The Singaporean startup that offers smart internet of things (IoT) wearables platform for companies to launch smart products is bullish on the growth of smart wearable devices in Asia-Pacific, especially health wearables.
Pawan Gandhi, founder and CEO of KaHa, which raised $6.2 million in a Series B round last May, told FutureIoT in an email interview that in Singapore, the government is contributing to the growth in the adoption of functionality-packed smart wearables.
Aside from creating a strong ecosystem in which start-ups can thrive, he said initiatives like the National Step Challenge by the Health Promotion Board, which rewards participants who hit a target of 5,000-10,000 steps each day with redeemable points, go a long way.
“According to A*STAR, smart wearable tech will drive innovation and productivity in all sectors of Singapore’s economy,” he said.
Japan, however, is expected to dominate the market due to strong awareness of pedometers and smart watches in the region, according to Gandhi, citing reports from Data Bridge Market Research.
“The rising pool of chronic diseases like obesity and diabetes are also the major factors in the development of this market,” he explained.
In Gandhi’s projection, healthcare companies will begin to provide more practical wearables powered by IoT to their doctors, nurses and patients.
“This will lead to even more data collection, which will support AI and GPS technology and help provide immediate response in any critical situations,” he said. “These wearable sensors are also enabling health monitoring outside of the clinic, augmenting prediction of health events.”
He cited that gadgets like a headband that knows when one is tired or diagnostic devices that track electrical activity produced by muscles and jackets that can heat and cool the wearer may soon be a reality.
“There’s smart shoe that provides the gait information to customer. It measures and analyses the gait posture using the distribution of pressure sensors on the insole. With continuous assessment of gait and mobility, these smart shoes offer the possibility of prevention, diagnostic work-up, therapeutic decisions, and individual disease monitoring,” he added.
With all these long-term monitoring of personal health condition, he said it is not surprising that life and health insurance companies are also leveraging wearable and other sensor-based devices.
“They help provide opportunities to gather relevant, real-time data and improve business decisions,” he said.
Research firm IDC affirmed that things are looking up for smart wearables. It forecasts the market for devices, including wireless headphones and smart assistants, to grow 15.3% over the previous year to 198.5 million units by the end of this year.
But more is expected in the future. Gandhi said consumers will expect more from their smart wearable devices.
“These include tracking one’s emotional and mental state and offering tips to reduce stress and improve sleep quality. Through wearables, users will have access to more convenient means to test their temperature, blood pressure and sugar levels and, more important, even predict the onset of dementia and detect strokes early,” he concluded.