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Topic: Wearable technology (and the IoT) April 28, 2016

Posted by sarahkoallick in 2016 Trends.
  1. Definition

The trend I chose to analyze and write about is wearable technology, and in conjunction with that, the Internet of Things. Wearable technology is “clothing and accessories incorporating computer and advanced electronic technologies” [1]. These technologies serve a purpose and have practical function for the wearer. A few examples of these devices are smartwatches, fitness trackers, headphones, and smart glasses [2]. These types of technology contribute to the Internet of Things by connecting people in a more personal level to the web and/or cloud and by keeping them continuously connected. Information is sent from these devices to where it’s stored; these devices are connected to the network and don’t necessarily require human interaction to handle or use the data [1].

  1. Scope of Potential Impact

There has been a lot of growth and development in wearable devices and technology over the past few years. The devices related to the fitness and medical field have garnered particular interest from consumers [4]. However, the technology available from devices like this has overlapped into other areas of the IoT and gathered interest from companies looking to build new devices that attract consumers from all interests. There is potential in areas for consumer entertainment or efficiency, however, I see the most room for impact in the medical field. I have a friend who is Type 1 diabetic. The devices that he wears and uses are wirelessly connected; they report and track his blood sugar levels to help him monitor them. I also read about a device, in article [5], about a similar device that monitors asthma symptoms in asthmatic patients. To me this seems like the most useful and impactful use of wearable technology. That article further discusses many similar devices for different health conditions or ailments.

  1. Evidence of Growth

Examples of growth in this trend are plentiful and “analysts predict a sales boom on the horizon” [4]. There is still much to be added to current smartwatches and fitness trackers. And there are also newer, and not yet released technologies like Google Glass [1]. The current growth can be shown by smartwatches alone. There was the Apple watch, then the Samsung Watch and the Moto360 came along [1]. These devices all came from the success of the first and all come with their own features and unique capabilities. When technology takes off like this with consumers, it’s inevitable that other companies will work to build their own version of the newer, better, and faster product. The CEO of tech company Nymi, John Haggard, predicts that 2016 is gearing up to be another transitional year for wearables” [3]. Nymi is a tech company that has a heartwave-sensing wristband that also can record the owner’s fingerprint information; the company wants their technology to be used to replace passwords. Essentially this company wants their wearable device to become a three part security system and login system for apps [6]. This is the kind of impact and growth that is possible from the movement to wearable technology.

  1. Summary Statement

This area of technology has proven to be impactful already. There have been a few news articles recently about how FitBits have helped save a peoples’ lives. I think the medical benefits of these devices is the main benefit of it. Sure, there are functions of the smartwatches that help the busy, traveling CEO keep track of things without checking his phone all the time, but the medical field I think can benefit far greater from this trend. As far as recommendations go, I always suggest learning as much as you can about a technology before trying it. In the case of my friend, the diabetic, the technology that he has, helps him handle his diabetes in a proactive manner; he can monitor his own blood sugar levels easily and noticed if his levels are out of balance potentially before feeling the affects physically. The benefits of furthering research and development of this trend can, and I think will, have powerful impact.


[1] https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Wearable_technology

[2] http://www.howtogeek.com/207108/wearables-101-what-they-are-and-why-youll-be-seeing-a-lot-of-them/

[3] http://www.techrepublic.com/article/top-iot-and-wearable-tech-trends-for-2016-smartwatches-in- transition-as-smartglasses-rule/

[4] http://searchmobilecomputing.techtarget.com/feature/Trend-alert-Wearable-devices-are-about- to-take-off

[5] https://www.wearable-technologies.com/2015/04/wearables-in-healthcare/

[6] http://techcrunch.com/2013/09/03/nymi/



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