Does wearable technology have a future in India?


Today’s wearable technology is more than $700 million industry (Source: IDC reports that the worldwide market for wearable devices will grow to $8 Billion by 2018. Many tech experts and magazines hailed the year 2014 as the “Year of the Wearable”

How have consumers in India accepted wearables that connect, inform and protect at the same time? An Accenture survey in 2014 found that more than half of consumers (52 percent) are interested in buying wearable technologies, similar to tracking physical activity, fitness monitors that help them with managing their personal health. The survey of more than 6,000 people in six countries—Australia, Canada, India, South Africa, the United Kingdom, and the United States – showed that consumers are also interested in buying smart watches (46 percent) and Internet-connected eyeglasses (42 percent). The survey says that amongst the six countries, consumers in India are showing great interest in buying fitness monitors (80 percent), smart watches (76 percent) and Internet-enabled eyeglasses (74 percent).

There sure is an impressive count of innovative devices in the market. If jewelry is a beautiful piece of work, technology makes it point-blank ‘viable’ at the same time. Ringly is the name the company that creates jewelry and accessories, which can connect to your phone. Skully motorcycle helmets and more economical versions of the helmet can be be a hit in India where bikers risk their lives everyday owing to risky road conditions and rash riding/driving on the roads. The helmet is equipped with a heads-up display, a 180-degree rearview camera and GPS navigation, and is connected to your phone allowing voice-control etc. Biosport earbuds come with biometric sensors and you dont need to charge them. They’re able to collect fitness data, including the user’s heart rate, and feed it directly to your phone.

There are several companies making smart technology adapt to human lives with ergonomic stuff that fit the pocket and lifestyle of urban folks on the move. Companies like Google, Apple, Garmin, Xiaomi, Fitbit, Jawbone, Samsung, LG etc are busy inventing high-end devices for safety and betterment of human lives.

In the US, fitness wearables are already a big phenomenon. People are wearing health trackers all over. The idea of preventive health is slowly picking up in India and with the explosion of lifestyle diseases, I wonder if someone can look into health trackers which can measure calorie intake (Google’s new AI software can count food calories from a photo), measure sugar levels and alert about BP levels etc. The way to make health trackers successful in India given people’s sensitivity to fashion is that it can be bundled in with jewelry or other cool looking things like headphones, bands, shoes, clothes etc. that can give them health information and transmit it to the phone in case of an emergency.

Do you think India is ready for wearables? Share your thoughts with me.

Sanjay Puri has been working on Indian-American issues and facilitating stronger US-India relations through USINPAC (US India Political Action Committee and AUSIB (Alliance for US India Business), two bipartisan organizations that he chairs.

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