The dawn of the wearable devices began with the step counting pedometer. Today the wearable market has evolved significantly, with devices ranging from bracelets to chest straps. Current devices are much more sophisticated, offering the wearer the ability to monitor everything from calories to sleep. Wearable devices are about to get even more advanced as smart data and the Internet of Things converge to deliver consumers with personalized and predictive experiences.

Current devices on the market offer customers many similar features and benefits. The ability to track, sleep, heart rate, steps and calories are commonplace among existing wearables. Some devices like FitBit allow the wearer to set goals and monitor progress, while also having the capability to wirelessly sync all updates to other devices. Despite their features, many devices have had difficulties with hardware/software integration, resulting in faulty devices that have clunky, useless user interfaces. The potential for a better next generation device is there, it just has not been fully realized yet.

The future of wearable devices means leveraging the power of data and connectivity, a combination that will ultimately produce more intelligent wearable products. The experience should hardly involve the user, instead the device should learn from past behaviors to make predictions for future needs. The future device needs to be something that people will buy, wear, but most importantly continue to use. Below I will outline some requirements of next generation wearables.

Requirements for Connected Wearables

A connected wearable is one that uses sensors and a Bluetooth or wireless connection to sync and share information. The benefit of a connected wearable, being its ability to connect with other devices that pertain to health or exercise, say a bathroom scale, a refrigerator or your running shoes. Now, your wearable device not only knows what you eat through its connection with your refrigerator, it can communicate to your running shoes the most effective workout based on your daily food intake.

Requirements for Data Driven Wearables

Taking wearables one-step further requires the integration of smart data and predictive technology to further personalize the wearer’s experience. This data will pick up on habits of the device wearer and make suggestions and recommendations based off their behaviors. For example, next generation wearables should recognize the specifics of a person’s exercise routine notifying the user prior to their typical workout time and suggesting a route one step up from their previous intensity level.

The integration of connectivity and predictive smart data will ultimately give customers a wearable experience that is not only more personal but more useful. The future of the connected wearable device is not far off, according to ABI Research the market is projected to reach 170 million by 2017, as more and more companies enter the market.  It will be interesting to see which company will prevail and be the first to deliver a device that truly encompasses connected and predictive technology.