Wearable Tech: The fashionable way to collect data

Industry Post

Wearable Tech: The fashionable way to collect data

The next generation of clothes and accessories won’t just be about fashion anymore. The new “it” thing is wearable technology. Wearable technology is a category of devices that are worn as clothing or an accessory to track health and fitness data. Wearable tech can be divided into two categories: fitness activity tracking devices and healthcare tracking devices.

Fitness activity devices are gaining traction. Today, one out ten people now have some form of fitness tracking device. A good example of a fitness device would be the Fitbit, a device that tracks metrics like steps, distance, and calories burned. Healthcare tracking devices, on the other hand, are typically worn out of necessity and track a single metric, such as blood pressure or glucose levels. The main difference is that fitness devices typically track multiple metrics making them less accurate than healthcare devices.

Wearable tech is starting to gain popularity as consumers realize the benefits it can provide. Now, consumers can quantify their results on a daily basis. This helps to set, track, and attain goals. So maybe you have been exercising for weeks and not seeing any results. Well, with a fitness tracker you could see that you need to double your steps, or speed, to burn the necessary calories and lose that unwanted weight.

Wearable tech is made possible in large part due to advancements in technology. Sensors have been able to decrease in size and keep their effectiveness in measuring things from steps to heart rate. Another part that has contributed to the growth of wearable tech is the platforms that interface with the sensors. Wearable tech data analysis has progressed like the Internet progressed from slow dial up connection to ultra-fast broadband. In the early days, recorded data was loaded slowly onto a computer and displayed in a clunky application. Now, wearables interface with smartphones to easily integrate into the user’s current daily infrastructure. Data is displayed in easy to read graphs and charts, so the user can quickly analyze their activity.

These advancements have created a booming market. In 2012, the market was valued around $713 million, but is expected to grow to a nearly $3 billion industry by 2018. Driving this market are a wide range of products like the previously mentioned Fitbit, the Nike Fuelband, Smartwatches – think Samsung and Apple—and even your everyday simple pedometer. While all of these devices vary on technology complexity scale, they all have a place in the market. As technology becomes cheaper to build, this scale will shrink. Then, the relevant devices will be the ones that accurately track many metrics. Companies like Nike will have to assess their product’s position in the market and decide to invest or leave the market. It looks like Nike will be investing, as according to this graphic, technology made up 13% of Nike’s patents for 2014.

nike

 

What will really drive this market is insurance companies. The annual healthcare bill totals around $2.6 trillion and is largely a result of too many trips out to eat and not enough to the gym. Obesity and diabetes are closely correlated and are two of the biggest contributors of growing health insurance prices. Insurance companies would like to use these wearable devices to track fitness behavior and better determine how to insure you. Initially, it would be logical for insurers to offer incentives for consenting to such monitoring. That precedent has already been set by automobile insurance companies, like Progressive. But, as health care costs continue to grow, could we see a day where punishments are given out based on data from wearables? What could very easily happen is instead of premiums being evaluated on an annual basis, they could be evaluated quarterly, weekly, or even daily.

The wearable tech trend is much more than a fashion, it is turning into a lifestyle one. As smartwatches start rolling out look for this trend to expand. Companies will invest money to improve existing metric sensors, and create new ones. Want to be a billionaire? Then create a sensor that monitor glucose levels without piercing the skin. Other new technology looks to even make the textiles in your clothes “smart.” This means that shirt will be able to do things like check your temperature and monitor your heart rate. So get with program America, having a watch that only tells time is so 2009.

 

 

(Primary source: WEARABLE COMPUTING: TECHNOLOGIES, APPLICATIONS AND
GLOBAL MARKETS– BCC Market Report)

The next generation of clothes and accessories won’t just be about fashion anymore. The new “it” thing is wearable technology. Wearable technology is a category of devices that are worn as clothing or an accessory to track health and fitness data. Wearable tech can be divided into two categories: fitness activity tracking devices and healthcare tracking devices.

Fitness activity devices are gaining traction. Today, one out ten people now have some form of fitness tracking device. A good example of a fitness device would be the Fitbit, a device that tracks metrics like steps, distance, and calories burned. Healthcare tracking devices, on the other hand, are typically worn out of necessity and track a single metric, such as blood pressure or glucose levels. The main difference is that fitness devices typically track multiple metrics making them less accurate than healthcare devices.

Wearable tech is starting to gain popularity as consumers realize the benefits it can provide. Now, consumers can quantify their results on a daily basis. This helps to set, track, and attain goals. So maybe you have been exercising for weeks and not seeing any results. Well, with a fitness tracker you could see that you need to double your steps, or speed, to burn the necessary calories and lose that unwanted weight.

Wearable tech is made possible in large part due to advancements in technology. Sensors have been able to decrease in size and keep their effectiveness in measuring things from steps to heart rate. Another part that has contributed to the growth of wearable tech is the platforms that interface with the sensors. Wearable tech data analysis has progressed like the Internet progressed from slow dial up connection to ultra-fast broadband. In the early days, recorded data was loaded slowly onto a computer and displayed in a clunky application. Now, wearables interface with smartphones to easily integrate into the user’s current daily infrastructure. Data is displayed in easy to read graphs and charts, so the user can quickly analyze their activity.

These advancements have created a booming market. In 2012, the market was valued around $713 million, but is expected to grow to a nearly $3 billion industry by 2018. Driving this market are a wide range of products like the previously mentioned Fitbit, the Nike Fuelband, Smartwatches – think Samsung and Apple—and even your everyday simple pedometer. While all of these devices vary on technology complexity scale, they all have a place in the market. As technology becomes cheaper to build, this scale will shrink. Then, the relevant devices will be the ones that accurately track many metrics. Companies like Nike will have to assess their product’s position in the market and decide to invest or leave the market. It looks like Nike will be investing, as according to this graphic, technology made up 13% of Nike’s patents for 2014.

nike

 

What will really drive this market is insurance companies. The annual healthcare bill totals around $2.6 trillion and is largely a result of too many trips out to eat and not enough to the gym. Obesity and diabetes are closely correlated and are two of the biggest contributors of growing health insurance prices. Insurance companies would like to use these wearable devices to track fitness behavior and better determine how to insure you. Initially, it would be logical for insurers to offer incentives for consenting to such monitoring. That precedent has already been set by automobile insurance companies, like Progressive. But, as health care costs continue to grow, could we see a day where punishments are given out based on data from wearables? What could very easily happen is instead of premiums being evaluated on an annual basis, they could be evaluated quarterly, weekly, or even daily.

The wearable tech trend is much more than a fashion, it is turning into a lifestyle one. As smartwatches start rolling out look for this trend to expand. Companies will invest money to improve existing metric sensors, and create new ones. Want to be a billionaire? Then create a sensor that monitor glucose levels without piercing the skin. Other new technology looks to even make the textiles in your clothes “smart.” This means that shirt will be able to do things like check your temperature and monitor your heart rate. So get with program America, having a watch that only tells time is so 2009.

 

 

(Primary source: WEARABLE COMPUTING: TECHNOLOGIES, APPLICATIONS AND
GLOBAL MARKETS– BCC Market Report)

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