The consumerisation of wearable technology
Is 2014 the year wearable technology becomes mainstream?
According to results of The Accenture Digital Consumer Tech Survey 2014, which found that 52 per cent of consumers are buying wearable technologies, it could well be.
The survey results also echo what is being demonstrated at this year's Consumer Electronics Show (CES). Wearable tech is certainly the hot topic at the show with a number of examples being shown, especially around fitness monitors for tracking physical activity and managing personal health.
However, before consumers go ahead and start raiding the shop shelves and companies start mass producing these devices, there are a few limitations of wearable technology that should be considered:
- Some straps can be uncomfortable, chest straps are particularly disliked by many women.
- There can be issues in not getting a good contact as contacts degrade as they become worn/dirty, resulting in incorrect readings or none at all.
- All wearable devices consume power and therefore need charging or battery changes from time to time.
- Environmental factors can have an effect on some devices and cause erroneous results. For example static electricity which can be generated by high performance sports tops etc. or electric fields generated by other devices (i.e. fitness machines).
That's not to say that we are anti-wearable devices it's just that there are some issues to be aware of and some applications that can be addressed better by non-contact technology:
- Monitoring for extended periods – where discomfort or power issues might come into play. For example monitoring babies.
- Monitoring unobtrusively so no need to put a device on, check its working properly etc. This might be a particular issue with monitoring for some older people who may be forgetful or resentful of the idea of monitoring.
- Monitoring a number of people where the cost of providing device per person is prohibitive (or devices may go missing) and where hygiene may be a considered factor if devices are shared. For example if a gym were to provide monitoring.
The good news for us consumers is that we are in control of our own wellbeing – but the industry should also consider environments, comfort and the need for accuracy when looking at further developing the market.
If you are interested in finding out more about the benefits of non-contact monitoring technology please feel free to contact us.