So here’s the thing with wearables in general. When a new one is introduced, it comes with the prospects of new applications and improved use cases. In the consumer oriented space, things might seem to get boring after a while – a smart watch as a notifier might not really be worth it. In the health monitoring space however, things do seem to be a little more promising. But then, where do wearable cameras fit into the picture?
Rewind a couple of years back when lifelogging was still in its growth phase, and wearable cameras were the rage. Narrative cameras were popular, and people were streaming on Periscope. But Narrative is dead today, and Periscope is somewhat irrelevant given that we have live-streaming incorporated on most social media platforms.
Which brings about the question: Will wearable cameras still find their use cases in the near future?
CLASSIFYING WEARABLE CAMERAS
The term itself is a pretty broad one, even if it might not seem like it. Wearable cameras includes action cameras (GoPro, we’re looking at you), and body cameras which might be used for anything between law enforcement to lifelogging. Use cases which seem to be gaining momentum include action sports, police body cams, and industrial and healthcare based applications.
As to which category is gaining more interest, as of now it seems that action cameras are winning. According to a Tractica report in 2016, action cameras are seeing more players that offer cheaper substitutes to GoPro’s lineup, which in turn is piquing consumer interest levels in the segment. When it comes to lifelogging cameras though, the sector might be losing its traction.
Looking at the market as a whole, wearable cameras are set to rise. According to a Transparency Market Research report in October 2017, the global wearable camera market will likely rise at a CAGR of of 13% from 2017 to 2025. This effectively makes the overall market grow from $2.71 billion in 2016, to $8.12 billion by 2025.
Region wise, Europe is expected to have the highest CAGR of 13.7%. North America has an impressive CAGR of 12.9%, but it is expected to have the most market share and revenue – that of $1.047 billion in 2017 to $2.77 billion in 2025. Tractica’s report has similar prospective forecasts, and it states that the number of shipments will rise to about 24 million in 2021.
POSSIBLE USE CASES
Here’s what I think. When it comes to lifelogging cameras, it’s slightly difficult to gauge the interest levels. We’ve seen it with Snap’s Spectacles, which flew off the shelves within the first few months, and are now perishing at storage facilities and warehouses. We’ve also seen it with Narrative’s cameras.
But then, there are Kickstarter projects such as Caply, which has already been funded double its target amount, with almost two months left to go for project completion.
Action cameras will still find viable use cases though, that’s for sure. Tourism, adventure sports, even the inclusion of more advanced concepts such as 360 degree videos (this one is definitely a winner), artificial intelligence (for capturing images and videos at appropriate moments) and maybe even a touch of augmented reality (filters, perhaps?) might just make the sector more interesting. Plus, with the growth of sectors such as drones and more livestreaming use cases coming up, wearable cameras might just become good alternatives to smartphone cameras at a much later stage.
Is the wearable camera segment growing? Yep. Is it because of lifelogging cameras? Sadly, no. But will the segment be interesting in 2018? Definitely.