What is the Internet of Things? IoT can encompass such a broad network of connected devices that it is becoming difficult to define. We ‘asked’ everyone who is talking about IoT on Twitter what it means to them (by tracking the entire market discussion and analyzing the conversation). We found that when people talk about IoT, they are interested in Big Data, and the fact that the ever expanding IoT may even make Big Data Look Small. Wearables, Cloud, and Smart Home are also a large part of the IoT conversation as people discuss development of wearable sensors, healthcare implications of connected devices, and how to compute all the collected data.
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While the Wearables market is quickly diversifying, well known Fitness Band and Smartwatch companies have maintained the most mindshare since at least November. Fitbit consistently sees the highest volume of consumer reviews for their various devices, and has seen a boost in recent weeks due to increasing interest in the Charge and the new Blaze. Apple saw a boost in mindshare through January 2016, followed by volatility, but Samsung has seen a clear decline in mindshare in 2016 so far.
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What’s the next big thing in Wearables? Here at Argus Insights, we track social conversation across entire markets to discover what’s top of mind. Recently, there has been a lot of discussion about running, jogging, and big data in Wearables discussion. News of a developing energy harvesting shoe insole recently sparked interest in run tracking to help drive up mindshare about using wearables while running and jogging. Use of wearables at the SuperBowl got people talking about Big Data and all the possibilities that come with the large amount of data collected from wearable devices.
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Since becoming a publicly traded company in June of this year, Fitbit has seen an increase in sales and revenue. However, after announcing their impressive earnings for Q2, their stock prices “plunged 14% in trading.” While Fitbit’s revenue beat forecasts, their profit slipped year to year due to increased spending on research and development. Spending money to make money, as Fitibt is doing by tripling their R&D spending, could have potentially spooked investors.
Stepping back to take a look at the entire wearables market, we see that Fitbit’s bid toward the future is probably a good idea. While Fitbit maintains the most mindshare in the wearables market, other fitness bands, smartwatches, and less common types of wearable technology are becoming more prevalent, and Fitbit must continue to innovate if they want to keep their users interested. Currently, wearables consumers are finding more delight with products from other brands, meaning there are better liked wearables brands out there just waiting for the consumer base to take notice.
Fitbit continues to dominate the wearables market in terms of mindshare. They see far more feedback from consumers than any other brand, but Fibit consumers are far from the happiest. As demonstrated in the graph above, several brands saw a dramatic increase in consumer delight during Q2. Major established competitors Motorola, LG, and Samsung all saw an increase in positive feedback from consumers to surpass Fitbit in terms of delight, as did several less popular wearables manufacturers like Martian and Asus. In addition to competition from those increasingly delightful brands, as more consumer get their hands on the Apple Watch, a much anticipated smartwatch with fitness capabilities, they are reporting higher delight than Fitbit users.
Consumers know about Fitbit. They buy Fitbit devices and are satisfied, but recently, consumers are branching out to find delight in other brands. If Fitbit is to maintain their prowess, they must continue to innovate, and increasing their current spending on research and development could help them compete with the increasing delight of Motorola and LG.
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Google just announced some major updates to its Android Wear operating system, including the ability to tether to your Android handset over wifi instead of bluetooth, some new wrist gestures guaranteed to put you on TSA’s watch list, and a redesign of the way that apps are accessed and used, including a feature that let’s apps keep the screen on by default, something great for runners, especially for distances less than a mile given the battery life impact. All-in-all it looks more like a collection of technology “coulds” rather than any coherent view of what you “should” use Android Wear to augment your life in compelling ways.
The shift in app navigation at least acknowledges a complaint we’ve seen surface over and over again with consumers. Something I referred to at my keynote at Wearables Techcon as the “Row, Row, Row Your Boat” problem: the incessant need to swipe your way to the app/feature/photo you want ensures endless hours of pawing at your wrist like a dog begging to be let out.
There has to be a better way to navigate wearable devices…
Apple would have us ignore the last 8 years of training that a light touch on your iPhone was enough to control the known universe, and instead has introduced ForceTap on the Apple Watch. Apple has improved upon the one dimension of Android Wear’s Row Row Row your way through screens and instead would have us scrub through a constellation of application icons, the only way to activate one is by ensuring the desired app is in the center and then executing that new party trick, a Force Tap. The light taps so cleverly used on our touchscreens and touchpads alike ensure the object of desire is obscured only for an instant while you get along with your life. ForceTap requires you to add an extra step with a grunt for flourish as you dwell over the very thing you want to see. Sure, ForceTap promises to virtually eliminate the accidental activation that kept you from three stars on level 97 on Angry Birds Star Wars, but it is the equivalent of telling the Google Car to drive where you can’t see.
We’ve seen some technology that points towards a future where wearables react to our intent rather than continued pawing in one or two dimensions on the surface. It’s coming, soon, but I can’t reveal it just yet.
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