IDTechEx's report on wearable sensors offers a thorough characterisation and outlook for each type of sensor used in wearable products, both today and in the future. The report has been compiled over three years of research, leveraging IDTechEx's expertise in areas such as wearable technology, sensors, IoT, energy storage & harvesting and materials. The report covers 21 different types of sensor, across 9 groups, characterising the technology, applications and industry landscape for this. The report describes the activity of over 115 companies, including primary content (e.g. interviews, photographs, visits, etc.) with more than 80 key players in the industry. Finally, the report provides detailed quantitative market forecasts for each type of wearable sensor, leveraging unique primary data from interviews, collated financial statistics and industry trends alongside IDTechEx's parallel forecasting for 42 different wearable technology product types.
As many wearable technology products rise and fall through the hype curve, companies are consolidating around the aspects of wearable products that add the most value. In many cases, these value propositions come from the sensor data. Fitness tracking and smartwatches have been built around biometric and activity data. Virtual, augmented and mixed reality devices rely on a suite of sensors including combinations of cameras, inertial measurement units, depth sensing, force/pressure sensors and more to enable the user to interact with the content and the environment. Medical devices often exist to directly monitor and interact with processes in the body. Other areas such as military products, PPE, enterprise systems and more are no different.
In all, IDTechEx's Wearable Technology research tracks over 42 different wearable product types. This extensive work over many years has been leveraged to provide forecasts in volume, price and revenue for 21 types of wearable sensors, across 9 product groups, with the split between revenue in 2022 as shown:
IDTechEx describes wearable sensors in three waves. The first wave includes sensors that have been incorporated in wearables for many years, often being originally developed for wearable products decades ago, and existing as mature industries today. A second wave of wearable sensors came following huge technology investment in smartphones. Many of the sensors from smartphones could be easily adapted for use in wearable products; they could be made-wearable. Finally, as wearable technology hype and investment peaked, many organisations identified many sensor types that could be developed specifically with wearable products in mind. These made-for-wearable sensors often remain in the commercial evaluation or relatively early commercial sales today, but some examples are already becoming significant success stories.
Billions of wearable electronic products are already sold each year today. Many have already experienced significant hardware commoditisation, with tough competition driving prices down. Even as wearable devices become more advanced, introducing more sensors and better components to enhance value propositions, lessons of history tell us that hardware will always be prone to commoditisation. As this happens the role of sensors only becomes more important; with hardware prices being constantly squeezed, increasing proportions of the value that companies can capture from products will be from the data that the products can generate. The key hardware component for capturing this data is the sensors, so understanding the development and prospects of sensors today is critical to predicting the potential for this entire industry in the future. Wearable Sensors 2018-2028 is written to to address the needs of any company or individual looking to gain a clear, independent perspective on the outlook for various types of wearable sensor. The report answers detailed questions about technology, markets and industry trends, and supported by years of primary research investment collated and distilled within.
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