Reading time ( words)
An already strong hearables market is getting a boost from vendors rolling out new multi-functional products. Evolving from just wireless music players with the ability to take calls, many hearables devices now provide the user with the ability to control the level of ambient noise, with others offering fitness tracking capabilities, information about scheduling, and even real-time language translation. ABI Research forecasts hearable shipments will top 11 million in 2022, increasing from just 0.6 million in 2017, at a CAGR of more than 75%.
“Hearables are beneficial for both consumer and enterprise users, as they can access hands-free calls, music, and even information, without wires attaching them to a separate device, such as a smartphone,” says Stephanie Lawrence, Research Analyst at ABI Research. “Old devices are being updated and new devices are being developed, which is helping to ensure that the hearables market continues to grow.”
In recent months, many companies have updated their offerings. Many new consumer products have been announced, such as Bragi’s Dash Pro, which offers an extended battery life, language translation, and support by IBM’s Watson. Other consumer products have begun shipping, such as Doppler Labs’ Here One, Nuheara’s IQbuds, and Sony’s Xperia Ear. Some existing consumer products have also seen updates, such as Alpha Audiotronics’ Skybuds, which now provide alerts if they are out of Bluetooth range and a Find My Skybuds feature which identifies the last known location.
Many of these products also have uses within an enterprise setting and a number of vendors have updated their enterprise specific devices. Jabra has released a headset for office workers with active noise cancellation, the ability to simultaneously connect to two devices, and an extended range. Maven Machines released a new driver headset that measures head position to ensure the driver is focused and driving safely. Plantronics released a new device for mobile workers with audio management, voice activated mute alert, and information on caller names and call statuses. Theatro’s retail worker communicator device has also been updated to allow workers to upsell or recommend alternate products, due to a partnership with CloudTags.
“These new releases and updates are causing the enterprise and consumer hearables markets to grow substantially,” concludes Lawrence. “The additional functionalities are expanding the number of use cases in which hearable devices are an advantageous addition.”