Wearable technology might be a novelty item today, but that is about to change. According to research firm CSS Insight, the sales of wearables are expected to increase from 29 million units in 2014 to 172 million by 2018, with the biggest spike predicted to take place in 2015. The highly anticipated Apple Watch will likely account for one-quarter of wearables sales this year, becoming the catalyst for the wearables market to enter the next level of growth.
Smartwatches, in particular, have struggled for relevance of late. Sensing an application with the high potential for demand, Hyundai recently announced smartwatch integration with its proprietary Blue Link platform utilizing Android Wear devices and a newly developed app.
The next-generation version of Blue Link, available on the 2015 Genesis, Sonata and Azera, includes additional features controlled via smartphone or smartwatch such as remote start, climate control, window defrost and a new emergency contact e-mail/text messaging capability when the vehicle’s automatic collision notification system or SOS emergency assistance button is activated. The smartwatch app also provides first-generation Blue Link users with connected features that were not available in their Hyundai vehicles purchased back in 2012.
The latest iteration of Blue Link technology is integrated particularly deep into the vehicle’s platform and performs functions that would not be possible with lesser integrated systems. The Genesis Intelligent Assistant app, for example, combines Blue Link features with information gathered from ADAS sensors and processors located around the vehicle as well as the user’s smartphone for predictive, cloud-based analytics and proactive communication contained in a single integrated system, operated largely from the Android Wear device.
What is next for wearables in the car? If Hyundai’s commitment to wearables is any indication, we can expect further development of product cloud and biometrics technology to enable real time health and wellness monitoring, identity and permission-based activity, and predictive analysis based on behaviors monitored while in the car.
Thoughtful automakers should observe the introduction of the Apple Watch closely – not for its features, but for its ability to launch the massive consumer adoption of wearable tech. The idea of having an estimated 380 million wearable devices in operation in four years is rather impressive. We know Hyundai will want to integrate with as many of those devices as possible.
Editor’s Note: Hyundai will be demonstrating the Blue Link smartwatch app at C3’s Connected Car Pavilion in Austin on March 14 during SXSW.
Source: 2015 Hyundai Genesis Gets Next-Generation Blue Link and Infotainment Systems – J. D. Power