According to the World Health Organization, approximately 17.9 million people died due to cardiovascular diseases in 2016. The number represented 31% of total deaths across the globe. This shows that even if the data is approximate, it makes real-time tracking of one’s health extremely important. Real-time health tracking can significantly lower the risk of fatal cases and contribute to saving a life. These infinite sets of requirements gave rise to one of the most innovative forms of technology – Wearable Technology.
Healthcare is not the only industry that has adopted wearable technology, instead, a lot of other industries too have accepted this new and innovative invention. The entire digital ecosystem is looking forward to taking the leap beyond just ‘fitness trackers’ and ‘smartwatches’. The technology is now being effectively implemented to revolutionize blood pressure monitoring, blood sugar tracking, smart hearing system, smart home system, smart glasses and more. The target is to penetrate every aspect of this digital ecosystem and making it available for professionals as well as for the general public.
The intervention of wearable technology has significantly put smart devices on the map and has allowed the business to become alive and real-time. It has energized those audiences who wanted to stay ahead in the technology curve. But what actually is wearable technology? How does it work and what are the real-life implications, projections, and impact? To understand all aforementioned and similar questions let’s start with the basics.
Defining Wearable technology
Wearable technology has a promising future and it basically refers to the accessories and smart clothing systems that incorporate smart computing and advanced electronic technologies. These wearable devices can be worn by a consumer and includes tracking of information related to health, fitness, watching patterns and more. The devices contain micro motion sensors to track real-time changes and sync it with your mobile device.
This technology is a subset and a very clear example of what we know as ‘Internet of Things’, a complex integrated system of computing devices, big data and machines which have the ability to transfer the recorded data. Certain examples of modern-day wearable devices are fitness trackers, blood pressure monitors, smart goggles, smartwatches, smart clothing, and the list goes endless.
The explosive growth of wearable technology
The wearable technology industry is all set to explode at a CAGR of 19% to hit the mark of USD$ 54 billion by 2023. The enterprise adoption of wearable markets has also been increasing exponentially due to the increased interest in healthcare, logistics, defense, financial technology, and insurance industry. The popularity has reached new heights as the technology now incorporates machine learning, artificial intelligence and augmented reality. The relevance of these intertwined technologies has made them popular across industries.
Another reason for its explosive popularity is the flexibility, accuracy, and convenience that it provides to the user. It has successfully penetrated the lifestyle of the consumer and various market segments. The number of connected wearable devices has increased from 325 million (2016) to a whopping 722 million (2019) and is all set to cross the mark of 1 billion by 2022.
The projections and impact on various Industries
Wearable technology inside the classroom has already picked up the pace and we can already see the immense potential in the wearables like headsets, glasses, trackers and more.
The technology has connected the students seamlessly with the classrooms and they feel more engaged than ever. With every passing day, new platforms are being designed and developed by mobile app development companies and these platforms are helping the students with their homework and general assignments.
Universities have already started leveraging the technology to design special devices that are helping in maximizing the capability of wearable technology education. Not to forget, the innovations in wearable technology has also made the ecosystem equally accessible for all, even for those with simple or complex cognitive disabilities. So, logically speaking the facilities can now be accessed by an additional 1 billion people i.e approximately 15% of the total world population.
The intertwining of this technology with the smart devices has taken smartphones out of the classroom and has facilitated a seamless connection between the students, irrespective of their physical location. It has helped the students to take interactive classrooms, send and receive questions related to their work and let the educators examine them in real-time.
The pro-activeness of the educators has also improved with this technology intervention as it has allowed them to keep in touch with the students all the time, alert them for last-minute changes, cancellations or anything ad hoc.
With the invention of virtual reality (VR) and GoPro wearable video recorders, it has been made easier than ever to master subjects like communication, engineering, complex sciences, and aeronautics. The lectures recorded through GoPro offers a world-class experience to students of all categories irrespective of their physical presence. The recorded data also comes in handy for students who might have missed their classes due to any unwanted situations.
The world is now wearing wellness on its sleeve as healthcare mobile app development has picked up the pace. In the past few years, the healthcare industry is the only one that has been truly transformed by wearable technology. There has been a major paradigm shift where the focus of wearable tech has moved from promoting health & wellness to real-time tracking and monitoring of patient’s vital signatures.
The technology industry has already offered us a system that is fulfilling its promises to entertain us, educate us, save money and let us live a healthier life. Healthcare companies like hospitals, insurance, and other companies that offer direct or indirect medical support are trying to create a myriad of devices such as sleep activity monitor, heart rate calculator, body temperature detectors, blood sugar level indicators, hydration level notifiers and more. All of the aforementioned devices are coupled with wearable technology.
The devices analyze and record data, which when combined with advanced bio-analytics can be utilized by medical practitioners and healthcare organizations to manage our health and adjust the medical attention accordingly. It is extensively used in remote patient monitoring and long-distance healthcare processes.
The data (or the big data) collected by the devices can also be leveraged by life sciences organizations to make necessary changes to their innovations in order to manage the healthcare and wellness systems in a better way.
It has opened the path to even better healthcare commodities and has changed the way conventional therapies used to take place. Several smart healthcare systems monitor the patients round the clock and notify the physician automatically in case of any unwanted flux in the data. With wearable devices, people are successfully conquering the menace of diabetes and mental illness where dosage requirements are stringent and critical for successful medication.
As the latest innovations continue to drive wearable technology towards a successful future, one can expect even greater inventions by the wearable technology industry in the field of healthcare. It is only going to attract increased and improved customer engagement.
Entertainment, Media & Communications Industries
The entertainment, media and communications industry has certainly put forward one of the largest opportunities for the growth of wearable technology. The potential offered by the technology for this section is boundless and it’s simply the beginning that is yet to be explored by the industry giants. The media industry has accepted the technology and has set itself apart from others with useful, interactive and fun based innovations that have kept their audiences loyal and intact.
Media companies leveraging the innovation would create new genres of communication and entertainment and would improve those which are already existing. The companies would be able to combine insights and big data and then blend them with curated customer experience to explore new ways of increasing their revenues. The process would not be only executed through direct advertising, instead, they would be able to deliver interest-specific content that is most relevant for their user. The media industry has already or is one the verge of shifting their interests to wearables for more relevance and immersive experiences for their audiences.
Wearable technology intertwined with the gaming industry has also offered a host of new platforms and devices to make the gaming experience more physically engaging and visually immersive. A majority of millennial users accept that they are more motivated than ever before to use wearable technology if they can use it for a gaming feature, nevertheless, companies have already started delivering the requested.
There is hardly any doubt that wearable technology will soon take over each and every retail experience, and with augmented reality already being integrated into retail, the chances are cent percent. The only question that maintains its position is who would be the first one to get hold of the same, integrate it into their system and grab the profit at the earliest.
For retail customers, wearable technology will offer functionality that would improve their shopping experience in multi-folds. It will give heightened convenience, seamless payment options, bespoke offers and better insights on products. However, for retailers, it would provide granular information about their consumers to initiate a bespoke shopping experience and would drive their sales more effectively and smoothly.
Several innovative brands like Kenneth Cole have already launched wearable technology platforms and we are just about to see other brands hopping into the competition in the near future. It was found out that after healthcare and technology, retail was on the top of the list of the users, who were adapting to wearables. A majority of them showed their interest in experiencing technology in their daily shopping routine.
With the convergence of technology and retails shoppers are now expecting that this fusion will make their retails experiences even more customized, personalized and seamless and would get them better offers and improved customer services. A lot of consumers surveyed from a variety of demographics accepted that they would want to use a wearable device that could help them to cut down their shopping costs and give them a smoother experience.
Technology has always been pulled in especially by the lure of intriguing new gadgets and as it’s in the nascent stages it has expanded at its maximum. IT has always focussed on providing human-centric technology, designs, and gadgets, and wearable tech is no exception. At this epicenter of the wearable technology movement IT has been the driving force to maximize its capability to reach. Today, as more and more wearable products are designed with focussed business applications, users are expecting that it will fulfill the promises of improving their workplace productivity, engagement, intuitiveness, increased efficiency, and productivity.
The potential of wearable applications in the workplace is staggering. It enables employees to access information on the go with wireless smart headsets, wrist displays, and other technically equipped lanyards. Organizations must adapt to this technology and start strategizing around this as this would give them a head start over others. As soon as they equip their employees, especially IT, with the appropriate application and device, it will start reflecting a better business potential and a guaranteed competitive advantage.
On the other hand, the organizations must also prepare for a backup and risk management strategy as it is imperative that initially there would be potential setbacks while introducing the technology to the teams. Navigating the employees through the user interface needs to be fully comprehended and explained before the final release, for e.g smart glasses which have a very less user base. Devices would definitely be requiring the best mobile app developers from the industry to implement a new design strategy for seamless user experience. This sums up as, the devices equipped with wearable technology not only need to collect data, but also analyze and extract meaningful outputs to offer exactly what the user needs.
The Future of Wearable Technology
Wearable technology has actually been the game-changer and offers a lot more than we can explore. The list of wearable devices and their future possibilities is endless. Right from advanced blood pressure monitoring to smart clothing systems that can unlock your car or optimized diet management to automatic translators for your pets, the options are infinite.
Companies are finding new and innovative ways to apply them in our daily lives in order to make us live longer, healthier and be more productive than ever. The future of wearable technology is definitely vibrant and would be seamlessly helping us to carry our digital information around our necks, wrists or even on the ears. This is the beginning of the digital transformation.
Shirley Williams is a leading software testing consultant, a user experience design enthusiast, one of the best mobile app developers in the industry. She has been invited to take guest lectures for various background verification companies on software development topics, so as to enlighten the students on the latest and trending technologies across the globe. She has received several accolades including the best speaker two times in a row and best technical writer. As mentioned above, Shirley Williams lives with her family including parents and loves to cook, write and play chess.