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At Fashionable CES, Wearable Electronics Are the New Black

Hipster_smart_glassesAt the expense of stating the obvious, wearable devices are the new black when it comes to what’s fashionable in high tech right now.

By 2018, wearable shipments are expected to jump to 112 million units, more than five times last year’s figure, according to market researcher IDC. At this year’s Consumer Electronics Show (CES), a vast assortment of wearable electronics — from multipurpose wearable devices to cheaper, single-serving products — debuted, giving manufacturers hope they’ve successfully predicted the future of consumer demand.

As CNET reported there will be a vast assortment of do-everything wearable devices that will attempt to emerge from the shadow of the Apple Watch. Samsung, Motorola and others have entries in the do-it-all device gold rush with products that will offer more functionality than R2-D2 has tools.

According to Forrester, businesses will have to embrace wearables for delivering services, managing workers and marketing. Forrester report states: “Wearables will fuse disparate functions of multiple devices to create an all-body network that receives a variety of inputs and then acts on them.”

While Forrester’s take on wearables may seem right out of a Philip Dick novel, it’s not science fiction – it’s here now. Wearables have hit the 10 percent penetration mark.

Forrester goes on to state: “Over the next decade, CMOs will increasingly be able to cull data from across the all-body network to create new customer experiences — some of which are delivered directly on the wearable device, while others are delivered around it. CMOs who are already focusing on the age of the customer can expect an even more deeply connected era in which their reach into customers’ lives extends further than ever before.”

That’s not a plot point out of Minority Report; it’s the future of one-to-one marketing.

While attending this galactic-sized Las Vegas smorgasbord of consumer electronics companies from around the world, you’re sure to find a number of exotic products that will make your eyes roll; for instance, one of the more “shocking” inventions at last year’s CES was the Yellow Jacket iPhone case. The case not only protected your iPhone but could deliver 650,000 volts through two electrodes mounted on top.

Now you, too, can own your own designer taser. Unfortunately, the British company doesn’t offer international shipping of the product because it’s, well, illegal. That ruling came down with a “Don’t ship me ‘bro” admonition.

At this year’s event there was an athletic t-shirt that calculates the salt ratio of your sweat glands, which might seem like an awesome idea until the shirt disintegrates after a single washing. Not even Snuggles could keep an idea like this from ending up in the Goodwill laundry bin.

However, there will also be technologies that are so disruptive, they will make your heart palpitate at the fear these competitors could eat your lunch.

So, how do you survive in a market where barriers to entry seem to continue to evaporate and a new technology can change everything overnight?

To deliver new disruptive products and ensure first mover advantage in this highly competitive industry, more and more consumer electronics companies depend on Arena’s cloud-based product lifecycle management (PLM) solution to innovate while accelerating time to market. In fact, almost all of the top wearable fitness manufacturers rely on Arena.

PLM helps OEMs plan with the flexibility to be agile, make changes quickly and implement based on supply chain issues, tech advances, competition and consumer demand.

By minimizing costly product errors and shipping delays — especially for a sector with complex electronic products and frequently changing parts — Arena PLM helps companies get to market first, stake a larger market share and maximize profit margins sooner.

To help companies gracefully handle future contingencies and avoid production delays when new technologies suddenly appear, Arena PLM enables companies to specify acceptable part substitutions directly in the bill of materials (BOM) all while being tied to the product record.

Arena PLM provides a solution that easily allows for alternatives for hard-to-source parts. This provides the ability to specify an earlier revision of an existing item as a substitute to utilize on-hand stock of a part that has been updated. When a radical new technology appears, can you turn on a dime to source an alternative part? Can your competitor?  Arena PLM gives companies a head start.

Next Tuesday, read Arena’s recap on the CES show with more insights on trends impacting innovative product companies and the future of the Internet of Things (IoT).