In spite of all the excitement around wearable technology, the truth of the matter is that we’re still at the very early stages of development and adoption.

The ecosystem is still quite restricted and the wearables that have achieved a decent level of uptake offer limited functionality.

Even so, products like the activity bands and smartwatches are leading the way and adoption will likely increase as they get more affordable and battery life improves.

As the market matures, cheaper imports will lead to increased competition, which means profitability will be harder to find and wearables will have to offer improved functionality.

Above all, the next step in the evolution of the wearables market relies on finding a compelling use case.

We’ve already seen a number of Internet of Things devices that sound amazing but provide no real value to the user (the smart cup, anyone?).

So how can those companies designing wearables make sure they create a product that people won’t be able to live without?

To help marketers get an understanding of this challenge, Econsultancy has published a new report called A Marketer’s Guide to Wearable Technology.

It aims to demystify the world of wearable technology, give you an overview of the current state of wearables in key markets and explain how your company can succeed in the wearable space.

Author Martin Talks has identified three factors that will help to ensure your wearable finds an audience:

Utility

Utility is the most obvious factor. Think about the apps you use most often on your phone – chances are that social, maps and messaging apps will be top of the list.

Therefore wearables need to fulfil some kind of utility that is integral to our daily lives.

You wouldn’t leave the house without your phone, keys and wallet, but would you panic if you left an activity band behind?

Wearables will achieve this as part of the Internet of Things, making us a part of the network of interconnected objects and now people. 

This will enable such benefits as ‘persistent identity’ whereby we are recognised and doors unlock, travel is paid for and coffee brewed. 

There are clear-cut business cases in sectors like industrial and military and it is likely they will lead the way.

Entertainment 

Another compelling reason for people to use wearable technology. 

In particular, virtual reality offers this potential with its ability to enable people to be present anywhere they wish to be. 

However there is a shortage of content for these devices that needs to be created for the virtual reality viewers to take off.

Participation

Participation is a key driver of us all as humans. We want to be part of the herd. 

Think about smartphone apps again – how often do you check Facebook, Twitter and Instagram?

We are social animals. So far the attempts to socialise wearables, such as the ability to compare your running times against a friend, have been limited. 

But once the adoption of wearables reaches a wider audience, a tipping point will be reached where people will want to be part of this revolution.

A handy visual…

These three factors can be expressed as a formula for wearable engagement:

For a more in-depth look at the state of the wearables market, download our new report.