In this article, Sensors offers a definition of wireless wearable computing and looks at the market for this technology. In the coming years, it will likely be based on "smart fabrics" equipped with sensors which will offer biophysical monitoring or geolocation services.
Venture Development Corp. (VDC) defines wearable computers as hardware devices that meet, but are not limited to, these criteria:
- The hardware device contains a CPU (microprocessor).
- The device can either run user-defined software or be configured for specific jobs where it doesn’t have to run a multitude of software applications.
- The system is supported (worn) by the user’s body to give more of a hands-free computing experience.
- The computer ideally should be always accessible and ready to interact with the wearer through a wireline and/or wireless communication network.
- The device, most likely a “smart fabric,” may incorporate GPS, RF and a variety of sensors such as pressure, temperature, shock and vibration, etc., that can perform biophysical monitoring, location/position detection, and other helpful tasks.
The article also says why a company would consider buying and using wearable computing. But the real meat is a market analysis for the technology.
The market for wearable computing and sensors, a surprising $105 million in 2002, is expected to enjoy a 51.6% compound annual growth rate (CAGR) and exceed $556 million by the end of 2006.
In 2006, like in 2002, the largest segment for this market will be the distribution industry, with worldwide shipments growing from $63 million to $159 million.
But the segment with the highest CAGR will be the consumer market, according to this study. It will jump from $1.7 million in 2002 to a stunning $48.7 million in 2006. This represents an amazing CAGR of 131%. Of course, this is just a forecast... Please bookmark this article and come back at the end of 2006 to see what really happened.
Even the research company doesn't seem not so sure about its predictions, because it opens its crystal ball to see the future. What does VDC see? Read the article for more.
Source: J. Timothy Shea and John Gordon, Venture Development Corp., for Sensors, November 2003