30% of wearables to be unobtrusive by 2017

Enterprise Innovation editors
17 Dec 2014

Gartner predicts that by 2017, 30% of smart wearables will be completely unobtrusive to the eye.

According to Annette Zimmermann, research director at Gartner smart contact lenses are one such type in development. Another interesting wearable that is emerging is smart jewelry.

“There are around a dozen crowdfunded projects competing right now in this area, with sensors built into jewelry for communication alerts and emergency alarms,” said Zimmermann. “Obtrusive wearables already on the market, like smart glasses, are likely to develop new designs that disguise their technological components completely."

Gartner also predicts that by 2018, more than 25 million head-mounted displays (HMDs) will have been sold as immersive devices and virtual worlds will have transitioned from the fringe to the mainstream.

Interest in HMD devices, which power virtual reality (VR), augmented reality (AR) and other smartglass apps, will be such that, by 2018, the technology behind them will be used in a variety of consumer and business scenarios.

Even with a long history of HMD development, broad adoption in the consumer market has yet to take hold. That situation will change as soon as HMDs are offered as stylish, consumer-grade video eyeglasses. This will eventually drive adoption when paired with compelling virtual worlds and augmented real-world content.

Also, by 2016, biometric sensors will be featured in 40% of smartphones shipped to end users. Fingerprint scanning will be the primary biometric feature introduced by most vendors, given its intuitive and unobtrusive usage. Other biometrics such as facial, iris, voice and palm vein authentication will also emerge but will remain relatively niche.

Wearables will also feature biometrics as coupling devices to smartphones, but will mostly obtain the biometric information to be passed onto the smartphone where the intelligence and authentication take place.

Through 2017, one-third of consumers in emerging markets will have never owned a Windows device. In mature markets, Windows PC penetration is still high, which Gartner puts at more than 90% of consumers. This picture is different in emerging regions, where PC penetration is lower and some consumers have never owned or used a PC, and never will, owing to the proliferation of other mpre affordable internet-connected devices such as smartphones, phablets and tablets

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