Have everything you wear work for you this year. Whether it’s accessories, work, or even sleep wear, Smart is the operative word! Impressive innovations across smart technology are being refined constantly, and we’re about to find “smart” in places we couldn’t have imagined before! Wearable technology was one of the showstoppers at the Consumer Electronics Show 2020 held in Las Vegas January of 2020.
As the wearables market did not develop in 2020 as it has done in previous years, we see the same trends are valid for 2021 as well. So, move over Smart Watches or Activity Bands, here are our picks for top 3 wearable product trends for 2021.
The wearables market continues to grow: according to the IDC Worldwide Quarterly Wearable Device Tracker, the wearables market was on track to ship 305.2 million units in 2019 which is a staggering growth of 71.4% from 2018. Smart technology has transformed the way we do so many tasks while also empowering us to do much more.
Over many years now, consumers been bombarded with smart phones, TVs, thermostats, tablets, and other electronic gadgets and devices. However, the smart technology that will become de rigueur in this year is really taking wearables to the next level with some truly behaviour changing results.
1. Smart Rings – wear your health tracker, wallet and keys on your finger
We’ve written about smart rings in the past, and even though the first ones entered the market over five years ago, they have yet to enter the mainstream. We predict this year will see their popularity soar. Right now, smart rings are being used for several functions, including fitness tracking and health monitoring, making contactless payments, panic buttons for personal security, and being used as keys with smart locks.
Amazon launching the Echo Loop Smart Ring in late 2019 ushered in a new wave of Smart Ring development and there is a good amount of choice right now. In the wellness space, for example, there’s the Oura health ring packed with advanced sensors that basically keep tabs on everything going on with your body, including sleep and recovery. There are many other health tracking rings which not only count steps taken and calories burned but also monitor sleep patterns and enables you to quickly access online accounts with the sweep of a hand.
When choosing a smart ring be sure to check that the device has a good number of features to monitor the activities you want to track. Most of smart rings are only good for one particular purpose. Ensure it has Bluetooth capabilities and is compatible with your smartphone. Not only have smart rings the potential to be powerful, user-friendly, and provide accurate data, they can also be aesthetically pleasing. Portable, lightweight, and discrete without a doubt, these gadgets can also be stunning in design and beautifully crafted.
2. Smart Glasses – soon we’ll all be wearing them!
Despite being in relatively early stages of popularity and no doubt with many challenges yet to overcome, smart glasses are becoming more accessible and our second top wearable product trend for 2021. Smart glasses aim to seamlessly combine vision with the virtual world through the creation of an optical computer screen where the user can quickly and easily have access to various kinds of information in their eye line. Basically, smart glasses are a computer you wear.
Superimposing data onto the field of view, smart glasses collect this information through internal or external sensors. Encompassing most of the functions of a smart phone, they boast a range of capabilities that include lifelogging, activity trackers, and data retrieval from other devices. Most smart glasses support wireless technologies such as WIFI and Bluetooth. The aim is to make you less reliant on your phone. Instead, calendar notifications, time, weather, messages, and locations appear in front of your eyes.
Conveniences are plenty and can even extend to some smart glasses facilitating communication with the Internet via voice commands. Easily distracted? In that case, Glass Enterprise Edition leaves your hands free and removes distractions to ensure the user can completely focus on what’s most important. There are also highly specialized industry-focused models with specific functions to enhance safety and efficiency.
3. Smart clothing – the ultimate wearable tech
Imagine being able to take a photograph or play music from your smart phone simply by touching your sleeve? Or, tracking your body movements, temperature, and heart rate with the help of some small sensors concealed in your clothing? Although it’s far from the solidity of a ring or a pair of glasses, smart clothing is going even further to merge the physical and digital worlds.
Also known as smart garments, high-tech clothing, smart wear, and intelligent clothing, these clothing items are made with advanced textiles that have been enhanced with technology to add functionality beyond that of the traditional use. This is achieved through the embedding of powerful wearable sensors in the material. One emerging technology in smart clothing is energy harvesting where, for example, human motion, pressure or temperature could be captured into energy. We at Haltian are part of a research group looking ways how to collect energy from fabrics.
Another form of wearable tech could be said to be wearable robotics, like BrainCo’s BrainRobotics STEM Kit, which includes a flex-sensor glove that read the real-time position of you fingers.
What will be the next innovation in the wearable market?
With the all types of smart wear market growth expected to accelerate, more and more companies, not necessarily associated with technology, are getting on board. With relatively easy access to technology, jewellery and clothing companies as well as fashion brands are entering the wearables market. It’s also a new niche market allowing startup companies to make their mark in some highly competitive but new and exciting markets. The result? We can all look forward to many upcoming innovations in product development in 2021. For this year, the smart rings, smart glasses, and smart clothing are our picks for the most exciting wearable trends.