Wearables Battle the Hype Cycle at WTS 2016

This was our first year attending the Wearable Technology Show in London’s ExCel Centre, which has been running since 2014. Already, the event is beginning to branch out to cover more areas, such as the IoT.

Gartner’s well-known technology Hype Cycle lists five stages of a product’s development: Technology Trigger; Peak of Inflated Expectations; Trough of Disillusionment; Slope of Enlightenment; and Plateau of Productivity. John Weir, COO of the WTS, referenced the fact that wearables are now descending into the ‘Trough’ phase, as optimism makes way for reality.

Other events this week actually showed more new wearable products: Baselworld had a variety of smartwatches (Wearables Spread to Baselworld), while the Game Developers Conference previewed AR and VR headsets (VR Takes Over GDC 2016). By contrast, smartwatches were almost completely missing from the ExCel, and the HMDs were (mostly) existing models being used to demonstrate new applications.

Just because no new headsets were launched, however, does not mean that augmented and virtual reality were missing. In fact, a large area of the show floor was dedicated to these technologies, with companies like Epson, Sony and Vuzix present. More oddball wearables could be found elsewhere – like the musical tampon, or PitPat’s activity tracker for dogs.

More than 6,000 people attended – an impressive figure for a relatively small (compared to other events we’ve been to at ExCel) show. We were unable to attend the conference on the first day, but still picked up plenty of news from the floor.

WTS 2017 will take place on the 7th and 8th March.