In the past few years, there has been a significant rise in smart wearable technology. This luxurious item is becoming a common man’s accessory. In fact, 6 out of 10 smartphone users believe that wearables will have a vast scope for development that will go beyond health and wellness.
Well if you are curious, who invented wearable technology? Here’s your answer- In 1960, Professor Edword Thorp and Claude Shannon brought in the first wearable computer. The device had a small four-button strapping around the waist with toe and earpieces. This invention was useful in roulette wheels. So it’s safe to assume that it was among the first wearable computing devices.
What is Wearable Technology?
Wearable technology is known as wearables, and wearables are electronic devices that are worn on the body to track, analyze and transmit real-time personal data of the health or workout.
So, Smart Wearable Technology devices are those devices that are worn as accessories on the body. These wearable devices are able to do everything that a smartphone or laptop is capable of doing. In fact, the wearable industry is reaching a point where it can offer more features than a traditional technological device. A fitness tracker is a good example of a smart wearable device.
Wearable Technology Statistics
Global end-user spending on wearable devices was around 81.5 billion U.S dollars in 2021. The forecast suggests there will be a significant increase in this number by the end of 2022 i.e. 90 billion dollars.
This market is continuing to grow in recent years, so investing in wearable technology is certainly not a bad choice. To further support this point, here are some uses of industrial wearables in common industries:
- Wearable medical devices –For monitoring heart rate, calories, biochemicals, seizures, physical strain, etc. this falls under wearable health technology.
- Mining industry– ‘Electronic Nose’ for sensing the excessive carbon dioxide and other fatal gases in the mines.
- Weather forecast– Useful for prediction such as Real-time snow, cyclone, or wind speed updates.
- Ruggedized smartphones– A rough and tough device that responds even in extreme conditions i.e. when the user (workers, laborers) is wearing gloves.
- Safety and GPS– Live GPS updates to the connected app users.
- Smart Glass– specifically for technicians who work on minimalistic devices.
We all use smart devices in our daily lives. But, there are certain advantages and disadvantages of wearable technology. So before we move to the advantages of wearable technology, let’s discuss some cons of wearable technology in business.
Disadvantages of Wearable Technology
✦ A source of distraction
Like other smart devices, wearable devices are also too distracting. These devices are in connection to mobile phones, so they certainly provide their users with immediate notifications. A user doesn’t need to look at the device but, it’s impossible not to look at the other end of the hand if the wrist vibrates.
You will easily get a smart wearable device for cheap rates. On the other hand, if you are willing to buy one that benefits you in numerous ways, you will also need to spend some extra dollars on the same.
Further, the cost of purchasing, maintaining, and repairing a particular feature that doesn’t work in wearables is high.
✦ Battery drains quickly
Most wearables have battery limitations. They discharge real quickly and eat up lots of time for users while recharging batteries. Often a user completely forgets about the wearable battery status i.e. 0% battery, which is frustrating.
✦ Inaccurate Data (Faulty Readings)
This is the biggest drawback of any wearable device. The internal system malfunction is responsible for any wrong data reading, collection, recording, etc.
Keeping this in mind, it is safe to say that there is a chance of the device being defective which also means that it will give you faulty readings. Users rely on devices completely. So if a user asks the smart wearable device for an international time zone, weather forecast, etc., and receives inaccurate data it can misdirect the user. Especially, if there is a malfunction in wearable devices in healthcare, it can lead to serious complications while real-time assessment of patients health.
✦ Not each device is standalone
Often a user needs to own or use multiple devices to ensure he/she gets maximum benefits and smooth functioning from these wearable devices.
✦ Security threats in future
The capturing or uploading of data via wearable devices is not part of the end-to-end encryption. So it poses a threat to the data security of the users.
Additionally, there is no PIN, password, or access lock on such wearables. This shows us that anyone can easily gain access to your data if the device is lost. Further, these are the following Security threats to a smart wearable device,
- Data manipulation
- Misuse of data
- Data leak
✦ Health Issues
A smart wearable device connects through Wi-Fi or Bluetooth. These devices transmit information via wireless technologies that in turn create radio waves. But, such devices are harmful to the users and the ones around them.
Advantages of Wearable Technology
Now that we know the cons of wearable technology, let’s shed some light on some pros of wearable technology.
✦ Increases productivity
The main purpose of wearable technology is to make your life easy and increase your productivity levels. So far it hasn’t disappointed in this area. So if you are able to get an effective smart wearable device, you can easily get access to real-time traffic updates, time zones, heart rate, etc.
✦ Syncing with other devices
You can easily sync your mobile phone and laptop with your smartwatch. Further, you can also synchronize your device with your family. This allows you to keep track of not only your individual health but also your family.
A smart wearable device like a smartwatch is able to multitask as an activity tracker, a phone and can assist you with cashless payment. So, wearable technology is certainly making communication easier.
✦ Health and safety considerations
Wearable technology is important in the medical sector, especially in monitoring critical patients who suffer from serious health conditions. They can also keep track of important signals themselves without any manual assistance from any nurse or a caretaker, but it is always recommended to have a nurse around for critical condition patients.
✦ Portable and convenient
Smart wearable devices are super convenient to use and barely take up any space i.e. portable and mobile, so this makes them traveler-friendly. Nowadays, wearable technology has made following things simpler than before,
- Checking Blood pressure levels
- Heart rate analysis
- Track Calories burnt and much more…
✦ Instant gratification
Wearable fitness devices count the number of steps, track the total distance you ran, and calories burnt while exercising. This helps an individual with the motivation to work out even more.
Generally, manufacturers make sure high comfort levels for their customers while designing wearable technology. This means you can keep the wearable tracking devices on you while you exercise in the gym or even in a meeting at your workplace.
Wearable technology Challenges
We observed some cons of wearable technology, but there are certain risks that can harm an individual both physically and psychologically. In certain cases, the person using a smart wearable device is not even aware of these risks. Here are some risks and challenges that wearable technology poses:
✦ Cyber Risks
The security and privacy of health records are one of the major issues with wearable devices. These devices continuously gather health information, store it and transfer it on multiple occasions which risks the safety of an individual. This data is also a tool for marketing for many companies and health insurance providers. The insurance company uses this data for health policies and premiums according to the user’s behavior patterns, activities, and pre-existing medical conditions. So there is a possibility of criminal abuse.
✦ Technical issues
Low battery life is a common issue for many wearable devices. Here, the battery life is having limitations so devices are not able to function longer which also affects the data collection and analysis process. Further, these are some technical issues for wearable industries to improve on:
- The negative user experience
- Battery lifespan
- GPS support
- Software reusability
- User comfort
- Manipulation of data
- Lack of encryption
✦ Regulatory issues
Globally, countries follow different rules and regulations to deal with data collection, transfer, storage, and safety. Commitment to different policies may create an imbalance in the operation and data flow. Some countries follow very precise surveillance laws and demand the local storage of the data. In certain cases, companies are not able to store the data for a longer period.
✦ Digital Divide
The digital divide or affordability is also a major challenge from a social perspective. People who belong to the low-income groups live in rural areas or are unable to afford the benefits of wearable devices. The lack of internet connectivity is also one of the major factors responsible for such a digital divide.
✦ Data Interpretation (Technology errors)
Reliability, validity, and accuracy of data are other drawbacks of wearable devices. The data collected may vary if the device is worn on different body parts and also according to the position of the device. The inaccurate data is not reliable for diagnosis. If the devices are showing inaccurate vitals, the companies are held accountable for such fatal mistakes. So, for proper healthcare and productivity, these risks must be taken care of by wearable technology industries.
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Future of Wearable Technology
A number of industries are developing innovative types of wearable technology, especially in the healthcare industry. Wearable technology in healthcare is going to get an enhancement from wearable industries.
Further, inputs to wearables are improving daily. Machine learning algorithms allow the transformation of simple sensor input into more workable health or activity data. In short, wearable technology is able to grasp the context of usage by machine learning.
No wonder the wearable market is trending, because many players are entering the domain with better offers and services for customers. However, to keep the demand going and maintain the trust of the consumer, manufacturers need to address the challenges posed by wearable technology.
To summarize, the wearable industry is going to keep expanding in the future.
Smart Wearable Technology – Final assessment
There are pros and cons for every technology. Also, excess use of any technology device is harmful to human existence. The same goes for wearable devices but, the potential of wearable devices is too much to ignore. There are too many benefits of this technology to walk away from. So if you are looking for a feasible wearable device for yourself or for enhancement of your business contact us.
Wearable technology FAQs
What are different wearable technology examples?
Wearable technology provides people with various smart devices, here are some wearable technology examples to keep an eye on,
- Fitness tracker
- Body sensor
- Smart jewelry
- Hearing aid
- Smart glasses
- Smart clothing and etc.
What is a wearable safety device?
A wearable safety device appears like a normal accessory but they are designed in such a way to keep your loved ones safe. There is a button hidden on the backside. The button configuration is in such a way that it immediately sends a GPS location link or alert message to the 5 registered emergency contacts.