As experts know, the wearable market is growing exponentially across many industries. However, there is still some hesitation in adopting wearables due to privacy issues, data collection and short battery life. Whilst these challenges can be hard to overcome, does the positive impact of wearables far outweigh the negative?
9 Considerations of wearable technology
Sensing parameters – Wearable devices connected to the body detect and monitor physical changes and record the data. The issue with data from health sensors such as ECGs is the collection of imprecise and inconsistent measurements.
This problem occurs due to design issues or incorrect usage of the wearable device. In healthcare, accurately measuring your vitals is key to monitoring a person’s overall health. Any problems arising could be costly.
Batteries – Wearable devices require portable power such as batteries, which hinders their usability and benefits. Although wearable devices are becoming more energy-efficient with increased battery life and power-efficient semiconductors, it is still an essential factor when considering an investment. This statement is particularly true in the healthcare and manufacturing industries. Any downtime in these industries could cost companies thousands.
Security – The majority of wearable devices are IoT-ready, which presents a challenge when considering wearable devices’ security. In the healthcare industry, the security of a patient’s data is paramount. Therefore, wearable devices must go through rigorous testing with very high standards for the medical industry.
Not only the wearable device itself, but also third-party software must be secure. Most commercial wearable devices will rely on a software platform that collates users’ data and interprets it into a readable format. In 2014, a vulnerability in internet encryption was so widespread that it also affected wearable devices.
Cost – We know that wearables’ prices decrease every year due to the technological innovations and competitiveness in the market. However, when implementing wearable devices in an industry such as logistics or warehousing, the company may need to invest more upfront. Further investing will ensure that the wearable devices can talk to current IT systems and be fully integrated. Not only this, but these systems will need to be maintained and updated on a regular basis.
Privacy – In an ideal world, the devices we use every day, collecting personal data, should be kept private to the end-user. As we know, that is not always the case.
Most wearable devices and platforms require users to sign up and allow their data to be analysed and sold to a third party. This data holds a tremendous monetary value in today’s world.
Software integration – One of the most significant issues faced with wearable devices and the IoT industry is seamless integration with other systems. Integration is solved in the IoT industry by forming an industry alliance between leading manufacturers and creating a standard in the technology field. For wearable devices, this is not always the case; most manufactures will have their proprietary software.
Remote health monitoring – Many industries have benefited from wearable technology, and healthcare is one of those. Healthcare systems allow tracking patients’ vitals to analyse patterns with artificial intelligence and machine learning assistance. Data collected from patients will predict health problems before they happen. This is seen as a cost-effective and more efficient preventative measure than treating a health issue in the later diagnostic stages.
Productivity – Wearable devices can increase productivity in the workplace by nearly 10%. Wearables allow workers to complete specific jobs much faster and more efficiently across a wide range of industries. In warehousing, wearable devices enable users to operate hands-free, increasing productivity as well as health and safety.
In some retail settings, employees can request information about a specific product whilst keeping always focussed on the customer, increasing sales and profits. Construction companies use AR glasses to view inside a wall. Engineers can see where the routed electrical wiring and pipes are before important work or repairs are carried out.
Whichever industry you work in, there is a real productivity benefit to using wearable devices.
Hands-free – As we have mentioned above, allowing workers to go hands-free enables them to carry out tasks more efficiently, increasing productivity. Not only this, but it significantly increases the workers’ safety. AR glasses can be used to monitor and highlight workplace hazards in real time.
There is no doubt that wearable devices have considerable benefits in suitable industries and companies have invested already. However, their adoption does not come without its challenges and concerns, surrounding security and privacy. Hopefully, as time passes and wearable technology grows to where it needs to be, it will be widely adopted.