After the novelty of the wearable device wears off, will consumers settle into device fatigue or out-and-out revolt? Who wants the whole neighborhood knowing you forgot to brush your teeth?
Hype or no hype, the Internet of Things (IoT) has proven itself an irreversible trend in 2014. The same goes for wearable devices.
As the IoT “becomes more personal and portable,” wearables will become “the fastest ramping technology device,” according to a Morgan Stanley Blue Paper published last month.
I don't doubt that.
Morgan Stanley's wearable forecast is bullish. Its analysts expect shipments to grow at a 154% compounded annual rate from 6 million in 2013 to 248 million in 2017. That projection is “more than double industry estimates and is arguably still conservative,” the report said.
In addition to this basic scenario, Morgan Stanley offers a 1 billion “bull case forecast for 2020.” That projection is based on the company's optimistic view on “enterprise adoption (in retail, manufacturing), subsidies for consumers (from insurance, employers), and new use cases (augmented reality).”
As many industry experts have long predicted, the adoption of wearable/IoT devices will accelerate in such industries as insurance and healthcare, the report said.
As Morgan Stanley points out, if manufacturing companies want to monitor employee efficiency and improve processes on the factory floor, wearable devices attached to each worker might do the trick. I get that. This is the upside for a lot of corporations.
What's in it for consumers?
But how do consumers benefit, I wonder. What incentivizes non-corporate people to go whole hog for IoT devices?
Current-generation IoT/wearable devices are often paired with smartphones and tablets. They usually have apps to decipher sensor data collected by a personal IoT end node. Alternately, the mobile device sends IoT data to the cloud for further analysis.
Either way, I find nothing objectionable with such a smartphone-IoT device pairing model. But here's the rub. Many IoT device apps today are lame and self-serving, if not totally ineffective.
Maybe it's just me, but I don't understand why people are so infatuated with their own personal metric.
Many wearable devices available today are designed to track our personal fitness level and health status — weight, heart rate, blood pressure, sleep patterns, activities, glucose levels, you name it. These narcissistic apps can turn all this navel-gazing data into neat charts. Yep, a snapshot of your life is packaged in infographics.
I'm supposed to be excited about this? My pulse rate?
Of course, knowing my general physical condition might encourage me to be virtuous and exercise more. I might think about buying a new bed after charting my lousy sleep pattern. But there are aspects of my life that I'd rather not see in a chart that pops up on my wrist or smartphone. Don't our bosses, families, friends, and Uncle Sam measure us enough already?
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