The barrier between the individual and scores of useful health analytics, tracking and diagnostics is shrinking, promising a future where leading a healthy lifestyle will be as easy as getting dressed in the morning. The Wearables space is becoming an increasingly hot vertical, with large companies like Apple, Intel, Google, and LG allotting more resources to develop Wearable technology. One of the hottest industries being disrupted by Wearable technology is health and fitness.
While companies already working in this industry, like Under Armour, invested millions in Wearable tech months ago, other companies are beginning to see the value. Apple recently began to focus its resources on fitness Wearables with apps like Healthbook and new products like the iWatch. And this is just the beginning. Soon things like smart shoes that help people manage diabetes, smart tattoos that measure heart rates, and tons of other smart fitness tech will be commonplace.
In an effort to foster a dialogue and an exchange of ideas within the Wearables space, Plug and Play will co-host a quarterly Wearable Expo with Gizworld and Acommence Advisors. This will be an opportunity for startups working with Wearables to network, get in front of VCs, and hopefully get funded. Each Expo will address a different vertical Wearable tech is trying disrupt, with Health and Fitness being the industry focus for the initial March 6th Wearables Expo.
“Wearable health and fitness solutions and devices can help solve real problems by truly leveraging sensors, big data, and accelerometers. They could help reduce the cost of health care and improve the quality of life for millions of people. This market is so diverse, broad, and innovative,” said Julien Blin, Managing Director and Gizworld and Wearable computing liaison to Plug and Play.
While Wearable tech is making a lot of exciting promises, it still has a long way to go and many obstacles to overcome. Some of the biggest issues facing wearables are: cost, with Fitbit going for hundreds of dollars and Google Glass in the thousands; the ability to stay powered for long periods of time (which Apple is already working on); and aesthetic problems, because nobody wants to look like they belong on the starship enterprise. Except maybe a few Trekkies from the 80s. And William Shatner
But according to Julien there are other issues that need just as much attention: “One of the biggest issues is awareness. Getting approval from the FDA, especially when it comes to offering health diagnostics to users, will be a major obstacle for some of the Wearable health and fitness startups in the space. It will take time but it will get done. Other issues include fragmentation and the need to consolidate all the APIs out there. Privacy is another key obstacle as many users want to know if their data is being shared with third party companies.”
The upcoming Expos are a chance for wearable companies and investors interested in the space to engage with the progress of the technology and to find the next step in the wearable space.
“I want to discover the next Facebook or Google in the wearable computing space. This is the beginning of a long journey. My goal is to bring all the key players in the wearable health and fitness space together so we can discuss how issues can be solved, move the industry forward, and discuss where the industry is going. I expect partnerships to come out of these events that will shape the future of the wearable computing space. When you put great entrepreneurs, VCs, and big corporations in the same room, great things happen,” Julien said.
Julien has also offered 15 tips on how to create the best Wearable device here.
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