Thursday, 13 February 2014

Measuring the market's beating heart?

Following Canalys' market size predictions for smart watches and activity bands, rival ABI Research is back in the news.

It's now pulling numbers about the market size for heart rate monitors out of the air (surely using complex estimative algorithms? - Ed).

It reckons 12 million devices with the functionality shipped in 2013.

This seems rather high, given that few of the wearable fitness devices in 2013 could directly measure heart rate. There's the Withings Pulse and Basis B1 watch, but the main type of devices that measure heart rate are the dedicated chest straps you get from the likes of Polar and Beurer.

Personally, I'd be surprised if 12 million of those were sold in 2013 - although I bought two during the period - and anyway, they're not really devices. More like peripherals.

"The market for wearable computing devices is driven by a growing range of wireless connected wearable sports, fitness and wellbeing devices," says Jonathan Collins, principal analyst at ABI Research.

"Heart rate and activity monitors will outpace shipments of smart watches and glasses for some years to come and they will also provide the essential foundation for the development of the broader wearable market."

That said, I think heart rate (like blood pressure) is an important element of the qualified self, even if I'm not convinced that devices like the Basis B1, Adidas miCoach Smart Run watch and forthcoming Atlas band are very accurate.

Of course, Apple might change all that...

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