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August 09, 2012

Wearable Wireless Device Market to Crest to $6 Billion in Four Years

You thought you’ve seen a wearable wireless device for every purpose out there – measuring your heartbeat after a run, how much and how well you sleep, even how high your grandma’s glucose levels are while she’s watching her soaps on the sofa at home.

But Lucas Mearian reported at that the devices will grow from 14 million items this year to as many as 171 million in 2016.

And by 2016, the market for wearable wireless devices is expected to achieve minimum revenue of $6 billion, according to new research from IMS Research, a subsidiary of HIS, Mearian reported.

"A $6 billion market in 2016 is our most conservative forecast which assumes that the adoption of wearable technology will be limited by factors including lack of suitable technology, poor user compliance and lack of an overall enhanced experience from devices that are wearable as compared to non-wearable products," Theo Ahadome, senior analyst at IMS Research said.

Most of the wearable devices we’ve been hearing about are mainly for healthcare and wellness applications, such as glucose and heart rate monitors. But in the future, according to Mearian, “Devices for personal entertainment and military use will increase dramatically.”

Upcoming products, such as sleep sensors, hand-worn terminals, and industrial and military heads up displays or transparent screens that provide data and are attached to helmets will provide users with data they can use to perform certain functions, leading to even more rapid expansion in the market for wearable technology, Mearian predicted.

The Federal Communications Commission recently approved a Medical Body Area Network (MBAN) radio spectrum initially for use in hospitals, but over time instrument vendors say that “MBAN devices could be used at home, where 80 percent of healthcare services are delivered,” Mearian revealed in his story.

However, there are some concerns. Even though medical wireless devices and the data they carry will be HIPAA-compliant, information sent over wearable wireless devices will be transmitted over unsecured networks to public cloud service providers, meaning data integrity and security will not be guaranteed.

With data breaches being very common these days, they result in a cost of over $6 billion a year for the healthcare industry. 

Hence the devices and the needs they serve will come, but until some of the bigger issues are solved, we probably must think carefully about where and how we use them, for now.

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Edited by Jamie Epstein
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