Fitness Wearables Poised For Steep Growth
A new Juniper study has found that the fitness wearables sector will generate over US$10 billion in hardware revenues by 2020, up from an estimated US$3.3 billion this year, largely driven by sales of wrist-based trackers.
Meanwhile, Juniper expects “hundreds of thousands of connected garments used by professional sports teams” will “showcase wearable technology’s most advanced capabilities”.
“Already used in training to monitor performance, smart clothing will also become an important part of watching sports in the future, with leagues like the NFL partnering with Microsoft and Zebra Technologies to produce live visualisations of data and new ways for fans to understand each game,” Juniper states.
It will also mean that much closer scrutiny of players will be possible, given the ability to track wearers during every part of their day.
“Without clear boundaries for data ownership and use, biometrics could become part of sports players’ contracts, and even dictate initial hiring practices through predictive analytics,” research author James Moar commented.
“While wearables companies involved in corporate wellness have been very careful to ensure employers can only see aggregate data and that workers can opt out, pro sports have no such safeguards.”
While Juniper found that devices offering more advanced fitness tracking capabilities (such as heart-rate tracking and blood-oxygen saturation levels) are becoming more popular, capable apps will also be needed to make sense of advanced metrics, with vendors at risk of overwhelming consumers with data.