CNNMoney (San Diego) – Wearable devices, and the apps that will make them useful, will be part of the mainstream thanks to the highly anticipated launch of Apple’s smartwatch on March 9.
Yes, I know that wearable devices like Google Glass did not do very well at the initial launch. The current series of smartwatches and fitness bands are good, but they’re not exactly mainstream.
However, I believe that Apple’s smartwatch will give the necessary impetus for people to start using wearable devices, despite all the opponents.
When Apple (AAPL, Tech30) released the first iPad, many said that it was just a great iPod Touch and that it would not gain popularity. On the other hand, I predicted that the iPad would usher in a computing revolution that would quickly be embraced by business and education.
Well here we go again.
It will only take a small percentage of Apple fans to buy a smartwatch for sales to skyrocket. Additionally, potential buyers will likely be swayed by social media as their family and friends post information about their use of their smartwatches.
Apple is expected to give more details on its smartwatch at a “special” event on March 9.
Also, pulling out the phone to see who is calling or writing you is a hassle. The convenience of looking at your watch to receive information and respond is a great advantage
To top it off, I predict that people will find more innovative uses for wearables once enterprising app designers start creating more apps for those devices.
But I’m not suggesting that Apple will dominate the wearables market.
Let’s face it, there are more Android devices than iOS. And the smartwatch business is full of competitors.
If you are smart, creative, and capitalize on market trends, you can enter the market and be successful, especially if you focus on niche customers.
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Here’s an example of how a tech company can play the cards in its favor: focus on those born at the time of the baby boom and their children.
A consumer electronics company could create a smartwatch filled with apps designed for people 70 and older. The target clients would be the children of those who were born during the birth explosion and now serve as caregivers, trying to keep their parents safe and healthy.
The watch would have sensors to detect the oxygen level in the blood, blood pressure, pulse, temperature, and much more. If the wearer falls, the watch’s accelerometer could set off an alarm and send a text message to the caregiver.
If the user has Alzheimer’s and is lost, the watch’s GPS and digital assistance will help get them home, and allow caregivers to locate them.
By catering to a rapidly growing niche, even unfamiliar companies could have the opportunity to build a successful wearables business in a field dominated by tech heavyweights like Apple and Samsung (SSNLF).
But it is not necessary to stay only with smart watches. The possibilities for wearables are endless.
Our ability to minitarurize, virtualize, embed and integrate will allow entrepreneurs to create a wide range of wearables that will revolutionize the way we live, work and play.
I predict that in the next five years, every business process, for example the way we buy, sell, communicate, collaborate, innovate, train and educate will be transformed by mobile and wearable devices. Niche markets are sure to drive the accelerated growth of wearables now and into the future.
Daniel Burrus is a leading futurist on technology trends and innovation. He is the author of six books, including the New York Times bestseller “Flash Foresight.” The opinions expressed in this comment are solely those of the author.