The emerging wearable devices market now caters to a niche customer base. But improvements in devices and newer, interesting use cases will speed up the transition to mass market proliferation, according to research from Frost & Sullivan.

An increasing number of industry-specific original equipment manufacturers (OEMs) are entering the market in partnership with technology companies, says the report, Growth Opportunities in the Global Wearable Devices Market.

The study notes that wearable devices will play a large role in the healthcare industry, delivering improved healthcare services through real-time, remote patient monitoring and post-surgery rehabilitation. Smart watches and fitness bands are the most popular wearable devices, it says.

“Wearable devices will extend beyond fitness tracking to include two-way communication between the user and the healthcare ecosystem,” Shuba Ramkumar, Frost & Sullivan information & communication technologies senior research analyst.

“Though a number of applications currently address the business-to-consumer market, wearable devices will eventually offer support to healthcare institutions by sharing real-time data collected by the consumer,” Ramkumar said.

There will be challenges in the market. Despite advancements in battery technology, the increasing use of organic light-emitting diode screens, advanced sensors and the complex functionality on wearable devices will intensify battery power concerns, the report says. Along with this, the possibility of inaccurate data generation can affect customer uptake.

“In the long-term, energy harvesting and wireless charging technologies will reduce battery issues, helping wearables to capture the interest of consumers,” Ramkumar said. “Assuming battery and data accuracy issues are resolved, the real value of wearable devices will accrue as part of the Internet of Things ecosystem, enabling communication of data across devices.”

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