Sensor-laden wearable devices, with their unique ability to capture data generated by thebody, are important components of a larger phenomenon we call “smart body, smart world.” Use cases for wearables could extend to anything from navigation to shopping to social networking to productivity. One scenario in particular – health and fitness – has inspired a number of wearable devices that launched in 2012 like the Nike+ FuelBand, the Basis smartwatch, and the (relaunched) Jawbone UP. These new products spur the questions: Can the market support this many wearable fitness products, and who should these products target?
Clients frequently ask me about the big picture: How is consumer computing changing, and what’s coming next? My new Forrester report, published today, takes on that question. It’s called “Smart Body, Smart World,” and it describes the paradigm shift in computing that we see happening now. Computing has evolved from the mainframe to the desktop to the shoulder bag to the pocket, and now computing is taking over new frontiers: Our physical bodies and the physical environments we inhabit.
When we look at new, sensor-laden devices (SLDs) like the larklife or Progressive Snapshot,we see the beginnings of a new phase of personal computing that will transform the way we live and work. Sensor-collected data, when combined with intelligence and advice, will influence our decision-making and self-expression in domains as diverse as health, finance, shopping, navigation, relationships, work, and communication. SLDs could take any shape; in this report, we talk about them in two broad categories:
Wearables. “Wearables”—devices worn in or on the body—include accessories like Google Glass or the Nike+ FuelBand, but can also include electronics actually enmeshed in our skin and organs like the “electronic tattoos” developed by Nanshu Lu at the University of Texas at Austin, or the heads-up display contact lenses developed by researchers at Washington University (one of whom, Babak Parviz, is now leading Project Glass at Google).