Smart Wearables - Shaping the Technological Revolution

A smart ring that can be used for contactless payments or to open or lock the door of your home or your car? A palm-sized wearable computer that tracks fitness and monitors other parameters such as heart rate, stress level, etc.? These concepts considered Sci-fi, are not so futuristic anymore. The advent of the Internet of Things (IoT), improved connectivity offered by 5G, and the advancements in nanotechnology are all making the impossible, possible. Smart wearable technology is here to stay and has the potential to transform the economy and businesses. Some examples of wearable technology include fitness bands, smart watches, artificial intelligence (AI) hearing aids, a virtual reality (VR) headset, Google Glass, and a disposable skin patch that transmits patient data to a healthcare facility. As per the recent analysis, the expected shipments of wearable devices around the world accounted for more than 120 million units in the year 2022. Over the years, wearable technology has become more and more nuanced and has conquered new markets.

What is Smart Wearables?

What Makes Wearable Technology So Indispensable?

Smart Wearables are electronic devices basically designed to be worn on a user's body. They can be in the form of jewelry, clothing, or medical devices. While most smart wearables are worn by users, there are some such as cell phones, smart tags, and computers that can be carried around to track user movements. A few incorporate the use of remote smart sensors or optical sensors for measuring various parameters. Wearable technology generates timely notifications and alerts to connected services and delivers accurate information in an easy-to-understand format. In order for them to function optimally, smart wearables are incorporated with sensors, microprocessors, batteries, and connectivity to the internet as well as other electronic devices such as mobile phones or laptops.

Applications of Wearable Technology

Apart from being used in smartwatches and fitness trackers, smart wearables are being deployed in multiple industries such as healthcare, navigation, military, consumer goods, sports, etc. The recent advancements in the Internet of Things (IoT) and AI in wearable technology may help unlock success in a wide variety of businesses.

  • Health monitoring- The wearable electronic skin patches are the next-generation smart wearables, that can be attached to a patient’s chest. They measure and track heartbeats and muscle movements, which are then sent to healthcare providers for analysis. According to our reports, the number of connected wearable devices increased to more than 1 billion in the year 2022. Remote monitoring and control of chronic illnesses and fitness levels are of utmost importance in patient health management in the era of precision medicine and personalized healthcare. Some hospitals use wearable sensors to measure blood oxygen saturation, body temperatures, calorie intake, sleep quality, and other data related to in-patient health. While others use them to monitor patient recovery at home after an illness or surgery. Apple recently introduced a new sleeping beats-per-minute feature to its Cardiogram app that monitors fluctuations in heart rate for COVID-19 patients.
  • Sports and Fitness- Smart wearable athletic devices are built into sports gear to track and monitor the health and fitness of players and record their performance metrics. These valuable real-time insights are relayed to the coaches for further analysis.
  • Gaming and Entertainment- The gaming and entertainment industries deploy the use of smart wearables such as VR headsets, smart glasses, and controllers. VR head-mounted displays, such as Oculus Quest and Meta Quest are used for gaming, watching movies, virtual travel, and other entertainment purposes.
  • Fashion- Smart clothing has been gaining momentum across the fashion industry these days. Smart jackets, made by Levi's with the help of Google's Project Jacquard technology incorporate electrical fibers into the fabric. They enable easy access to digital services right from the jacket sleeves. Users can get daily weather updates, take selfies and pictures, and get notified if their cell phone or jacket is left behind.
  • Military- Smart wearables can be used to monitor soldiers' vitals. Biometric sensors can help provide real-time feedback to the authorities on the health of the defense personnel, and to track their heart rate, muscle activity, and fatigue. Flexible printed heaters in the form of bandages can help speed up wound recovery time. In addition, smart clothing is being used by the military for personnel performance monitoring.
  • Smart Wearables for Factory Workers- According to the International Labour Organization (ILO), a worker dies from a work-related accident every 15 seconds. The implementation of smart wearable devices at workplaces can help improve worker safety. It has been studied that using smart wearables increased employee productivity levels by ~8.2% and job satisfaction levels by more than 3.4%. Smart glasses with optical data capture, voice recognition technologies, and smart safety vests are deployed at construction sites for safety purposes. These devices prohibit the workers from entering hazardous areas and monitor them while performing dangerous operations.
  • In The Metaverse- Facebook’s Meta made Metaverse a household name in 2021. Metaverse is based on virtual reality. Smart wearables such as virtual goggles bridge the real and virtual worlds and make the dream of Metaverse a possibility. The Oculus VR headsets are highly used in Meta’s metaverse.

Design that Differentiates in Smart Wearables

Design engineers face a number of challenges when it comes to smart wearables. Not only do the devices need to be physically appealing and compact, but they need to be accurate, easy to use, long-lasting, consume less power, and offer stability under different conditions. Designers should not focus only on hand interaction while developing a new product. As smart wearables carry so much confidential personal information and are connected to the cloud, they must be highly secure. So embedding strong security features into their design considerations is essential.

The Future of Wearable Technology

We will be privy to a whole gamut of novel interface mechanisms that will shift our perception of how we use and interact with technology. The following are a few futuristic trends predicted by tech experts in the smart wearables arena–

  • Lower Visibility- Smart wearables are predicted to become less apparent and visible even as they grow more popular. They may end up looking more like jewelry, clothing, a patch, or a bandage, rather than a watch or a clip-on tracker.
  • Energy Harvesting- Energy harvesting is being extensively researched and developed to extend the battery life of smart wearables by converting body heat, movement, or solar energy into power.
  • Medical Wearables- Smart wearables like Fitbit and Apple Watch, which monitor patient health and track fitness levels are plentiful. However, many health tech companies are going a step further to deliver wearable devices that solve medical issues. For instance, an artificial pancreas technology is currently under development that can not only monitor the blood sugar levels of diabetic patients but automatically administer insulin if necessary.
  • Human Brain-Computer Interface- AI-integrated wearable sensors that can perform critical thinking are being developed. Facebook is currently working on a device that can help users update their Facebook statuses using their minds without having to type. Neuralink is working on a brain-computer interface (BCI), made of thin, thread-like implants, which may allow us to control technology with our thoughts.
  • Authentication- Smart wearables will be used to unlock homes, get entry into theaters or concerts, or even buy things at the store without having to go through the checkout. Disney has introduced an authentication system using smart wearables in its parks called the MagicBand. This gives customers access to rides, hotel rooms, and other features at the park.

In Conclusion

Smart wearable technology is not just limited to the applications and trends mentioned above. Wearable IoT devices will continue to evolve, making our lives much smarter, healthier, and more meaningful.

Contact Us

Swara Keni

Head- Global Business Development

Ready to talk?

I want to talk to your experts in:

We work with ambitious leaders who want to define the future, not hide from it. Together, we achieve extraordinary outcomes.

Let Us Hear About Your Requirements:

Submit Your Request For Proposal (RFP)

Connect With Our Consultant