Hearable tech to dominate disruptive 2022

Wearable tech such as ear buds will be the fastest-growing segment in the Internet of Things market.
Wearable tech such as ear buds will be the fastest-growing segment in the Internet of Things market.

Hearables will dominate wearable technology in 2022, but much bigger themes threaten to disrupt consumers and business, analysts say.

Wearable tech such as ear buds and smart watches will be the largest and fastest-growing segment in the lucrative Internet of Things (IoT) consumer market, according to data and analytics company GlobalData.

"The explosion in interest for health and fitness monitoring shows no sign of declining," GlobalData analyst Rachel Foster Jones said on Friday.

"Competition in the smart glasses and augmented reality (AR) space is also intensifying."

But winners and losers are emerging in every sector - from banking to retail, healthcare, automotive, industrials, and energy - GlobalData told a London-based webinar.

The winners have invested heavily in next-generation technology and the losers feel they do not have to.

Generating $US97.5 billion ($A133.9 billion) in revenues in 2022, wearable tech will make up almost half (46 per cent) of the consumer IoT market, followed by gadgets for a more secure automated home (37 per cent) and the increasingly 5G connected car (17 per cent).

Google is expected to make a comeback after acquiring smart glasses company North in 2020 to realise its dreams of "ambient computing", where devices all around us work together.

"Meta will also debut its AR-capable headset and Apple will compete by launching its AR headset later this year," Ms Jones said.

GlobalData says another clear theme is that supply chain disruptions and rising labour costs are bringing offshore operations home.

US manufacturers in transport, electronics, and chemicals industries will "reshore" production due to concerns over EV battery production and domestic semiconductor supply.

Cloud computing and social media have been around for years but will experience significant developments in 2022.

But the "most disruptive, nascent themes" are now augmented reality, ambient commerce, and the metaverse, GlobalData says.

Early prototypes are expected to emerge as tech companies and start-ups explore data visualisation, collaboration, and training using the immersive 3D metaverse.

Decentralised finance will disrupt banks and is set to be "the killer use case" for cryptocurrency.

Central banks are expected to play catch up through the introduction of Central Bank Digital Currencies and the adoption of stablecoins.

This year is also expected to bring an increase in signatories to the company-led Climate Pledge founded in 2019. The more than 200 signatories seek net-zero carbon emissions by 2040.

As its targets can be achieved through carbon offset schemes, there will be increasing pressure for the voluntary carbon market to be regulated.

"Companies with implausible net-zero targets risk harming their reputation," GlobalData says.

Consumers are also becoming more active in environmental and social concerns, which is translating into preferences for products such as energy saving devices.

"Undoubtedly, smart thermostats will become the fastest-growing automated home segment in 2022," Ms Jones said.

Australian Associated Press