The market for connected devices as parental aids is large and growing rapidly. By 2020 it is expected that 4 out of every 5 parents will have at least one connected parental aid for their baby. In the U.S. alone this will be a market of least US$360 million a year, with Europe being close behind. China, which has recently eased its one child policy is expected to be a big spender when it comes to connected parental aids. Worldwide it is expected to be a market in excess of US$1 billion per annum.
The future of connected devices for parents will likely be dominated by manufacturers introducing connectivity into every day baby products. That is extending the functionality of products that already serve a purpose. This may be baby products that provide metrics on a baby's environment, through to clothing that monitors heart rate, breathing and activity levels. Blue Maestro's Pacif-i is one example where an everyday pacifier has introduced new levels of utility through the incorporation of sensors within it for smartphone connectivity. Blue Maestro has patents pending on a whole range of pacifiers that will monitor different things about a baby, none thought remotely possible until the advent of Bluetooth and smartphone connectivity.
There is unlikely to be much demand for devices that need to be strapped, wrapped, stuck or otherwise attached to the skin of a baby, simply because they raise hygiene and comfort concerns if they are used for long periods. Even something that seems as benign as a patch worn on the skin of a baby may cause a reaction over time. Also any device that is too small poses a choking hazard and so needs to be carefully designed and tested to ensure compliance with child safety standards. Also the market is a more willing recipient to a connected device where that product already serves a utility beyond the connected element. At the end of the day, once the novelty and utility of the connected element of the baby product is exhausted, to still be able to use that product for its everyday purpose still remains a compelling consumer proposition.