Future of sport

The future of sport is very exciting


While wearable technology has been utilized in vertical sectors such as the military and healthcare for many years, ongoing advances have triggered a major resurgence of the concept, particularly among the consumer community. Key enabling technologies including low cost sensors, wireless connectivity, active materials and energy have converged to make wearable technology mainstream.
With the continued miniaturization of enabling technologies, wearable devices have hit the mass market in a diverse variety of form factors, ranging from glasses to even jewelry.

Driven by the ability to interconnect with key modern trends of healthcare, fitness, messaging and socialization, the wearable technology ecosystem is attracting significant levels of interest. Companies as varied as smartphone OEMs, wireless carriers, health insurers and retailers are circling the ecosystem alongside tiny startups, all vying for a stake.

SNS Research estimates that by 2016, wearable device shipments will surpass 140 Million and will account for nearly $30 Billion in revenue. The market is further expected to grow at a CAGR of 30% over the next five years.

The “Wearable Technology Ecosystem: 2015 – 2030 – Opportunities, Challenges, Strategies, Industry Verticals & Forecasts” report presents an in-depth assessment of the wearable technology ecosystem including key market drivers, challenges, investment potential, consumer & vertical market opportunities, use cases, future roadmap, value chain, case studies, vendor market share and strategies. The report also presents forecasts for wearable device shipments and revenue from 2015 through to 2030. The forecasts are further segmented for 7 device form factor submarkets, 7 vertical markets, 6 regions and 73 countries.

- By 2016, wearable device OEMs will pocket nearly $30 Billion from device shipment revenues
- SNS Research estimates that fitness and sports centric wearable device shipments are expected to grow at a CAGR of 28% over the next 5 years, eventually accounting for 80 Million device shipments by the end of 2020
- Wireless carriers are increasingly integrating wearable devices within their M2M and IoT strategies
- Wearable devices will help wireless carriers drive over $71 Billion in additional service revenue by the end of 2020, following a CAGR of nearly 80% between 2015 and 2020
- The wearable applications ecosystem will account for nearly $2 Billion in revenue by the end of 2016
- Driven by ongoing innovation and crowdfunding campaigns, SNS Research estimates that investors will pour over $1 Billion into wearable technology startups in 2015
- The market is ripe for acquisitions of pure-play wearable technology startups, as competition heats up between consumer and vertical centric OEMs
- Nearly 50% of all wearable devices shipped in 2020 will support embedded cellular connectivity. This represents a $1.1 Billion opportunity for wireless chipset suppliers
Source: SNS Research estimates that by 2016, wearable device shipments will surpass 140 Million and will account for nearly $30 Billion in revenue. The market is further expected to grow at a CAGR of 30% over the next five years.

The "Wearable Technology Ecosystem: 2015 – 2030 – Opportunities, Challenges, Strategies, Industry Verticals & Forecasts" report 


Wearable conference: http://www.wearabletechnologyshow.net/new-for-2016



The wearable world won't know what's hit it when these new smartwatches, fitness trackers and VR headsets land.

Sure, the Oculus Rift, HTC Vive, Tag Heuer Connected and Samsung Gear S2 are already available - and we were waiting ages for those. But if you want to know about the biggest innovations that are yet to drop, then cast your eyes and screen-scrolling fingers a little further down this page.

Sony PlayStation VR (ETA: 31 Oct 2016)


Sony's PlayStation VR headset lands at the very end of October 2016 but is up for pre-order now. The final headset kept its predecessor's Full HD 1920 x 1080 display, but ups it from 5-inches to 5.7-inches, which gives a 100-degree field of vision. It also features RGB subpixels, which help smooth out the image.

Hands-on: Sony PlayStation VR review

There's motion tracking, it's compatible with DualShock 4 controllers and the price of £349 should be more within reach than the PC based headsets. Plus the PlayStation VR games line-up looks banging so far.

Garmin Vivoactive HR (ETA: May 2016)


Garmin's site is still not showing shipping dates but the much anticipated Vivoactive HRis about to drop. Garmin's smartwatch is slimmer than ever but keeps all its killer features including: its Elevate optical heart rate sensor tech, GPS and great software. Plus you now get an altimeter and tracking for activities like rowing and skiing with specialist metrics.

Look out for a Vivoactive HR review on Wareable.com very soon, for now you read our first impressions of the wearable from MWC 2016.

Apple Watch 2 (ETA: September 2016)


The above image is a concept, we repeat, the above image is a concept. That doesn't mean, though, that we haven't got a great idea in our heads about what we want from the Apple Watch 2.

We've been covering rumours for a while but it looks like we should expect a launch of the second-gen Watch at WWDC in June with a release date of September 2016. Still, that's a long time for Android Wear, Tizen and Pebble to catch up.

Project Aura (ETA: 2017)


Project Aura is the wearable we know the least about on this list. But it is confirmed. It's basically Google Glass 2, under Tony Fadell. Don't let that put you off, though, it will most likely be enterprise focused and designed for the workplace.

The new second gen smartglasses will be durable, waterproof and able to be folded up and pocketed. Wearers will be able to stream video apps and improved battery life is also rumoured, though that might just be wishful thinking on the internet's part considering the original Google Glass.

Michael Kors Access (ETA: Fall 2016)


This $395 designer Android Wear watch may have the dreaded flat tyre but when it hits Michael Kors shops and concessions later in 2016, it will help push smartwatches into the bright lights of high fashion.

Access will arrive in two styles, aimed at men and women respectively, we know that both the gold finish and black rubber watches will have interchangeable. Apart from that, all the specs are still unknown - though this probably won't put off the fashion crowd. This could sell very well with the Tag Heuer Connected as its more expensive predecessor.

Microsoft HoloLens (ETA: late 2016)


This futuristic augmented reality headset from Microsoft doesn't actually have a firm release date yet - dev kits have now gone out - but that's not stopping us from getting excited about it. HoloLens tracks your head as well as hand gestures and overlays 'holograms' onto your field of vision, blending them into real environments with help from a depth camera.

Hands-on: Microsoft HoloLens review

These can be 'pinned' into place so you can walk around them and manipulated in your hands as though they are real 3D objects. Microsoft is now getting HoloLens into the hands of developers and creators to build apps and games for the headset and it's betting Minecraft, which it now owns, will be a big hit.

Sony Xperia Ear (ETA: summer 2016)


Due this summer, Sony's Xperia Ear could achieve what the Moto Hint never managed to - being the first truly mainstream personal assistant hearable. The device works with Sony's Voice Agent software and can read out texts, calendar items and web results. With two mics for voice controls and a clickable button on the surface of the earbud, if it's accurate and reliable enough, this could be the everyday hearable we've been waiting for.

First look: We try out the Sony Xperia Ear at MWC 2016

Ringly Aries (ETA: summer 2016)


We're excited about smart jewellery and Ringly is very much at the forefront of this emerging category. Aries is its second product and - you guessed it - not a ring. Instead it's a smart bracelet that adds fitness tracking to the existing, clever Ringly alerts handling. Best of all, this just not look like tech at all. Early pre-orderers should expect to receive their Aries in the summer, CEO Christina Mercando d'Avignon told us she's hoping to start shipping in August.

Magic Leap (ETA: 2016)


Magic Leap is the talk of AR right now, not only has it raised over $1 billion in funding but it's releasing a teaser video every couple of months just to remind us of how much we want to try the tech.

We still don't know all that much about exactly what products it's planning, but a recent video posted is further proof that it's working on a headset akin to Microsoft HoloLens on steroids.

Nixon The Mission (ETA: October 2016)


This was a plesant surprise from this year's Baselworld - Nixon's first Android Wear watch, The Mission, is due to be released in October 2016 for £350. It's basically a watch for adventurers, with GPS, military grade shock and dust resistance and super-waterproofing as well as a full colour AMOLED screen.

Read this: Nixon The Mission first look review

You won't be short on sensors either as it packs: an altimeter, barometer, thermometer, compass, gyrometer, accelerometer and humidity sensor. Phew, we can't wait.

Samsung Gear 360 (ETA: late 2016)



It's not a wearable! Well, no, but VR fans will be looking forward to the release of Samsung's 360 degree camera for the rest of us. We don't know the price yet but considering that it's selling the Gear VR for as little as £80, we're hoping it's affordable.

The Gear 360 is a cute little camera with a duo of 180 degree f2.0 fisheye lenses which can shoot two super wide images or video simultaneously. These are then stitched together to create 360 degree footage that can be viewed on the Samsung Gear VR. Neat. Now just tell us how much Samsung.

New Balance watch (ETA: 'holidays' 2016)


New Balance is getting into the smartwatch game too with its first Android Wear watch due at the end of 2016, or the "holidays" as it's putting it. There's a collaboration between Intel and Google and the resulting device will rock GPS and built-in storage for music, making it a potentially great choice for runners.

Also, New Balance is already teasing intelligent sensors in footwear from its new Digital Sports team so the new watch will be a big part of its new system.

Blocks (ETA: June 2016)

Originally part of Intel's Make It Wearable competition, Blocks has ambitious aims to make a modular wearable, enabling users to pick and choose the features they want. The idea is that users buy the main unit and then add extra elements, such as a heart rate monitor, GPS radio, contactless payments sensor or even an extra battery, as they see fit.

The prototype Blocks watch features a round-faced screen with multiple removable links. After a successful crowdfunding campaign, Blocks Wearables is scheduled to begin shipping in June 2016.

The rise and fall of the smart shoe – and why they could be on the way back
Kieran Alger asks why we're not lacing up more intelligent footwear
Are smart shoes dead?
August 25, 2015
By Kieran Alger
The other day I was clearing out my old running gear when, at the back of my shoe-drobe (that's a thing if you're a runner), I came across an old battered pair of Nike trainers. But these weren't just any old trainers, they were the Nike+ training shoes from way back in 2012.

What was special about these shoes was that they were smart. They had a set of three pressure sensors built into the shoes that could detect things like ground contact and foot speed, the kind of stats you need to turn loads of previously unquantified fitness activities into cold hard data.

Check it out: All Wareable's amazing running tech guide

At the launch of the shoes Nike wheeled out boxing legend Manny Pacquiao to prove the point. We got a demo of Manny's lightning fast feet skipping rope all the while the Nike+ training system logged every skip with impressive accuracy. This is the future, I remember thinking "this is how to bring fitness to life."


Fast forward to 2015 and the crumpled Nikes I'm about to throw out suggest that future isn't quite here yet. In fact, while we've seen a million Kickstarter campaigns for everything from jewellery, clothes, yoga mats and even heart rate monitoring headbands, we're yet to see our shoes get smart.

What makes it more interesting is that Nike weren't the only ones putting chips in shoes. Adidas MiCoach had a shoe pod that helped power the tracking on the MiCoach running app, as did Garmin and Polar. Our football boots looked like they were going to get smart too, with more Adidas MiCoach chips clocking all kinds of stats from acceleration of your sprints to the power of your last strike on goal.

Essential round-up: Best running watches

Nike themselves had been working on an even more advanced version of the Nike+ Training system. On a trip to the Nike Innovation Labs at the Oregon headquarters, we were treated to unprecedented access to some of the things the company's development team was working on. One of the things I recall being wowed by was something that looked like a flexible circuit board of sensors that would fit into the sole of your shoe. Whereas the original Nike+ Training system relied on you putting in pod-like sensors, this would be built into the shoe, or the sole of a shoe.

Here's another fact that might interest you. According to Statista, the global sports footwear market is projected to hit $87 billion by 2020. That's a lot of shoes and football boots. In a world where even our bras have been connected, the big question I have is when the footwear market presents a huge opportunity, why are our shoes being neglected?


Well, perhaps they're not. Chinese firm Lenovo recently demonstrated a new smart shoes concept, a pair of trainers with a built-in display that can be customised to display the wearer's mood, along with other real time fitness data such as heart rate, calorie burn and pace.

Then there's GPS Smartsole, a company putting a slightly different spin on what should be done with chips in shoes. They've launched a pair of shoes with GPS tracking built into the sole. The soles can broadcast the wearer's location without the need for another device, brilliant for keeping tabs on vulnerable family members like younger children or sufferers of Alzheimers.

Lechal is a another company putting its art and sole into clever kicks. In addition to the usual steps, distance and calories, it's haptic footwear and smart insoles work with an app on your smartphone to help you navigate your city. A series of vibrations in the pod, placed at the most sensitive part of your foot, tell you when to turn left or turn right. They'll also vibrate to alert you if you've left your smartphone behind.


One clever set of engineers in Germany are also asking whether we might be able to harness the energy from our own movement. They're trialling tech that consists of a shock harvester that generates power from the impact of your foot striking the ground and a swing harvester that converts energy while your feet are in the air. The idea is that it can sit in the heel of the shoe turning your every step into power for your smartphone.

Interesting as these ideas are, it feels like there's more novelty value than genuine practicality. The Smartsole make some sense and the Lechal have potential but we're a long way from products the majority of us could see becoming part of our everyday. And that has to be a key consideration.

According to Simon Drabble, director of BU Interactive at Adidas, who works on the miCoach platform and wearables like the Adidas SmartRun, there are still a few technological and social hurdles, to well, hurdle before we get the kind of products we'll make a habit of wearing.

"The key to the adoption of any new technology is to make it non-intrusive and to deliver a meaningful benefit to the consumer. As technology is advancing there are new ways to implement it into footwear and apparel that did not exist in the past and if the products can meet the needs of a consumer and solve a specific need then there will be a good chance of adoption."

But we're not there yet.




"There are a number of key challenges with sensors in shoes but as technology advances these challenges become possible to solve," argues Drabble. "The first challenge would be to identify a unique selling point.

"When we created the miCoach Speed_cell we allowed people to take data from the court and field of play which had never been possible before and the product gave people a new window into their sport."

Then there's battery power. Not just any power but ecologically sustainable power. "Any solution for power management needs to minimise the impact on the design, style and weight of any product. Specifically it ideally also needs to removable, changeable or chargeable."

"The third key challenge is sensor size and durability. Shoes can take a lot of impact and they also allow dirt and water into the area where sensors may be placed so this needs significant consideration."

On top of all of this, once you have the technical and design solutions you need to make sure your production process is viable and according to Drabble. "Combining the worlds of apparel and footwear production with high technology brings its own hurdles to surpass and these need to be factored into design from the beginning."


50 wearable tech gamechangers for 2016
Your essential guide to what's going to be making headlines in the year ahead
50 gamechangers for 2016
December 14, 2015
By Dan Sung
It's that time of year once again when the Wareable team set aside thoughts of mince pies and look ahead to what's in store for wearable tech in 2016.

In last year's Wareable 50, we correctly pointed out that the Apple Watch (surprise, surprise), Xiaomi and Tag Heuer would be grabbing the headlines.

We also said it would be a big year for the Jawbone UP3 and smart clothing. So we didn't get everything right. Now it's time to to make our predictions again.

We've sat round tables, collected our thoughts, drank endless cups of coffee from Wareable-branded mugs and reshuffled the list more often than a coalition cabinet. So, without further ado, here is the Wareable 50 2016 – the trends, businesses, people and (most importantly) products to watch out for over the next 12 months.

50. Gran Turismo Sport

The upcoming 2016 VR explosion needs games and games don't get much bigger than Gran Turismo. Set to hit PlayStation VR in 2016, the iconic racer will feature three different modes and both online and offline gameplay.

49. Frog


Striving to touch hearts and move markets, Frog has worked with Unicef in the Wearables for Good challenge as well as designing the hit Chinese smartwatch, Ticwatch. With clear ideas about the role wearables can play in society, expect big things from this ethical design and strategy firm which should be the hot company to work with next year.

Opinion: Meng Li

"Actionable guidance from wearables will make the way we interact with technology more human in 2016. Wearables can learn so much about us, the way we move, and the way we live our lives. Without using this data to give actionable guidance, it won't make us better and we will just continue what we've been doing in the past. Artificial intelligence allows our interactions with wearables to become a dialogue that tells us how to live better."
48. Meng Li


Co-founder and CEO of Moov, Li has zipped from crowdfunded success to start-up superstar in less than two years. With her company now as firmly established as her reputation thanks to the fantastic Moov Now, the company is one of the hottest properties in fitness tech, and we'd be surprised if a huge sports brand doesn't swoop this year.

47. Kokoon


There are lots of wearables to measure sleep but none so far that will actually improve it. The Kokoon in-ear sleep headphones are designed to improve sleep quality and will finally launch in late 2016.

46. TomTom


GPS is integral to proper sports tracking, and TomTom is set to transform itself into a sports brand in 2016. With 10 different sports products across running, fitness and golf, TomTom has the stripes it deserves. It's already worked for Garmin; 2016 is TomTom time.

45. Saschka Unseld


Facebook's Oculus Story Studio is stuffed full of the movie industry's finest minds and Pixar veteran Saschka Unseld is in charge of the lot. With the consumer Oculus Rift set to hit the shelves in 2016, Unseld is masterminding an entire new kind of entertainment with shorts like Lost and Henry. No pressure, then.

44. Amazon Echo


The Amazon Echo may be a 2015 product, but next year will surely see it expand outside the US. But beyond that, 2016 is set to be the year of the smart virtual assistant. With Google Now, Siri and Microsoft's Cortana already on the warpath, prepare to make some new digital friends.

43. Nuzzle


Part pet tracker, part insurance company; Nuzzle is the GPS collar that goes the extra mile when it comes to looking after your furry friends. Activity monitoring and GPS mapping feature alongside data on favourite walks and wellness stats in the companion app. Fetch.

42. Hive


More than just a thermostat; British Gas is going full steam ahead in smart home tech for 2016. Smart bulbs, connected sockets, motion detectors and door sensors are on their way. What's more, the company is set to take on Nest by launching Stateside, and it has already shown in the UK that having a service business makes it easier to get its tech into people's homes.

41. Project Jacquard


When it comes to connected clothing, there isn't a bigger partnership than Levi's and Google. The two giants teamed up in May to develop a way to take the physical interface away from your devices and onto your clothes, and the fruits of the marriage should be seen in 2016.

40. Xmetrics


Xmetrics is the hottest swimming wearable in what is otherwise a fairly tepid pool. Designed for pros and enthusiasts, it sits on the back of your head to minimise drag and measures a broader set of bio-mechanics than any other swimming wearable. Between kick-turn times, breath counts, stroke efficiency - plus all the usuals - all fed back to you in real time audio; it's a far more detailed and complete platform than anyone's made before. It should sell big.

39. The Void


If gaming were any more real, then it would no longer be a game. The Void is a real-life VR theme park built in Salt Lake City. In beta phase at the moment but opening soon, it's virtual gaming experiences are superimposed onto a blank maze-like space. The upshot is that all your other senses buy into the vision of your adventure as well as just your eyes.

38. Wearable data in sports coverage


The 2015 NFL season kicked off with all 1,696 players fitted with a set of RFID chips capable of sending back stats on position, pace, distance travelled and acceleration in real time. While it's great for sports scientists, 2016 will see TV networks wake up to the entertainment potential of the data. The NBA are supposedly keen and the right kind of kit is already in place in cycling and motorsports. The only question is whether the teams choose to grant access.

Opinion: Christina Mercando d'Avignon

"Wearable technology will evolve in 2016 to have a stronger focus on aesthetics and design. We believe people will be shopping for electronic devices the way they shop for clothing. You'll want to wear the piece that fits your personal style - as well as the functionality that fits your lifestyle. We also want people to own a multitude of devices - much like clothing, your tech accessories should have variety and you shouldn't have to wear the same design every day."
37. Christina Mercando d'Avignon


Ringly CEO Mercando d'Avignon is set for a storming 2016, after securing a fresh $5m in investment for her smart ring. With MasterCard mobile payment tech incoming along with new form factors, it looks like this lady's the diamond of smart jewellery.

36. Moto 360 Sport


The New Year starts with this new sports watch on sale from December in Europe and January in the States. Only the second Android Wear watch to come with GPS, the Moto 360 Sport has a reasonable price tag, heart rate monitoring and, of course, also comes with all the usual smartwatch features.

35. Life-saving wearables


Wearables' unique position on the body make them more personal than ever before, and offer the chance for them to become real life savers. Crowdfunded Athena smashed its goal thanks to its promise to protect women via an alarm and GPS alerts. Cheaper sensors also help tech companies build for the developing world. From storing medical records or even warning people about floods and earthquakes, wearables are set to make a difference in 2016.

34. Eunjoo Kim


Principal designer on the Samsung Gear S2, Eunjoo Kim can be credited with that rotating bezel that's made it so successful. With 18 years of UX and tech industry experience - including time at Motorola and Qualcomm - Samsung would be crazy not to let her run with more wearables ideas given she's finally got the company the kind of foothold it wanted.

33. Smart coaching


The big frustration with fitness platforms is that those programs they assign to us are far too general and wearables in 2015 have begun to clue up to this. Moov has already tackled the problem and Fitbit has promised a bigger emphasis on coaching, too.

32. Verily


The newly rebranded Google Life Sciences already has some ambitious projects including its glucose-detecting contact lens. Google's also set to use tech to target cardiovascular disease, cancer and mental health problems too.

31. Kids' wearable toys


Disney is leading the line with making children's wearables and its Playmation wearable toys are set to be hot for 2016 with Iron Man first out of the blocks. The idea, much like The Void, is to turn everyday place spaces like homes and gardens into virtual game environments that you can change with every update and purchase.

30. Intel's wearable tech reality show


Under the working title of America's Greatest Makers, and set to air in 2016, is the rather bonkers sounding concept of Intel's reality TV show where the contestants are inventors and their turns are their wearable tech innovations. There's a $1m prize at stake and a format that seems to work with everything from singing to pottery, so who'd bet against it?

29. Smartwatches untethered


As smartwatches mature, the need for a constant digital umbilical chord to a smartphone starts to feel a little antiquated. The great separation is already underway with Android Wear and the Samsung Gear S2 both supporting e-SIMs, which tap into your pre-existing cell network at no extra cost. While the first untethered Android Wear device, the LG Watch Urbane Second Edition has been cancelled, we'd bet that every smartwatch brand with have an LTE version by the end of 2016.

28. Chris Milk


Famous for bridging the gap between emerging technologies and storytelling, Chris Milk will be turning his hand to VR movies in 2016 with his Vrse.works production company. He's already made VR music videos for Apple Music, documentaries with the UN and films that take users through a horrifying POV experience of a psychiatric institution. And he sees virtual reality as the ultimate empathy machine to promote the understanding of the plight of people everywhere. Now teamed up with the Sundance Film Festival, this man has a bigger platform than ever.

27. Tag Heuer


Tag Heuer did it right - plenty of hype, the biggest of partners and an unsliceable wheel of cheese. All the these elements, plus old-fashioned good design, have meant that the Tag Heuer Connected is very credible and very good-looking smartwatch indeed, and it's promised new designs in 2016. It's the new blueprint that other smartwatch manufacturers are set to ape.

26. Pebble Smartstraps


In an inspired move, the Pebble Time now comes with the ability to accept smartstraps containing whatever gadgets and chips third party developers can dream up. Expect a flow of them throughout 2016.

25. Adidas


Adidas's VP for the department told Wareable that we're going to see even more sensors in play from the German company next year. After the $239m investment in Runtastic back in August, we're expecting big things from Adidas over the next 12 months.

24. Prêt-à-porter wearables


Smart clothing has been something of a trick of couture up until now but expect that to change in 2016. With brands such as Fossil and Guess jumping on smartwatches and even Topshop selling bPay accessories in collaboration with Barclaycard – wearable tech isn't going to be on the catwalk, it's going to hit the high street.

23. Hearables


Ears are perfect for biometric measurements and a natural home for all those virtual assistants from the likes of Google, Amazon and Apple. Wareable broke the news that Microsoft is working on a hearable called Clip, Jabra's CEO is in on the game, we're expecting a second crack at the Moto Hint and Bragi Dash is just about to ship. You heard it here first.

22. YouTube 360


YouTube's 360-degree videos are set to get a whole lot bigger in the coming 12 months. With cheap virtual reality headsets flooding the market, there's going to be an awful lot of people looking for something to watch and there's no bigger name in that field than YouTube.

21. Low-cost wearables


Now that wearables have started to address the issues of design and function, it's now the cost that needs to be addressed. Xiaomi has shown that fitness tracking can be done on the cheap, and as the likes of Apple and Tag fight it out at the top, expect more manufacturers to do battle at the budget end of the market.

20. Mind reading tech


Wearables have more or less bested the body, now it's time for them to master our minds. There have been only tentative steps with the likes of Thync and Muse but, with an interesting bunch of crowdfunded brain training start-ups ready to ship in 2016, it's going to be a fascinating time as we begin to get an idea of exactly what's going on inside our noodles.

19. Microsoft HoloLens


With VR set to take the headlines in 2016, what of augmented reality? The incredibly ambitious Microsoft HoloLens developer edition is arriving for $3,000. Expect a run of mind-blowing demo videos and a setback or two as the realisation of the problems AR still faces comes home to roost. Either way, it's going to be the talk of the town for a while.

18. Clothing+ Peak+


St. Petersburg-based tech company Jabil and its Peak+ programme is one of the biggest chances for getting smart clothing for sports done properly in 2016. Having acquired Clothing+, a Finnish expert that's been responsible for embedding the sensors into Adidas, Polar, Garmin and Philips equipment up until now, Jabil has assembled all the right pieces of the puzzle to bring this development on a pace. It's set to create the standard of how to build sensors into t-shirts and sports bras and how to record biometric data without sacrificing comfort.

17. Tony Fadell & Project Aura


Arguably the most successful man in the Internet of Things, Tony Fadell has been fast-tracked by Google and tasked with perhaps the most difficult job of all - saving augmented reality. Project Aura is the big G's second crack of the whip after the debatably disastrous Google Glass and now it's down to the man behind Nest to make it all right again. We know very little about what Aura will be, so far, but that's sure to change next year.

16. Gesture control


Gesture control is nothing new but it's only just starting to get good enough to enjoy. Forget the TV magic remotes, it's wearables that are embedding to make navigating your smartwatch, smartphone and everything else a whole lot more intuitive. Android Wear has introduced a few simple gesture controls, VR is going to need them to keep the experience natural and immersive and there are devices like the Myo armband looking to stake their reputations on it. Move over touchscreens. It's all about gestures.

15. Medical grade consumer tech


Digital health is an enormous opportunity for both the private and public sectors. More accurate, more constant and better respected measures of individual's biometrics mean both money- and life-saving. If you're the NHS, you can axe millions from your costs by ensuring that people are compliant with drugs. If you're an insurance company, you can price your premiums accordingly. If you're a tech giant you can capitalise with your health platform and data sales. Whomever you are, it's a winning situation. The only haunting figure is the spectre of possible identity theft; no small deal but perhaps no big problem.

14. Invisibles


We've been talking about it for years but the rest of the world needs to catch up on invisibles. Sensory tech is far easier to design when you don't have to worry about it looking great, so there are tech tattoos in development from Chaotic Moon, New Deal Design and more which might only need power from your movement or the current across your skin. And what they could learn from your sweat, we're sure to find out. You might be wearing an invisible in 2016 but, then, we'll never know.

13. Blocks


The 10th most funded Kickstarter wearable, British based modular smartwatch Blocks is set to ship in 2016. The design is impressive and the platform is open to both iOS and Android. What's more, of course, the range of modules will keep on growing meaning that you're not trapped with the hardware set that you first purchase. There's already heart-rate and fingerprint ID available with plenty more to come in the Blockstore, and even

Opinion: Sonny Vu

"As far as trends go, I think there are several megatrends that are afoot:

1. Moving beyond tracking - I think wearables will start to encompass more and more functionality such as safety, controls, and identity.
2. Embracing fashion - I think wearables will finally start to embrace fashion, which will necessarily include better design and more interesting "real" fashion brands.
3. Hearables - I think this will start to be a real category with more mainstream adoption and awareness starting to emerge late 2016."
if Blocks doesn't succeed in 2016, we're sure it's modular legacy will endure.
12. Sonny Vu & Fossil


Not only does this impressive partnership sound like a hip-hop act, it also represents two very big players in the field of wearable technology. Fossil got serious about smart kit when it launched the Q Founder and three fitness trackers. Buying up the already highly successful Misfit Wearables and its inspirational leader Sonny Vu for $260 million means absorbing a whole load of clever battery-saving and sleep tracking tech that it would have taken years to develop otherwise. Kept on as president of Misfit and CTO of all connected devices at Fossil, the voodoo that Vu does with that multinational weight behind him is going to be magic.

11. Samsung Gear S2


The Gear S2 represents Samsung's real arrival on the smartwatch scene. It's a 2015 smash but its real legacy will be how brightly it burns in 2016. Samsung Pay is set to land some time soon but the real boon is the news that you'll be able to use the S2 with an iPhone and other Android devices. That opens up an enormous opportunity for both the Korean giants and for those iOS users whom are so far unconvinced by what the Apple Watch can do. Expect the fireworks to fly when Apple realises that Samsung is eating its lunch.

10. Smart home platforms


The smart home is here, but tying all these disparate gadgets together is still a challenge. Technologies like Zigbee, Z-Wave and Thread are now ready to sit in the background while the major players fight for control with their entire platform solutions.

As we enter the ring in 2016, Samsung SmartThings, Apple HomeKit and Google Brillo will slug it out while the nimbler and more specialist Nest, Hive, Canary and co. will squabble over whose is the system to trust.

It's the beginning of another format war of sorts. Which will you choose?

9. Apple Watch 2


The Apple Watch was number one on the Wareable 50 for 2015 and that was before it was even announced. All the same, we were right to champion it as the hot wearable of the year.

Perhaps, once again, the smart money is on the Apple Watch 2 to be another huge deal as the calendar ticks over. The first iPhone had no 3G or Bluetooth. What style gaps and feature flaws will the Apple Watch 2 set out to fill? We look forward to finding out.

8. Magic Leap


Google Glass totally put you off AR but Magic Leap is here to get you extremely giddy again. We still don't know how we're going to actually access it, all we know is that we want it in front of our eyes ASAP. Everyone from Google to Qualcomm has invested in the augmented reality startup which reportedly uses light field displays to achieve the trick of overlaying 3D visuals seamlessly on top of your view of the room around you. Billed as an "operating system for reality" by its zany creator, Rony Abovitz, Magic Leap will get its moment of reckoning in 2016.

7. Wearable payments


The infrastructure is here but people aren't paying from their wrists – yet. But wearable payments are set to become the norm in 2016. A few million Apple Watches in the wild, Samsung Pay, Apple Pay, bPay, plus MasterCard backing the likes of Ringly and Nymi mean that there are going to be more ways to pay, and more securely than ever. With so many of the big players behind it, it's sure to be the year for wearable payments.

6. Fitbit


Fitbit has some work to do. The newly-IPO'd incumbent of the fitness tracker castle was the biggest selling wearable in 2015, but there are pretenders plotting against it. From the far cheaper Xiaomi to the more innovative coaching style of Moov. Just in the nick of time for the Wareable 50, we've word from the company CEO, James Park, of what to expect for 2016.

The answer to that is a three-pronged protection of the crown: more advanced sensors to pick up the likes of stress and blood pressure, more insights from the gathered data for more specific coaching advice and, perhaps key, where other makers will struggle to match Fitbit, is bigger and better partnerships with fashion brands. Thought Fitbit was finished? Think again.

5. Stress detection


What can fitness trackers record after steps and sleep? Well, 2016 will see your Fitbit keeping tabs on your stress levels as well as your activity.

A trend towards clever coaching platforms piecing together our different biometrics - our sleep patterns, our heart-rate, even our galvanic skin response - and send users both warnings of stress levels and ways that, perhaps, we can try to reduce them.

And stress is the focus for a number of companies. Fitbit is working on it, and Withings revealed that it had found stress metrics in its sensor data, which could feature on forthcoming devices to be announced at CES.

4. Women's wearables


Yes, yes, yes; can we say yes again? Yes! Is it because there's an unusual amount of female top brass in the wearable world or just that the gap in the market is so utterly cavernous? We're not sure. Either way, we've seen a hint of it already, but 2016 will be the year that women get wearable. Why? Because companies are actually starting to cater for them in both style and size.

The Moto 360 2, the Apple Watch, the Pebble Time Round have clued up to it, plus there's the growing availability of the smart jewellery, smart clothing products and the quantified fertility sensors.

3. Under Armour


Under Armour is going all out attack on the world of sports goods, and wearables are its weapon. It partnered with HTC for the (missing in action) Grip and back in February, the US giant scoffed up three of the biggest fitness platforms - Endomondo, MyFitnessPal and MapMyFitness - to make the biggest online fitness community.

It's since struck deals with sports retailers using those three app tools as tempters such that it can gain customer shopping data. With that Under Armour can ensure it's creating the very smart sports clothing that people are looking for, exactly when they're looking for it.

2. Xiaomi


Massive in 2015 and even bigger in 2016 is what we say. The Chinese juggernaut was second only to Fibit in wearable sales but, with its move across to the West timed to coincide with Fitbit's assault on Asia, it's going to be fascinating to see who turns up trumps.

2016 will see the heart-rate monitor-toting Mi Band 1S, a ceramic tracker known as Amazefit and, surely, fruit from the long-standing rumour that Xiaomi will unveil its very first smartwatch. That will begin a shake-up like no other.

1. VR for all


It's a make or break year for virtual reality in 2016. Oculus Rift is arriving in full consumer edition glory in Q1, but there are almost countless other headsets, games, films, apps and experiences to follow. There's Wareable favourite HTC Vive, its partnership with Valve, and Sony's behemoth-in-waiting PlayStation VR. Add to that Razer OSVR, Fove VR, plus all the peripheral gloves, suits and rigs we've yet to meet and things are about to get hectic.

Movie studios, games publishers, sports, music, art, porn, gambling and just about everyone else is trying to figure out how they can use this astonishing tech, finally set to emerge, as a phoenix from its early 1990s flames.


Track the field

Virtual sport

Augmented and mixed sport


Drone sport


VR gaming

  • great for games, 3D films
  • what Digi-Capial call "niche enterprise users": eg, medical, military, education
  • We'd also point out industries like: tourism, sex, advertising

Tourism/advertising exampleEtihad has created a VR film featuring Nicole Kidman

Porn example: VR could re-invigorate the industry

  • “people who have never paid for porn at all see value in paying for this porn” — VRTube co-owner and "adult performer" Ela Darling, who shot her first VR film in 2014
  • Example companies: HoloFilm Productions, VRTube (which has developed a camera and software for VR)
  • HoloFilm launched January 2016: sales of the company’s videos have doubled every month.
  • The company expects that growth rate to actually accelerate once Oculus Rift and PlayStation VR begin to ship widely. 
  • Question: what else will VR do for the film/gaming/entertainment industry? We believe the possibility is informed by Secret Cinema's approach to immersive storytelling. (Ask us if you're not sure what we mean by that!)

Cinema & storytelling examples: great piece on The Verge on VR and AR at the Tribeca Film Festival.

VR rising

  • 350,000 VR headsets shipped in 2015
  • 9m+ virtual reality (VR) headsets will be shipped in 2016
  • 64.8m a year by 2020 
  • (NB: headsets lacking electronics, such as Google's Cardboard viewer, not included in IDC estimates.)
  • (NB: v different figures to Gartner, which predicted only 1.4 million VR headsets would ship in 2016)
    Source: analyst firm IDC

Early VR players

Unity, Valve, Razer, Oculus Rift

Here's an example of game made with Unity's technology: 


AR Sport

  • augmented reality is also called mixed (we think this it to make it more consumer-friendly)
  • open and partly immersive – you can see through and around it
  • puts virtual things into users’ real worlds, augmenting them
  • early players: HoloLens, Magic Leap (great Wired article on Magic Leap here)


Mixed reality sport

  • Could you play a mixed version of a real + augmented reality football game?
  • The ball would be "virtual" so that the augmented players could play too
  • What tech would do this? 
    • Microsoft's HoloLens headset uses a transparent display to overlay images and information on what people see
    • Magic Leapusing its "Mixed Reality Lightfield experience"
    • “We are creating a new world where digital and physical realities seamlessly blend together to enable amazing new experiences" — Rony Abovitz, Founder, President, and CEO of Magic Leap


What does the future of sport mean for you, your sport, your company, your future?

For advice on what this means for you and your company, and for smart ideas on how you can adapt and thrive, get in touch.