Commentary

228 Million Wearables To Ship; 13% of Households To Own A Consumer Robot

More wearables – and consumer robots – are on the way.

Forecasts for the future number of connected wearable devices continue to top each other, and the latest report continues that trend.

Shipments of connected wearables reached 73 million this year, according to a new study by Berg Insight.

But that’s nothing compared to what’s coming.

By 2020, there will be 228 million connected wearables shipped, according to Berg.

Back in August, a different forecast projected wearable sales to reach 172 million in three years, as I wrote about here at the time (Wearables And Getting Closer To The Consumer). And yet another study at that time by research firm Tractica pegged the shipment of wearable devices at 197 million within five years.

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Bluetooth will remain the primary connection option and 18 million of wearables sold in five years will incorporate embedded connectivity, primarily in smartwatches and people monitoring categories, according to Berg.

And at that time, consumer robots will become a bit more common, with more than 1 in 10 U.S. households owning one, based on yet another study.

Industrial robots that perform certain actions repeatedly have been around for many years, as everyone knows.

But the trend is toward the consumer robot, defined as an autonomous, mobile electromechanical machine that can be programmed and reprogrammed and is used in the home or has non-commercial applications, according to a new report from Juniper Research. A consumer robot also should be able to perceive its environment to some extent and react to it.

Since the robot can be programmed, a consumer must be able to directly interface with the device, likely through a mobile app or PC link, at least initially.

The number of American households with consumer robots will reach 13% in 2020, according to Juniper.

Key for marketers is that a consumer robot will need some type of visual capability so it can detect oncoming obstacles, and perhaps a screen, where messaging may appear.

What type of regulation, if any, will come along with consumer robots is still to be seen, since the deployment and adoption of new technology typically comes ahead of any boundaries. For example, starting next week, the U.S. government will require owners of consumer drones to register their device.

The growth of wearables and consumer robots coincides with the coming growth of connected and even somewhat driverless cars. (Am guessing no one is yet focused on getting those consumer robots to drive a car.)

The Internet of Things is not about small change.

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