Close Up White Smart Watch With Health App Icon On The Screen

It should come as no surprise that sales of wearable technology devices are on the rise, but the adoption is happening at a breathtaking pace. A new study from Juniper Research in the UK predicts that unit sales worldwide will quadruple by 20117. According to a company press release, unit sales for this year are expected to reach 27 million, but by 2017, they will top 116 million units.

The forecasts cover a broad range of products: fitness, glasses, watches, multimedia, clothing, jewelry, healthcare, and enterprise devices. The report also predicts that more sensors with different capabilities will be incorporated into smartwatches in the future, providing a competitive differentiation and delivering additional functions. This will cut into the market for dedicated fitness bands, though the tipping point for smartwatches to surpass the bands probably won’t occur until 2017.

Juniper analysts also concur with other observers that the healthcare and enterprise applications are likely to provide the financial engine to power this growth, leading the way with more advanced devices. The report also points out that the larger players in the wearable markets are busy developing cloud services for their products, and other devices and applications will be able to “plug into” these resources though that will likely tie them to proprietary systems and platforms. On the other hand, this could free smaller companies to focus on innovative devices and applications, without having to develop the supporting infrastructure as well.

Clearly, the wearable Health Tech genie is out of the bottle. It’s not easy to predict where this will take us, but clearly the market is growing rapidly.