Future looks bright for wearable health and fitness devices

Sensorized fitness gadgets, wearable heart-rate monitors, and sleep trackers are all part of a huge surge in wireless mHealth devices this year, according to global market researchers ABI Research.

By the end of the year, the company reports that nearly 30 million devices will have shipped in the past 12 months, up 37 percent from last year. In the coming years, the total market for wearable wireless devices in sports and healthcare is predicted to grow to nearly 170 million devices in 2017.

Bluetooth Smart takes a lot of credit for the expansion, as the new technology is making inroads into a slew of fitness and health products, according to both ABI and The Bluetooth Special Interest Group (SIG).

Major players Polar, Garmin, Nike, and Adidas have all ramped up their wearable wireless sensor offerings this year, while a host of startups have emerged on the scene hoping to offer up stiff competition.

Earlier this year, Bluetooth SIG announced that it was forming a new Sports and Fitness Working Group, which aims to increase interoperability between wearable gadgets and sensors and so-called "hub" devices such as smartphones, televisions, and gym equipment.

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