CES 2017: Growth in Wearable Tech Leads to First Las Vegas Summit

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CES Wearable Tech Summit

The next iteration of “hearable, feelable and wearable” technology—powered by sensors, solar power, apps and AR—have arrived and will be showcased at the inaugural CES Wearable Tech Summit.

“Your body is the new habitat for technology,” notes the press release for the Wearable Tech Summit. “You are what you wear.” Some 84 million wearables were sold in 2015, and the forecast is for threefold growth to 245 million by 2019.

“Smartwatches and fitness trackers have dominated the wearables industry sales,” said Robin Raskin, founder and president, Living in Digital Times. “In the coming year, we’ll see wearables expanding to headwear, our ears and garments, making our bodies the new habitat for technology. The innovations you’ll see and hear about at our conference, exhibit area and fashion show offer an impressive wow factor, that is getting to have very real-world uses.”

The summit defines wearable tech as follows:

“If it’s strapped, inserted or attached to your body, uses Bluetooth, the cloud and the internet there’s a good chance it’s a wearable. Glasses, wrist-wear, smartwatches, smart jewelry, fitness trackers, wearable cameras, virtual reality headsets, sleep caps. We’ll show what’s new, what’s working and what’s on the horizon.”

Brands such as Speedo, FashionTechForum, Evrythng, Fossil, Richline, FashionWare, and a Wearables Marketplace will offer 80 wearable products in action including hearables, outdoor sports location trackers, light-up and signaling clothing, and LINX smart cycling helmet.

CES Wearable Tech Summit

New health-related wearables from OrCam, QD Laser and Ming Young BioMedical along with wearable payment systems from Wearapay.

Leti, an institute of CEA Tech, will demonstrate a wearable device that puts measurement of alpha wave brain-activity into the hands of consumers. Using electroencephalography (EEG) to record the brain’s alpha-wave activity, the device called RELAX measures the level of alert relaxation with an embedded electrode system without sensors attached to the scalp.

Valencell, a leader in wearable and hearable biometric sensor technology, will showcase its PerformTek sensor systems that already power more biometric hearables and wearables on the market today than any other company worldwide. Ten new Valencell-powered products launched in 2016, including Bose SoundSport PulseJabra Elite SportJabra Sport Pulse Special Edition, the FIIL Carat Pro, all on display at CES.

CES Wearable Tech Summit

While wearable tech proliferates and the competition for a computer that fits on the wrist intensifies, it’s not necessarily an easy market to crack.

The business is already experiencing growing pains, reports The Wall Street Journal. Global shipments of wearable devices rose only 3% year over year during the third quarter, according to IDC. “That is the young category’s slowest growth on record, which is especially notable given that two of the biggest players in wearables—Fitbit and Apple—launched new devices during the period,” added the Journal.

Those two brand bellwethers say a lot about the market.

Fitbit introduced the Blaze at CES 2016 and is having “its slowest growth on record for the third quarter last month,” reports the Journal. “Its outlook was even more disappointing, with the company projecting low single-digit sales growth for the fourth quarter as it cited a “softening in demand.””

CES Wearable Tech Summit

While Apple never exhibits at CES and the company doesn’t disclose sales figures, the “other products” segment that includes the Apple Watch saw revenue fall 22% year over year during the September quarter, notes the Journal.”

Even Xiaomi, which sells fitness bands as cheap as $25, saw only 4% sales growth in Q3, 2016 according to IDC estimates.

Lenovo has no plan to update its Moto 360 while Pebble, one of the first smartwatches to market in 2013, is reportedly selling its assets to Fitbit.

The Wall Street Journal remains skeptical: “From a mass-market perspective, wearable tech still faces the problem of consumers not feeling a strong need to suit up.” 

Conference and panel discussions include:

  • Digital Health Summit
  • Digital Money Forum
  • Family Tech Summit
  • Kids@Play
  • Sports and Fitness Tech
  • TransformingEDU
  • Wearable Tech Summit
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