Are Wearable Devices The Next Big Thing?

By: ispeculatornew
Date posted: 03.26.2013 (3:00 am) | Write a Comment  (0 Comments)

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fitbitYou’ve probably seen some of the headlines in recent months. Clearly, after mobile, the next big trend seems to be in wearable devices. It’s certainly early too call who will end up winning but it might not be too early to start investing into players that do seem to be off to a good start., Here is what I was able to find so far:
Fitbit (private company currently valued at $300M): Certainly one of the leaders, Fitbit sells a few different wearable devices that gather data about steps made, floors, sleep quality, your weight, to which you can also add information about food you eat, activities, etc. With all of that data, Fitbit makes it possible to get a better understanding of your lifestyle and make improvements to them. I’m actually a Fitbit user and love what they’ve been up to.
Jawbone (private company): Jawbone sells products that are very similar to Fitbit and also provide data to users concerning users activites and also has nifty features such as waking you up in the optimal phase of your sleep, etc.
Nike (NKE): Nike was one of the original players in the space with its Nike+ running program. That has recently expanded to Nike fuel which has a much broader scope but I do think that Nike had an incredibly opportunity a few years ago and has probably screwed up. Time will tell but its once dominant product is now usually rated behind competitors such as Fitbit and Jawbone.
iwatch2Samsung: In the most recent announcement of its S4 phone, Samsung also unveiled a S-Health initiative where it will be tracking a lot of user data through the phone but also by selling compatible devices such as a wireless scale, etc. Samsung continues to try to differentiate itself from other Android phones and is trying to make it easier for user to get this data without buying additional devices which certainly does make sense. The product has yet to be launched though so time will tell.
Apple  (AAPL):  The rumors are more and more persistent that Apple is working on an iWatch. What will it do? What will track? It’s not clear and there’s very little info to work on but most experts that this would be a tracking device among other things and could certainly compete with existing products.
Google (GOOG): By now, you’ve probably all seen the news of the upcoming Google Glasses and how they’ll reportedly transform our lives. The goal is to make data so easy to access and to integrate the mobile experience much better. There are so many possibilities but most people think this is either a genius project or will prove to be a total failure.

Does The Ecosystem Rule?

Most of you are probably familiar with my views on the importance of ecosystems and if that ends up being a critical part of the success of these devices, it will be very difficult for smaller players such as Fitbit and Jawbone to compete. Even Nike and Samsung do not really own these mobile ecosystems so it seems awfully difficult to assume they will come out on top competing against dominant products from Google and Apple which will completely integrated into their ecosystems. Time will tell and I’m certainly hopeful it will happen

It’s Only Getting Started

The most amazing thing is that we’re only seeing the first step of these products. I’ve read about basketballs that will have tracking and provide analysis of what was done right and wrong after shooting practice. I hear some of these companies have looked at tracking for golf and other sports as well. There is a ton of potential really. The problem is that right now, the main companies involved are either private or this is a tiny part of what they do so it’s difficult to make a bet on wearable devices. I will certainly be tracking this though as I personally believe there is a ton of potential

What are your thoughts? Do you own or expect to buy any of these devices? Who do you think will win this battle?

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