Wearables are becoming all the rage in technology. What started out as fitness trackers and GPS watches for running and cycling has evolved into the Apple Watch and Samsung's Gear S-series. Some companies and institutions are still jumping on the mobile app bandwagon, so is it time to create a dedicated wearable technology app now?
According to the International Data Corporation Worldwide Quarterly Wearable Device Tracker, wearable device shipments will reach 76.1 million units in 2015, up by 163.6% from the 28.9 million units shipped in 2014. By 2019, worldwide shipments will reach 173.4 million units, resulting in a five-year compound annual growth rate of 22.9%.
But, proceed with caution. Experts agree that there's no need to immediately jump in on the wearable market just yet. It's most important to evaluate your mobile banking and payments strategy first and go from there because the development of a dedicated wearable app can require significant resources and integration.
Piggybacking off of existing functionality for wearables is a more practical option for most financial institutions at this time. The screen size of wearables can be a limiting factor in how much text a consumer is willing to enter. So, functionality should be response focused with as little text input by the user as possible.
What that means is the market may enjoy having the functionality of receiving banking alerts on their wrist; or they may want their wearable to serve as a second form of security authentication for mobile payments. And over time, they may desire greater functionality... So time will tell.
If the smart "wristwear" market takes off as predicted, then consumers will be turning to their wrist for many of the same functions they are using smart phones for today. Credit unions would be smart to keep tabs on this technology because future mobile banking may require integrated apps for wearable compatibility.