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Improving Lives Through Wearable Technology

Wearable technology continues to advance and will produce countless opportunities for wearers, as we move forward into the future. New connections, new technology and emerging solutions enabled by wearables will change nearly every aspect of our lives.

Our capabilities when it comes to technology today seem nearly endless. New devices are becoming smaller, smarter and more efficient. Think back to the television of 20 years ago. It pales in comparison to the television options available today. Years ago, TVs were pretty standard in terms of what you could expect. Today, the options are much more expansive, including things such as display size, width, depth, and technology behind the TV screen’s display. This sort of technology evolution is currently happening right now in terms of wearable technologies and the Internet of Everything (IoE).

Wearable technology currently resides in an early adopter phase. However, as more and more people begin to utilize these devices, the evolution of wearable technology will rapidly advance, creating a number of wearable, connected devices, hosting a number of new features that will help manage our personal lives, health and safety.

What is wearable technology?

If you were to ask the question, “what is wearable technology?” often times the answers received would be along the lines of describing devices such as Google Glass, smart watches and FitBit bands, but wearable technology is much more than smart watches, glasses and wristbands. Wearable devices, as the name suggests, are devices that can be worn on a person that have the capability to connect and communicate to the network either directly through embedded cellular connectivity or through another device, primarily a smartphone using Wi-Fi, Bluetooth® or another technology.

Cisco_wearables_3

Today, wearable technology is being used and developed to change more than just our social habits; developers are looking to these devices to improve our everyday lives, healthcare and safety. These devices come in various shapes and forms, ranging from smart watches, smart glasses, heads-up displays (HUD), fitness trackers, health monitors, wearable scanners and navigation devices, smart clothing, and so forth. In fact, just recently, our own Joseph Bradley, Managing Director of the Internet of Everything (IoE)  Services, wrote a blog exploring the potential that wearables will have within the future of the health care industry. The growth of these devices has been fuelled by enhancements in technology that support the compression of computing and other electronics (making the devices affordable and light enough to be worn).

Where are wearables now?

Cisco estimates the number of wearable devices in use will jump from less than 22 million in 2013 to almost 177 million by 2018. This coupled with more mobile users/connections, faster speeds and more video will contribute more and more mobile data. All of these possibilities will be enabled by the Internet of Everything (IoE), providing rich and valuable connections among people, process, data, and things. And these examples are just the beginning.

VNI chart

Source: Cisco VNI Mobile Forecast, 2013-2018

The future of wearables in our daily lives

Wearable technology is enabling people to become more accountable for their own personal fitness and live healthier lives. In a recent study focusing on the benefits of wearable technology on life and the future, researchers found a multitude of benefits, including body sensors for personal health and fitness that can measure anything from calories burned to the wearer’s brainwaves. The growing use of wearable technology has made people more accountable for their personal health and fitness with devices that count calories, track workouts and record the user’s heart rate. In fact, 71% of Americans claim that wearable technology has improved their health overall.

The study also found that wearable technology has the potential for a big impact on healthcare advancement. Already, wearable medical technology is improving the lives of patients with diabetes, heart conditions and other illnesses. As the technology furthers and more people adopt wearing devices and sensors for healthcare, medical researchers operating in the private and public sectors will have access to a vast database of continually updated non-personal medical data on millions or even billions of individuals. Researchers could then take the information from wearable devices and begin to correlate trends with other user data, such as age, eating behavior, and location. Wearable technology has begun and will continue to enable patients with debilitating diseases to enjoy a higher quality of life. As the technology advances, doctors will be excited about becoming doctors of the future.

Wearable devices can help save lives through not only heart monitors and vital sign monitors for the sick or injured, but also through devices that contain Bluetooth connectivity that enable hands-free talking or glasses that help keep your eyes on the path ahead of you instead of glued to a screen. Developers are looking toward the future of wearable technology to make science fiction a reality and improve daily lives of its wearers. Similarly, smart watches are now being manufactured and transformed to provide easier process for everyday work tasks, like arranging meetings.

How do you see wearable technology evolving? Join the conversation by commenting below.

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8 Comments.


  1. I love pebble smartwatch and Google glass

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  2. Ying, the one area of wearable technology research that’s fascinating to me is the least noticeable — because it’s woven into a fabric. I had not previously considered the emerging market of Smart Apparel, until I read the findings from a recent global assessment.

    According to the latest market study by IDTechEx Research, the evolving field of electronic textiles (e-textiles) describes new technology that is reliant on e-fibers for electronic, electro-optic and electrical functionality.

    More details about the study are here http://bit.ly/1kB15IC

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  3. Ying, What excites me most about wearable sensor devices is the ability to track trends, see measurements in context with the environment and what the wearer is doing, and to then do predictive analytics and guide or coach wearers toward healthier lifestyle choices to prevent medical conditions, not just manage them.

    Tech innovation in health care, as elsewhere, advances exponentially as described in http://www.mhealthtalk.com/2013/07/moores-law-and-the-future-of-healthcare/.

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    • Ying Shen

      Agree there are tremendous possibilities for how wearable tech can transform the healthcare industry. On the same note, I believe it can change other aspects of people’s lives–education, shopping, etc.

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  4. You only need to look at Google trends for the keyword “Wearable Technology” to see the growth of this industry sector.

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    • Ying Shen

      There are about 231 million results on Google, which says a lot.

         0 likes