached traceywilen.com, @traceywilen or by calling (650)-461-9122