By Sharon Niv, Ph.D.
Technology market research group ABI Research recently released findings of a study that forecasted 41% yearly growth in the global market for wearable devices over the next 5 years. In addition to elucidating technological challenges for the field, this study predicts that by 2017, 90 million fitness and 80 million health related wearable devices will be sold worldwide.
Wearable devices have been steadily gaining popularity in recent years. With the rise of the quantified self movement, more consumers find that monitoring their health and fitness data provides them with valuable information with which to modify behavior.
For example, activity trackers such as Fitbit One, Basis, or Jawbone Up have already become prevalent among fitness-conscious individuals who want to track their athletic habits and performance. More advanced than classic pedometers, sophisticated devices of this sort may track different forms of physical activity as well as calories, sleep behavior, and heart rate, skin temperature, or galvanic skin response. Data from these and other products easily syncs to iPhone or Android devices for tracking and analysis.
Beyond fitness, current wearable devices include ones that monitor health behavior. Heart rate monitors, sleep monitors, automatic drug administration, and blood sugar measurement devices are penetrating the market through brands like Zeo, BodyTel, and Lifevest.
The report also predicts a considerable rise in home monitoring devices for chronic conditions and other health circumstances that require physician observation. These devices are expected to grow from less than 3 million in 2011 to 36 million by 2017. These changes are anticipated to noticeably improve quality of life for the growing senior citizen demographic suffering from conditions such as heart disease, diabetes, dementia diseases, and other chronic conditions.
Such findings highlight the benefits derived from personal data monitoring. This explosive market promises to enhance quality of health and life for individuals of all ages and levels of fitness and health.
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