Wearable technology hasn’t formed a part of the mainstream technology market for that long, but wearables are expected to grow rapidly over the next few years. According to recent forecasts, sales of wearables are predicted to jump from 29 million units in 2014 to 172 million by 2018.
Many wearable technology products are expected to launch before the end of the year. So far, there has been a lot of excitement surrounding the first Apple Watch, which was released in April. Popular brand Fitbit has also launched its latest product – the Surge. The tracker comes with optical heart rate sensing and built-in GPS and is much more advanced than previous models.
But it’s the Apple Watch that is expected to make the biggest impact on the wearable technology market. Expectations are that sales of the watch will account for 25 % of the wearables market this year. Apple is mostly promoting the Apple Watch, which is available in three versions, as a health and fitness device. However, it is likely that the product will develop quickly. The watch was already able to track workouts, open doors and send touch messages, and now it is even able to pay for your purchases.
More wearable tech means more specially developed software is required. This week, Apple expended its mobile wallet service ‘Apple Pay’ to the UK, making it the first market outside the United States to have access to the wearable payment facility. The software lets customers save their payment card details, so that the phone can then be used as a means for paying for items in stores, bars, and restaurants. This development is the obvious next step to online banking going mainstream and follows predictions from forecasters who believe that all our financial transactions could soon be carried out without the need for physical cash.
The quick development of wearable technology and its use within the financial industry is exciting, but innovations such as ‘Apple Pay’ are often inaccessible to people without a bank account or current account. Yet, many people in the UK are unbanked or underbanked. It’s important to remember that to anyone who has been denied traditional banking facilities, there are alternative banking solutions available.
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