Strategy Analytics’ Mobile Device UX unit has released a new report on the smartwatch market. Looking at areas with a high potential for growth, the market research team determined that if they’re going to drive adoption of the devices in the mainstream, smartwatch makers will have to move beyond the current use cases and develop capabilities that exceed or differentiate from those of users’ smartphones.
The researchers have identified three key areas where smartwatches can really stand out, which they categorize as Convenience, Control, and Coaching. ‘Convenience’ is pretty straightforward, referring to those areas where the delivery of information via the smartwatch would be easier than on a smartphone; while ‘Control’ refers to the smartwatch’s potential as a means of controlling other devices or apps, as in the case of the smart car control apps that are starting to appear on the market.
It’s the area of ‘Coaching’ where the Mobile Device UX researchers believe there is the greatest potential for differentiation. Speaking in a report summary, analyst Mathew Alton explained that “because smartwatches are connected directly to the user, the potential exists for the smartwatch to enable a more valuable and holistic health and fitness coaching program for the user – gathering health data, analyzing it and providing actionable recommendations based on the user’s activity.”
Indeed, and given the biometric technology already in place on the first-generation Apple Watch, it wouldn’t be a surprise to see an expansion of those capabilities in the next iteration. Competitors such as Samsung’s Gear A also have the opportunity to leverage advanced biometric functionality as a way of distinguishing themselves as they seek to get in on the smartwatch market now that Apple has warmed it up. Of course, it’s not precisely clear how much of an appetite consumers have for even more advanced biometrics, but given the success of numerous fitness tracking devices that have long already come in the form of wristbands, it stands to reason that there is some strong market potential in this area.