Is 2015 the Wearables Year?


Philip Stoten, Owner of EMSNow Media

Wearables were a big deal at CES (Consumer Electronics Show) at the very opening of 2015, mentioned in numerous keynotes and visible on many booths.  And just a few weeks later the Wearables Technologies event, sponsored by Flextronics, Intel and many others, drew a large audience to Munich.

Wearable technology has been with us for a while, so why is it suddenly the next big thing?  There are a number of factors, not least that the hype in the market is driving innovators to explore the space, partly for market potential, but also because investors are also excited about the space and keen to get some money invested into it.  Another apparent factor is that innovators find themselves with better access to capital, better access to enabling technology, and better access to product manufacturing and fulfillment than ever before, all waiting for them to come up with the killer idea.

Flextronics’ John Dwyer was one of two keynotes for the event and started by introducing the audience to Flextronics and to the ‘sketch to scale’ principle, which seems ideally suited to a sector full of entrepreneurial start ups.  The audience listened intently as John explained the sheer scale of the Flextronics offering as well as the scope of the services on offer to both innovators and established brands.

Particular focus and interest centered on the area of innovation and how innovation could be taken to market.  Unsurprising given the fact that many of the attendees and other speakers were from small companies, some with technologies that hadn’t yet been productized.  John explained the Open Innovation process, Advanced Engineering initiatives, Lab IX and the Product Innovation Centers that Flextronics has throughout the world before turning his attention to IoT (Internet of Things).

The IoT debate was probably the other big debate at CES and it had again been pivotal in discussions at DLD15 (Digital Life Design) and at The World Economic Forum in Davos, where Flextronics executives had played central roles in the debate.  For Flextronics IoT is much more than just the Internet of Things, it is more about the Intelligence of Things, and moving the debate beyond just connectivity will allow for the exploration of solutions that can come from the huge amounts of measurable data that all these sensors provide.  Intelligence is what will lead to ground breaking solutions that reduce the cost of medical services delivery, that improve people’s health outcome, that support people’s desire to stay fitter and that will help resolve some of the world challenges related to population growth, urbanization and poverty.

At CES many concluded that the Internet of Things was in fact a given.  It is likely that every new innovation coming to the market will be connected, even the most passive of device like a smart sock.  The result is big data, 50 Billion or so connected devices all sensing and communicating.  The issue isn’t getting the data, the issue is using that data wisely.  Understanding that the data also belongs to the individual is also a part of this debate and privacy is going to be central to future discussions around this topic.

John concluded by sharing Flextronics’ vision and the diversity of experience that Flextronics brings through its involvement in all areas of electronics from consumer to industrial and from sketch to scale.

The debates continued both in the auditorium, in the exhibit hall and in the dining room and clearly the topics on John’s agenda resonated with the audience.

Wearable Technologies is a first rate event, well organized and brings together the large corporates and the small enterprises and innovators that will shape this market going forward.  Flextronics is delighted to be at the center of this event and at the center of the industry and the conversations that are occurring in it.

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