As you walk towards your car and wish to have it unlocked, you look to your wristband to authenticate your entry which it does using ECG sensors that track you heartbeat. Once in your car, this same wristband unlocks your phone and ipad for you and communicates with these devices via bluetooth. When you remove the wristband all of these devices are automatically locked. In an increasingly connected world, the devices we own are fast interacting with and even becoming the devices we wear. Wearable technology is fast moving us into a new reality, one that is sensitive to contexts and situations and responds to optimize performance while enhancing experience.
The possibilities for product specialization in this market are immense. It is estimated that this segment will grow by 550% by 2016, when the number of wearable devices will touch 171 million. Devices that monitor health vitals of patients could vastly impact the medical industry, allowing care to be extended outside hospitals. Increased knowledge can lead to earlier detection of problems, preventing readmission and result in better clinical outcomes. Likewise, heart rate monitors have lead fitness industry giants to develop wristbands that track and display health information through phone apps. According to IMS research, over 60% of the wearable tech market revenue this year will be from the health and fitness industry combined.
The impact of this technology can be felt in other industries as well. Biometric tracking has been implemented in the automobile industry where smart wristwatches can monitor a car’s efficiency with average speed and fuel consumption readings and deliver personalized recommendations. The air transport sector can speed up processes, such as security verification. For example, airports can use smart glasses to securely verify passport and boarding information.
Enterprise IT implications for wearable technology are immense as they could potentially move firms out of the PC/mainframe model. Connected devices could enable activities in the workplace to become more collaborative with knowledge residing in a dynamic repository system, such as the cloud, that immediately responds and evolves to change. This could simplify the process of recording, organization and documentation of enterprise workflow. Furthermore, the standardization of connectivity tools such as Wi-Fi and Bluetooth and the scalable production of sensors are driving adoption by lowering costs.
However, this technology comes with ramifications in terms of privacy and data sharing. This calls for the establishment of privacy norms in this space even as devices can be wired to communicate with each other to bring about what could be the final frontier in hyper-personalization. To the person, it could be the next step in the move towards optimized living that allows for performance quantification in the everyday routine. To the organization it could mean a connected workplace where knowledge can be seamlessly networked. Such innovation in the internet of things is set to move us closer to the border of the future.
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