While the market for wearables continues to grow, experts say there are several things that are needed before the industry sees widespread adoption.
1. Better Battery Life: If there was a leading complaint about wearable technology, it would be battery life. Apps like GPS and video can drain power rapidly. But that’s changing, with companies like Intel working on technology that would improve battery life. “We’re seeing a supply chain that’s developed for wearables,” says Dan Ledger, a principal and wearable technologies expert at Endeavour Partners, “and that’s leading to devices that are smaller, have better battery life and better features.”
2. Lower Cost: Wearable technology can be expensive. But as with smartphones, prices will come down as the technology becomes more widely available. “At the moment, smartwatches are essentially just an accessory,” says Andrew Bernstein, a project manager with developer the Demski Group. “You’re paying $300 to augment your phone. It really prevents a lot of people getting into it. The price needs to come down so it’s more accessible.”
3. Make It Look Nicer: In wearable technology, it’s sometimes better not to stand out, at least physically. Some companies, like watch developer Pebble, are making their devices look less like wearable computers and tech gadgets, and more like the analog devices they’ve been designed to replace.
4. Concentrate on Business Enterprise: Consumer adoption may have been slow, but businesses are clamoring for the technology, experts say. “Maybe it’s a little early for the consumer,” says Alfred Goldberg, president of Absolute Mobile. “We need to pay more attention to how wearables can be used by the enterprise. Create solutions more in-line for business. You won’t have the same concern of adoption.”
5. Be More Useful: Taplytics CEO Aaron Glazer said one of his favorite smartphone apps is one that sends him travel notifications, like when his gate changes at the airport. It’s useful, and it sends messages at just the right time. Going forward, wearables must have apps that fit in with people’s lifestyles, and provide benefits that aren’t available on other devices.