Expect the nascent wearables industry in Canada to be worth $600 million in five years. This was one of the insights that Krista Napier, senior analyst of mobility for IDC Canada, offered at the latest We Are Wearables event in Toronto.

The IDC recently released their report, The State of Wearables in Canada, and shared some of their findings at the monthly Wearables event.

According to the IDC, up to 18 per cent of Canadians are very interested in owning a wearable device. What is considered a wearable device? The IDC classifies the following as true wearables: Complex Accessory, Smart Accessory, and Smart Wearable.

A Complex Accessory is a device that is partially independent of any other computer device and also has no third-party apps. Examples of such devices would be the Nike Fuelband and Fitbit.

A Smart Accessory is also a partially independent device. The difference is that these devices have third-party apps. Examples would be the Samsung Galaxy Gear and the Sony Smart Watch.

A Smart Wearable functions independently of any other device, has third-party apps and is connectivity agnostic. Think of Google Glass and Neptune Pine.

Connected products that Napier’s team does not consider true wearables are Bluetooth headsets, heart-rate monitors and simple digital watches.

And while the wearable industry is on a growth trajectory, there are a number of challenges that Napier sees facing this young industry:

  • Fashion
  • Social Acceptance
  • Price
  • Quality
  • Purchase Location
  • Fragmentation
  • “Good Enough” devices
  • Privacy
  • Battery Life

Two wearable startups followed Napier’s presentation.


Robert Tu, founder of MeU, introduced his company to the audience. The MeU product is a wearable accessory built on a flexible LED matrix that can be worn on the body, on clothing or any other material to display any type of information.


Pierre-Alexandre Fournier, CEO of Hexoskin, personally demo’d his product. This biometric shirt, which Fournier proudly wore, is able to track a number of health data points of the individual wearing the smart shirt. The measurements include everything from physical training, sleep and personal daily activities.

Pierre-Alexandre Fournier, CEO Hexoskin
Pierre-Alexandre Fournier, CEO Hexoskin


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