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Wearable Wellness – The Latest Fashion in Big Data

The Consumer Electronics Association just released a report on the growth of the connected health and wellness consumer devices market, also known as wearable technology, wearable trackers or just plain wearables. The report anticipated that more than 40 million wearable health and wellness devices were sold in 2013, and over the next five years the market is expected to grow 142 percent. Welcome to the quantifiable self movement!  

This week at CES (the world’s biggest consumer electronics show), smart devices that attach to your face, wrist, feet or other body part (wipe that smirk off your face) are expected to be all the rage. These wearables range from smart watches to activity trackers to glasses. The wearables can monitor your activity, your sleep and your vital signs and will even tie into your smartphone to provide more information about you – like your location.

Health and wellness wearables represent a major growth category for the Internet of Things. Most of today’s devices are great at tracking, and presenting that information back to the consumer in a visually compelling way. How many steps did you take in the month of January? How many calories did you burn? How restful was your sleep? In fact, Jawbone claims to capture 60 years of sleep data every night! The long-term opportunity won’t be in just capturing the data, but how the data is used. This is where predictive analytics come in.

The long-term appeal to the consumer is turning their personal Big Data into actionable insights that can actually help them adapt and change their behavior. The wearables market will evolve to leverage predictive analytics to provide the consumer with real-time assessments of the quality of the activity, the fitness effect (you increased your activity by 50 percent this month and reduced your risk of a heart attack or stroke by 60 percent), and highly personalized recommendations from a variety of data sources.

As the wearable market matures, so will the richness of analytic services available to the consumer, and this will spur the success of the market.

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