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The Rise of Smart Wearable Technology Industry: From Fashionable Wearable Item to Health Monitoring Technology Essential




Wearable technology is an emerging trend that allows devices or electronics to connect us with our daily activities and drives us to become more involved in even the smallest aspects of our life. Its main functions of connecting to the Internet and transferring data from one device or network to another are key features that many users look for, making wearable technology a leading trend.

Trends and Key Players in the Smartwatch Game

Wearables certainly have acquired significant traction due to the rise of the fitness trend among many consumers. Cisco Systems predicted the number of connected wearable devices to have a big upsurge: from 593 million in 2018, gaining 1,105 million more in 2022. Furthermore, even the smartwatch category is expected to increase due to its innovations and features that fit its users' current lifestyles. Big brands in the smartwatch game, Apple and Fossil, are keeping their prices close to the price ranges of traditional high-end watches to maintain their revenues. Other top brands have joined the smartwatch bandwagon, such as TAG and Armani, thanks to Google's WearOS.

Woman using a white Apple watch

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But the new wave of smartwatches and other wearables are coming in with a fresher take on their functionality, and most of them are leading towards providing more than mere health and fitness tracking and update.

Smartwatches' role in the Society

For the fashionable and trendy

The demand for aesthetically appealing advanced featured products, with the ability to serve better the consumers' daily activities such as schedules, has triggered the demand for smartwatches worldwide. According to the International Council of Shopping Centers (ICSC), the massive millennial population has increased sales and demand for smartwatches. Their increased spending for their regular work hours tracking and luxury or fashion desires. Millennial expenditures are expected to increase across various major economies.

Close up of blue fiber optic sensors

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Due to these factors, fiber optic sensors (FOSs) have also been widely accepted as a substitute for traditional sensors in smart fabrics/clothing. And it is because of their miniature size and better metrological properties. Although it's not always the case, companies such as Lucyd focus on the ergonomics aspect in head-mounted displays. Through this reduction in size and weight, companies expect to increase the use of head-mounted displays across industries.

For the healthcare industry and hypochondriacs

According to HealthTech, smartwatches are now helping healthcare providers collect and analyze a wider swath of data from patients between their appointments or after surgery. This data provides crucial and very valuable insights that can help identify possible and proper treatment.

An estimated 198.5 million smart wearable devices globally will be sold by the end of the year, garnering an annual growth of 15.3 percent. Much of that boost is coming from adoption in the healthcare segment, according to IDC research. This tally includes wristbands, step-counting shoes, and "smart" clothing, and amazingly, smartwatches account for almost half of all the sales mentioned in the research. Additionally, the increase of smart wearable devices is also due to the FDA's 2018 clearance of electrocardiogram and irregular heart rhythm monitoring functions. A major increase in acceptance by health care providers happened in mid-2020, when the pandemic made visits by patients undesirable, and changes in FDA regulations made them easier to get to market. New payment codes made it easier for health care providers to get reimbursed when using them.

Highly Successful Engineering Design Projects

The smartwatch trend that continuously rises every year garnered potential and has inspired organizations such as Ochsner Health System in New Orleans. In 2015, Ochsner launched a pioneer program to better track uncontrolled hypertension among its patients.

Stanford University's study in 2019 revealed that the Apple Watch could identify heart rhythm irregularities, which can help catch atrial fibrillation, a leading stroke risk, with 84 percent accuracy. And to utilize this innovation, Ochsner now also utilizes the Apple Watch, which has benefited the doctors. The smart wearable device will send alerts about a patient's declining condition and be sent to the healthcare in-charge's wrist, even if they have gloves.

Female nurse smiling while she holds the arm of a patient with a medical device connected

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This groundbreaking innovation has reached other organizations as well. In fact, AT&T, together with the Healthcare Information and Management Systems Society, has a survey of hospital executives, which has found 47 percent of hospitals are now using and providing wearables to patients with chronic diseases. About a third of these hospitals issue smart wearable devices to improve post-op and preventive care.

Many manufacturers also embrace wellness and data-driven functions to help keep patients and healthcare providers aware and abreast of alerts and notifications. Samsung's Galaxy Watch's latest addition to its smartwatch line is its blood pressure function to track a wearer's blood pressure.

Another is Fitbit, which has broadened its scope from activity trackers and has partnered with Google Cloud so users can safely transmit health data to their doctors and their electronic medical records.

Additionally, other functions such as voice assistants from Amazon Alexa, Google Assistant, and Siri are great extensions of smart wearables, hearables, and hearing aids. Voice assistants enable communication with users. Some health care organizations began using voice assistants for delivering health information, although hospitals and health systems had not adopted them at a broad scale.

Check out this article on the convergence of consumer wearable and medical devices.

This smart wearable technology raises the bar for biometric measurement in the healthcare industry through "hearables." In fact, the ear is one of the best parts of the body for biometric measurements, where heart rate, blood oxygen, blood pressure, and temperature can be accurately measured. 

Smart wearable technology has opened many opportunities for new markets and user bases, so we can expect this trend to continue flourishing along with consumer needs.

Middle aged Asian man drinking coffe while sitting in front of an iPad on a tripod

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Witness the Fastest Growth Rate: Asia-Pacific

The market for smart wearable is expected to have the highest growth in Asia-Pacific. Its growing electronics industry, led by China and a rapid rise in disposable income in the Asia Pacific region, is behind the growing smart wearable technology industry's market.

Furthermore, the wearables market in China, has taken on a different shape, triggered partly by growing affluent consumers' purchases. According to a recent report by a government think tank in China, the world's smart wearable devices are approximately 80% manufactured in the southeastern Chinese port city and manufacturing hub, Shenzhen. According to the China Center for Information Industry Development report, the biggest R&D (research and development) and production center for smart wearables are in Shenzhen, the base camp of many Chinese tech giants.

Competitive Landscape

The smart wearable market is undeniably highly competitive and will be even more in the coming years, based on the studies and research mentioned. The market for smart wearable technology has gained a competitive edge in recent years.

Additionally, the key brands have made several efforts to gain a competitive edge in this fast-growing market, mainly catering to the millennial generation's demand for smart wearable devices.

Hand holding a black Apple watch series 3

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Samsung Electronics Co. Ltd launched the Galaxy Watch 3 in August 2020, its new product lineup. Available in 41mm and 45mm models, the Galaxy Watch3 has released both Bluetooth and LTE variants. Aesthetically, its stainless-steel version is available in Mystic Black, Mystic Silver, and Mystic Bronze. Its titanium model comes in Mystic Black color.

Galaxy Watch3 features infrared rays and red LED to estimate SpO2 levels. Also, with its enhanced accelerometer, the Watch3 smartwatch automatically detects hard falls. This smartwatch also records REM cycles, deep sleep, and total sleep time to score and help improve the quality of sleep.

Smart Wearables' Challenges and Potential

The increasingly massive pool of data that is collected aids in detecting potential issues before they arise. This beneficial feature can potentially lower healthcare costs as it reduces in-person medical visits.

Female Doctor putting on surgical gloves wearing a full OR outfit

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Due to the demand from both consumers and the healthcare industry, tech companies aim to develop and market affordable smart wearable products, making this technology and innovation available to more people.

The COVID-19 pandemic and the lockdown restrictions it incurred across the globe have greatly affected industrial activities. The electronics industry has been hit severely. Their supply chains and production facilities have been limited. The production in China and Taiwan was put to a full stop during February and March 2020, which influenced various OEMs worldwide. The upsurge in demand in 2021 has caused severe shortages of many items used in wearable devices, especially semiconductor chips. This has made it very important when designing new products to look carefully at the availability of parts.

Now, as one of the leading companies in new product design, embedded system design, medical device design, wearable device design, and IoT design, Voler Systems is developing more wearable devices than ever. We are focused on electronics, firmware, and software. We have close partners who are equally capable of industrial design, mechanical design, optical design, transfer to manufacturing, manufacturing, and logistics. With these partners, we can provide a complete product design from end to end.

About Voler

Located in Silicon Valley and with more than 40 years of electronic design experience, Voler Systems continues to be a leading custom product design consulting company providing high-quality electrical engineering and firmware development. Voler Systems ensures delivery of quality products, on time, on budget with low risk. All projects are undertaken with good specifications, the right people, quality design, constant communication, and a smooth transfer to manufacturing.



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