3 kinds of wearables as we know them today

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


Karim Kanji
Karim Kanji
Karim Kanji is the Canadian Director of Social Media Strategy at iNvolved Media. iNvolved Media was purchased by Active International in 2015. Clients include popular food brands, technology brands and other CPG companies. Prior to joining iNvolved Media, Karim led the paid social media strategy for some of Canada's most popular CPG and confectionery brands for Catalyst/GroupM. Karim started in the social media space when he co-founded and was the President of THIRDOCEAN where he led the creation of digital content for companies including Scotiabank, Ontario Teachers' Pension Plan, Microsoft, Wild Water Kingdom, Palomino Systems Inc. and Techvibes. Karim has also been recognized as a pioneer in podcasting having interviewed people such as such as federal NDP leader Jagmeet Singh, former MLSE boss Richard Peddie, TVO's Steve Paikin, Canadian serial angel investor Dr. Boris Wertz, HootSuite founder Ryan Holmes, Mathew Ingram, Mitch Joel from Mirium and many, many others. As a demonstration of thought leadership, Karim led the development and execution of reports discussing how technology and digital media have impacted industries such as retail, education, health, gaming, sports and banking.

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