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Wearables will be the gateway to smart cities

Report finds that in part due to the GCC region’s demand for wearables, global shipments will grow from around 90 million in 2016 to over 200 million in 2020 

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Smart watches are among the wearables predicted to be the citizens' gateway to smart cities
Smart watches are among the wearables predicted to be the citizens' gateway to smart cities

Global shipments of smart wearables will almost double to over 200 million in 2020, says report

The GCC region is well-placed to demonstrate how wearables can be optimised for hyper-connectivity

It is predicted smart wearables will replace smartphones as the gateway to smart cities for their citizens

Smart wearables will rapidly advance in technology and replace smartphones by 2020 as a seamless gateway between citizens and the Internet of Things (IoT) and smart cities, says Silicon Valley insider, Robert Scoble.


The prediction follows the publication of a new report by Frost & Sullivan, prepared in collaboration with GITEX Technology Week, which takes place in Dubai World Trade Centre 16-20 October and at which Scoble is a headline speaker.


The report reveals the demand for a seamless connection to the Internet of Things (IoT) will drive wearable shipments to double by 2020. With high mobile penetration, the Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) region will help to increase this demand and global shipments will grow from about 90 million in 2016 to over 200 million in 2020.


Use cases include constant health and fitness updates, real-time transport tracking, and augmented reality enhancing construction sites and factory floors in manufacturing.


"The GCC, with its advancing smart cities, is well-positioned to be among global leaders in demonstrating how wearables can be optimised for hyper-connectivity,” says Scoble. who currently serves as entrepreneur-in-residence at augmented reality and virtual reality start-up, Upload VR. “Smart wearables can deliver an enhanced experience that was only in the realm of sci-fi films, especially in verticals such as healthcare, transportation, marketing, and retail.”


The report found that smart watches will dominate, accounting for more than 50 per cent of wearable shipments by 2020. Shipments of smart watches will grow by 69 per cent annually to 2020, with revenue accelerating faster than sales at 78 per cent annually.


Smart bands will remain a specialised market. Smart cameras, glasses, and clothing will see specialised growth - for example in athletics, or jobs in high-risk environments - before becoming more consumer friendly. Smart glasses will gain market traction in the next two to three years, with sales accelerating rapidly towards 2020, according to Frost & Sullivan.


GITEX speakers addressing wearables will include Rafael Grossmann, the first surgeon to live-stream surgery with Google Glass, Shahid Azim, co-founder of medical wearables start-up, Quanttus, and Jonathan Reichental, CIO of Palo Alto, on the future of smart cities.


Wearables will be in the spotlight at GITEX Tech Watch, showcasing the latest innovative and immersive technology. Global entrepreneurs in the wearables sector can seek funding and partnerships at the GITEX Start-ups Movement, which aims to be the world’s most global start-up event in 2016. One of the leading wearable start-ups participating is Mosaikx, a UAE-based company that has launched the world’s first wearable smart voice recorder.


The five-day GITEX show is the largest technology exchange and marketplace for Middle East & Africa.


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