Market research firm Strategy Analytics recently asked (and answered) the question - is the market for automotive wearables a solution looking for problem? According to a recent consumer survey conducted by the market research firm’s In-vehicle UX group there is low interest in wearables for automotive applications in the U.S. and Western Europe.
The survey revealed that “younger males and luxury car owners appeared to be most interested in the US, strong interest was below 20 percent across all Western European segments.” Not very good stats for vendors looking to penetrate a new market for wearables.
The report author and senior analyst Derek Viita said: "A peripheral heart-rate monitor synced to an on-board Advanced Driver Assistance System (ADAS) certainly adds tangible value and an increased perception of safety. But communicating that value to consumers is crucial to increased interest and ultimately adoption. Our findings indicate that outside of a relatively small number of younger American consumers and luxury car owners, this will be a tough proposition.”
"In addition, wearable compatibility for remote functionality (e.g. remote parking) has a similar problem. This type of capability certainly adds value and a 'wow' factor, but there is little strong interest in use of this remote functionality outside of young US males and US luxury car owners,” he added.
Viita’s point of view is that while there is strong interest in the technology among younger and middle age groups these demographics may not have the status to justify making investments in wearables for automotive applications.
However, when looking at the numbers for two big use cases, I think the findings tell a different story, and clearly indicate significant potential demand.
The two biggest use cases surveyed by the group were detecting and monitoring a driver's medical condition (i.e. a supplementary heart rate monitor) and remote functionality (such as remote start or automatic parking). Interest in wearables for on-board heart rate monitors was less than 45 percent for both regions, and interest in remote functionality was less than 50 percent in the U.S. and less than 40 percent in Western Europe.
In addition, OEMs already are building strategies around health monitoring systems in cars either as standard, optional or advanced features, according to a recent report from Frost & Sullivan.
While younger consumers may have more interest, carmakers are targeting older drivers. Case in point: “In response to the large aged population of drivers in several societies, automakers are already developing cars that can anticipate a driver's heart attack or sudden disability to bring the vehicle to a safe halt, and alert doctors. Ford and Toyota – among mass-market OEMs – and luxury automakers such as BMW and Audi are the pioneers targeting integration of HWW features into their next-generation products,” said Neelam Barua, automotive & transportation industry analyst, Frost & Sullivan, in a statement.
What do you think? Are we still a long way from seeing demand for wearable technologies in cars, or is it right around the corner? Let me know. Email me: firstname.lastname@example.org