Wearable technology refers to embedded software that can be carried on a user’s body as accessories, a piece of clothing, implanted device, or even a tattoo. Some of the most popular examples of wearables include Fitbit watches and wristbands, Apple Watch, VR headsets for gaming, smart jewelry, etc. Although the global pandemic slowed down the wearables trend, data collected in 2021 shows that it is still very promising, especially in healthcare. This article explores technological innovations that are believed to drive the wearables trend forward.
Rollout of 5G
The spread of the 5G technology is one of the most important driving forces behind the growth of the wearables trend. It will enable ultra-fast communication of data from the wearables to users and other devices, opening numerous opportunities for further growth. Experts predict that with the better 5G coverage, more companies will invest in advanced VR technology in different spheres, such as aviation, medicine, gaming, engineering, etc.
Temperature and Blood Oxygen (Sp02) Sensors
Although these sensors are not new per se, their incorporation into the wearables may make these devices more popular among the health-conscious users. The COVID-19 pandemic made people more concerned about their health, while limited access to the scarce medical resources further strengthened the need for self-monitoring. Built-in thermometers and Sp02 sensors may make the wearables more desirable and further encourage companies to develop health-related devices.
Another technology brought by the global pandemics is called “smart” masks. This essential accessory has been enhanced to block viruses and UV light, amplify voice, and even recognize the user’s voice. The latter function allows users to make phone calls without touching the phone in their pockets. Given that protective equipment is here to stay, at least for now, one may suggest that tech companies will further invest in improving “smart” masks.
People are generally becoming more conscious about a healthy lifestyle, so fitness trackers and smartwatches will contribute significantly to the growth of wearables on the market. Advanced and sophisticated devices are becoming smaller and smarter, counting steps, measuring all possible body functions and patterns, and offering evidence-based recommendations. They can monitor and improve sleep patterns, count calories, and offer a much-needed sense of control over one’s body. Some wearables can measure sun exposure and send notifications when users spend too much time in direct sunlight. Companies that design wearables outplaying the competitors in terms of quality, functionality, and cost will likely win the market.
Interconnectivity and Internet of Things (IoT)
Internet of Things also drives the development of wearable devices. This term refers to the interconnection of various devices connected to the Internet, allowing them to share data and control the environment. For example, devices in smart homes regulate the lighting and temperature based on the information they collect and transmit to each other.
It is expected that wearables will be the driving force of the IoT in the following years. They will make data collection and use faster and more efficient, allowing users to automatize many manual processes and activities. For example, smart badges can be used as wearables to enter work offices. Smart jewelry will help users receive notifications or even answer phone calls without distracting from their main activity (e.g., driving).
The wearables trend will likely continue in the following years, supported by constantly evolving technology and IoT. Technical innovations allow making these devices smaller and smarter and enable them to provide unparalleled services. Therefore, it is possible to suggest that we will be surrounded by an increasing number of wearables designed to simplify and structure our lives.