The wearable technology market is perhaps the clearest example of innovation and growth within the tech industry, with new efficient, compact and convenient solutions released every year.

The pandemic saw a sharp rise in the demand for products like smartwatches and Bluetooth headphones, as people sought entertainment and paid more attention to health and fitness during lockdowns. Progress-tracking devices have continued to evolve as monitoring steps, pulse rates and sleep patterns have become standard practices.

As a result, it is no surprise that internet-enabled wearable devices are proliferating in their millions, with the number of connected wearable devices worldwide expected to reach over one billion in 2022.

As Industry 4.0 technologies such as the internet of things (IoT) continue to fuel digitisation, it is clear that the possibilities for smart wearable devices are endless. There are many exciting applications for wearable technology that could influence a range of industries, but there are some practical factors to consider before emerging into this space.

What is wearable technology?

Any electronic device that can be worn on the body can be classified as wearable technology, including rings, glasses, headsets, watches and even clothing. As these devices are designed for on-the-go functionality, wearable technology is ideal for modern lifestyles, where multi-tasking is often necessary.

The most popular type of wearable tech is smartwatches like the Fitbit or Apple Watch, renowned for their ability to track exercise performance and overall fitness with the added bonus of email and text notifications. The market for these gadgets has expanded drastically in recent years, with revenues predicted to reach up to £29.53 billion in 2022 and £37.5 billion by 2026.

Several industries are already benefiting from wearable device development. For example, innovation within the sports technology industry is driving the creation of new wearable devices that can help athletes track and improve their performance — from virtual reality (VR) simulators to wearables that claim to stimulate the brain.

The same wearable technology can also facilitate cost-effective, remote patient monitoring for the healthcare industry, helping medical professionals keep track of biometric data and monitor patients with conditions like heart disease and diabetes. As a result, manufacturers of medical devices will continue to expand their wearable technology offerings to provide vital insights into patient health and reduce the pressure on medical services.

Wearable technology is also dominating the entertainment industry. New technologies have revolutionised the way we consume media, with VR headsets allowing users to immerse themselves in online gaming. These devices have great potential for the broader market, with the capacity to amplify the sensory experience of watching films and bringing online environments to life.

Developing truly ‘wearable’ technology products

With the wearable technology market expanding rapidly and the demand for these devices constantly increasing, many businesses have considered developing their own wearable technology products. However, this is not an easy task.

Designing and manufacturing wearable technology comes with unique challenges. Wearable devices must compress complex interfaces into one compact, ultra-convenient application and ensure all information is easily digestible at a glance.

Since ‘glanceability’ is a top priority of wearable technology such as smartwatches and activity monitors, product manufacturers must determine how to balance information density with limited screen space to ensure only essential information is displayed. Products should feature high contrast colours and short, clear text to enhance ease of use.

The battery life of wearable technology products is often limited due to their small size. As a result, manufacturers must optimise sensors, batteries and electronics design to deliver the necessary power supply without impeding the size and shape of the product.

Plus, as wearable technology is designed for use in motion and a range of environments, devices must be ultra-durable. Exposed electronics and components should be protected by encapsulation resins and conformal coatings, which must also allow radio signals to be transmitted from sensors to other paired devices without interference.

Above all, the most important factor for product manufacturers to consider is user experience. Products should be light and comfortable to wear whilst delivering valuable, customisable insights. As such, electronics manufacturers must continue to develop more miniaturised sensors and advanced electronics solutions to ensure they can meet the demands of this growing industry.

Are you interested in developing a wearable technology product but need help getting started? Contact us today at +44 (0) 1256 461894 or email to discover our electronics manufacturing services for the wearable technology sector.