Wearable Technology - The Future is Now

By Jim Lefevere, International Business Leader, Non-Insulin Therapy Solutions , Roche Diabetes Care

Jim Lefevere, International Business Leader, Non-Insulin Therapy Solutions , Roche Diabetes Care

We have been riding the wave of emerging technology, data and ongoing disruptions for the last decade. Customers, or in this case, patients are now entitled. They have digital proficiency, increasing adoption of technology and most people are online, connected and empowered. Over the last few years technology has provided an environment where empowered customers believe they deserve something. Free next day shipping? 1-Click Ordering? Yes, please.

Wearable technology is an emerging trend that integrates electronics to the daily activities and fits into the changing lifestyles. It can be worn on any part of the body, but it is usually used as an accessory. The ability to connect to the Internet and enable data exchange between a network and a device is the driving factor that leads to wearable technology growth. As per Forbes, the wearable market is expected to grow to $27 billion by 2022.

Advancements in recent research causing increased innovation were instrumental in increasing the demand for the wearable market, which has led to new product categories like the smart fabrics, smart shoes, etc., that incorporate high-end technology and design in daily living. Lately, the focus has been on providing aesthetic design to devices to attract new customers.

The smartwatch category is also experiencing a boom owing to additional features beyond step counts. Companies competing in this category are Apple, Asus, LG, Huawei, Samsung, and Sony. Strong brands, such as Apple and Fossil, are keeping the pricing consistent with the price brackets of traditional watches to maintain the revenues. With Google’s WearOS, many other premium watchmakers, such as TAG, Armani, etc., have entered the fray.

Although the wearable technology is still in its early stages, the niche segments are expected to have a longer-term perspective. Changing consumer lifestyles and shift toward fitness, along with the need for advanced technologies for healthcare and security applications, are expected to drive the market in the coming years.

"Wearable technology is an emerging trend that integrates electronics to the daily activities and fits into the changing lifestyles"

Here is a look at some strengths and weaknesses that enterprising start-ups must successfully navigate.


Many companies are already deploying wearables in the workforce, and they have the potential to impact productivity and satisfaction and increase overall fitness. A use case for increasing productivity in a retail setting is being able to look product inventory and pricing information quickly and easily. Further, enabling employees to use the latest technology and efficiency in performing their job can lead to greater rates of satisfaction.


Wearable technology is still nascent and not widely adopted in mass numbers; healthcare may very well be the force driving adoption of this technology. While consumers want things for low-cost or free, they have shown that they will adopt if they are incentivized. For example, employer-provided wearables that provide data in exchange for cost break on insurance costs.

Fitbit is deepening its reach into healthcare with a new premium subscription service for users that offers coaching with a subscription service for uses that offers coaching and personalized insights mined from health data collected from its 27.3 million users.

Advertising and Content

Where there is a screen there is an advertising opportunity. Wearable allows the opportunity to deliver advertising with context and relevance, becomes a part of an experience and is highly targeted. It also opens tremendous partnering opportunity at retail too for in-store merchandising and targeted ads.

For wearables to be successful, they need to deliver data that drive meaningful actions. Wearable must be driven by human centered design and be simple, intuitive and provide an easy path to achieve goals. Price is also a leading prohibiting factor for purchase. Consumers are reluctant to buy new gadgets that don’t offer a distinct utility. Further, the primary challenger to wearables is entrenched and already in place – the mobile phone. There are also lingering concerns about privacy and security.

And yet for all the concern, consumers increasingly exchange personal information for value. The wearable category is ripe with opportunity to deliver on unmet needs in a very meaningful way now and well into the future. And the driver for mass adoption may not be the consumer at retail but through businesses offering a practical utility, value or incentive to drive adoption to the end user.

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