Technology powerhouse Cisco has taken note of the rapid ramp-up of wearable technologies and published an updated version of its Visual Networking Index report. The report released on Tuesday, predicts that more than half a billion wearables will be in use by 2019.
Cisco estimates 578 million wearables will be available globally, a five-fold increase from the 109 million in use today.
The company expects traffic from wearables to account for 1.4 percent of global smartphone traffic and to grow 18-fold by 2019, to 277 petabytes per month.
Smartphones will continue to handle the front-end processing, providing a central control hub for wearables with their larger screens making for easier device management. Cisco estimates an increase of almost a billion smartphones, up from 4.3 billion in 2014, to 5.2 billion by 2019.
The global roll-out of faster and more energy-efficient mobile networks will enable a corresponding expansion in wearable device capabilities. Combined with the rapid deployment of Internet of Things (IoT) enabled devices, wearables are marked out as a “high-growth category.”
Cisco expects wearables to benefit from significant advances in gestural, voice-activated and intelligent interface design. Such advances will allow for more natural conversational interactions and increase the usefulness and usability of wearables as a whole.
Wearables are already moving beyond first-use scenarios, delivering identity verification, biometric health-monitoring, navigation, news and alerts, communication, home automation and remote control of connected objects. As this rapid expansion continues, expect many more use-cases and capabilities to emerge.