Wearable technology is being widely touted as the next big thing in the technology domain. This buzz around wearables can be attributed partly to their application in enhancing the quality of human life and partly to the push from the market players to explore new avenues of growth.
During the course of our research and analysis of the wearable technology ecosystem, we talked to Mr. Ali Foughi, Vice President of Marketing and Business Development at InvenSense, Inc. about the factors influencing and shaping wearable technology. The following transcript provides interesting insights into the developments and headways he envisages for his company as well as other market participants.
Analyst: Can you please provide us with a brief overview of your company? How is the company contributing to the wearable electronics market?
Ali: InvenSense develops best-in-class MEMS Sensor System on Chips (SoC) for a broad range of applications. We aim to create human-like interface for consumer electronic devices with our motion and audio solutions.
The emerging wearable market is going through exciting changes to which InvenSense is contributing in 3 fundamental ways:
1) We provide ultra-low power 3-, 6-, 7-, and 9-axis solutions to a market where battery life is a key differentiator among all wearable devices.
2) With the advent of InvenSense ultra low-power gyroscopes, we bring automatic activity recognition to this market.
3) Finally, with the introduction of the world’s first integrated 7-axis solution (accel + gyro + pressure), InvenSense brings a much higher level of calorie count precision to the wearable market.
Analyst: Ali, we have identified InvenSense as a promising market player in the wearable industry. Why don’t you walk us through your positioning strategy in this emerging market?
Ali: Power! Power! And Power! Everybody wants longer battery life and InvenSense provides solutions with ultra-low power consumption.
Most of today’s fitness tracking devices use accelerometers from our competitors to track simple pedometer activity. Our solutions are based on integrated combo sensors (6- or 9-axis) paired with the InvenSense Automatic Activity Recognition (AAR™) library, enabling an ‘AlwaysOn’ contextual awareness of a wide array of activities including run, walk, bike, elliptical, stationary, and sleep on a wrist-worn wearable device. Our innovative products are fueling the next generation of smart watches, fitness bands, and fitness watch applications.
Analyst: Out of all the applications you mentioned above, which one according to you presents high growth area in wearables?
Ali: Sensors are penetrating a broad range of applications and many of them are growing rapidly. In 2014 the market volume is relatively small, approximately 15 to 25 million units according to 3rd party estimates. Yet, the wearable market is expected to reach 150 to 200 million units over the next several years. The growth is there, it’s a matter of time.
Analyst: Can you name some products that are using your sensors and services?
Ali: In smartglasses and HMD/HUDs, Recon Jet, Metaview, Golden-i headsets, Epson Moverio, Sony HMZ T3W, Oculus Rift, and Google Glass use our solutions. In the smartwatch area, Samsung Gear, Samsung Gear 2, Samsung Fit, and other brands which are to come out later in the year have incorporated our sensor solutions. In sports and recreation, we are in Xensr sports motion capture devices, InfoMotion 94Fifty basketballs, Babolat tennis rackets, and Swingbyte golf products.
Analyst: What are the key market challenges, according to you, apart from power consumption?
Ali: The challenge is why a consumer would spend $150 for a wearable device when many of the products are not compelling enough. The wearable industry needs to provide a better value proposition to the consumer. There is a lot of room for improvement in these devices; for example, automatic activity recognition, more precise calorie count, longer battery life, and human-like user interface.
Analyst: Who are your direct competitors? What is the share of your company in the overall market?
Ali: STMicroelectronics and Bosch are our main competitors. They generally provide raw sensor data, sometimes using 3rd party software, while InvenSense provides the total system solution including integrated sensors, algorithms for sensor fusion & calibration, and application specific software. We estimate that approximately 50% of second generation wearable devices will contain InvenSense solutions.
Analyst: What is going to be your approach for the next two years?
Ali: Within the wearable market place, our strategy is to provide the lowest power solution and to introduce new sensors, higher level of integration, and broader range of activity detection with a focus on application specific software.
BIS Research published an exhaustive report on Wearable Electronic Product Market earlier this month. A second study on opportunities in Wearable Electronic Components Market is expected to be published shortly. For any queries on wearable market, please write to us at [email protected] or call us at : +1 650 228 0182