analyst roundup: augmented reality, m-payments and wearables

augmented reality tools ready for enterprise use, says Gartner

A new study from Gartner says that augmented reality (AR) tools have matured enough to become viable enterprise tools. The key to their maturity has been improved location services (particularly indoor) and better image recognition. “AR leverages and optimizes the use of other technologies such as mobility, location, 3D content management and imaging and recognition,” commented Tuong Huy Nguyen, principal research analyst at Gartner. “It is especially useful in the mobile environment because it enhances the user's senses via digital instruments to allow faster responses or decision-making.” Example of applications include detecting objects generating heat or radiation, showing users routes through low-light environments and providing additional information such as size or weight of an object. Read more.

banks are in pole position to lead m-payments market, says Ovum

The majority of consumers (43%) will choose banks as their most trusted m-payment provider according to a report from analyst Ovum. Following some distance behind are credit card companies (13%), online payment providers (9%) and mobile operators (6%). “Overall revenue growth for mobile payments in 2014 will be slow and steady rather than spectacular, at least in mature markets,” says Eden Zoller, principal analyst with Ovum’s Consumer Practice. “The different dynamics at work in emerging markets will make for stronger growth among unbanked users.” The analyst claimed that NFC would fail to take off in 2014 or 2015, but added that hosted card emulation (HCE) could make the case for NFC stronger. It also predicted that Apple would launch a fully-fledged unified mobile payments platform in 2014, which would help drive consumer uptake. Read more.

health and fitness wearable to continue to drive market in 2014, says ABI Research

This year (2014) is pivotal for the success of the wearable computing market, says analyst ABI Research. It believes that healthcare and witness devices will continue to drive the market, which will see 90 million devices shipped in 2014. However smart watches will struggle and Google Glass will not make much of a commercial impact. “Wearable devices like smart watches need to overcome some critical obstacles. Aesthetic design, more compelling use cases, battery life and lower price points are the main inhibitors,” says senior analyst Joshua Flood. “How vendors approach these challenges and their respective solutions will affect the wearable market far in the future.” Read more.

IDC expects market saturation to put brakes on tablet sales in 2014

Worldwide tablet shipments continue to rise, but market saturation is slowing growth in developed markets, according to latest figures from IDC. Shipments rose to 76.9 million in the fourth quarter of 2013, bringing total sales to 217.1 million units over the year. This is up dramatically over the 144.2 million units shipped in 2012. But year-over-year quarterly growth rates are coming down heralding a slowing in the market, warns the analyst – 28.2% in 2013 compared to 87.1% in 2012. “Markets such as the US are reaching high levels of consumer saturation and while emerging markets continue to show strong growth this has not been enough to sustain the dramatic worldwide growth rates of years past," said Tom Mainelli, Research Director, Tablets, at IDC. Read more.