Apple Watch © Apple

Wearable Computing: Ready To Take Off

James McQuivey Trends

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Some have said that wearables are a passing fad. And in the very year that Nike backed away from its Fuel Band, it is bold to predict that in 2015 the number of people with a wearable computing device around the globe will more than triple. But it will happen, and the companies that make it happen will benefit for years to come.

Yet the coming wave of wearable devices isn’t about devices at all. It’s about consumer readiness to embrace a digital lifestyle that only wearables can truly enable. Sure, mobile phones make computing on the go more convenient. Wearables make it effortless and therefore even more desirable.

The companies betting on specific devices will fail. As we’ve seen, early wearables like fitness trackers were focused and functional or like Google Glass experimental at best. These were all developed with the hope of making the next hot device and even if some rise, they will surely fall. But don’t let that confuse you.

Individual devices can come and go, but the need to enhance your digital life with a full-body network of digital devices and tools is here to stay. But this suggests something most are missing: It’s the services that that full-body network enables that will matter, not the devices. That’s why, on the very day that Apple announced Apple Watch (top photo), competing fitness tracker maker Jawbone, creator of the UP band, announced that it would port its service to any device from any manufacturer. At Forrester Research, our research already shows us where on their bodies people want a wearable computing device (see figure below). In the US, 42% of online adults are interested in a wrist-based device; that’s a 50% increase over the prior year and thanks to Apple Watch the number will be even higher in 2015.


Forrester Figure Consumer Preferences Vary For Optimal Wearables Locations


On December 9th, on day one of Le Web Paris, we will take time to pause on the edge of 2015 and boldly explain why wearables are ready to take off.

I have pulled together a tremendous group of experts in the area, including J.P. Gownder, a VP and Principal Analyst at Forrester Research, named one of the 25-most influential people in the world on wearables. JP will present yet-unpublished Forrester consumer and business data revealing unexpected demand for wearable devices and services across Europe as well as data on how companies are rapidly shifting to wearables to make everything from retail showrooms to warehouses really flow. He’ll put the pieces together, explaining the five things you didn’t know about wearables that will shape the market’s evolution in 2015 and beyond.

We’ll be joined by David Rose, CEO of Ditto Labs and author of the book Enchanted Objects whose view on the wave of wearables beyond 2015 will shock you out of complacency. Cédric Hutchings, CEO of Withings will also be on stage, sharing his unique thinking about enabling a wellness-centered lifestyle not just with wearables but with a full complement of digital devices and services.

These are just a few of the leaders in wearables that will be on stage, but more importantly, you will be there, taking what you learned from these and other leaders and then making it your own throughout 2015 as you invest in wearable-driven digital lifestyle experiences that serve your customers effortlessly.

See you there!


James McQuivey, Ph.D. is VP & principal analyst at Forrester Research. He wrote the book Digital Disruption and is curator of the “Wearable Computing – Ready to Take Off” trend at LeWeb’14 Paris this December. Don’t miss his sessions! More on LeWeb’s Trends & conferences here.

Top photo: Apple Watch © Apple