We live in a time where things are evolving faster than ever, especially mobile devices and other connected objects in the Internet of Things. We’ve seen the impact of a wave of active cell phones. Right now, the number of cell phones in service (327 million) outnumbers the U.S. population (323 million). And smart phones have become an integral part of our daily lives, easily blending together much like salt and water in an ocean.
The next wave of mobile, connected devices is wearables. They are trending up, increasing from 19.6 million in 2014 to 45.7 million in 2015, according to IDC. And they are creating niches of utility.
The trailblazers are fitness trackers. As people grew more health conscious, Garmin has increased sales of its GPS tracking watches, and connectivity is now sewn into other wearable clothing. It’s giving athletic coaches the ability to monitor their athletes. Heddoko is introducing smart clothing to help coaches gain more insight into biomechanics, helping them evaluate the team member’s strength and weakness. From this, the athlete can be coached to press harder or slow down for optimum performance.
There are even tiers of wearable brands, such as high-end Ralph Lauren Polo Tech Shirt with bio-sensing silver fibers woven into the material. Biometric data is stored and can be manipulated through a mobile app to track the amount of burned calories. Athletes will know just how much to intensity their workouts.
For times when my wife and I disagree on the room temperature settings, we may need to turn to Wristify, an upcoming cutting-edge gadget that lets you control how hot or cold you want to feel. You wear it like a bracelet, and it acts as your personal air conditioner or heater at all times.
We’re starting to see consumers transfer utility to other fashionable devices. For example, smart watches are snatching away the health tracking utility from fitness trackers. The new Apple watch and Android Moto are very stylized, appealing to those wanting a sophisticated elegant wearable. Having a penchant for watches, I initially was turned off by the smart watch idea, as it was eroding interest from classy looking watches, like TAG Heuer or Omega. But I changed my view after looking at the impeccable screens on the Apple watch and the new TAG Heuer Connected. They are both classy and connected.
Other transfer of utility could be on the horizon, as stylish smart watches collect health data, store it in the cloud, and make it available to healthcare providers. For example, Apple has a Medical ID concept that combines all possible health statistics and makes it available to doctors.
It’s become as futuristic as Star Trek’s Captain Kirk talking into his watch during space adventures. But I think ours is better. The technology in today’s connected wearables gives us more control and flexibility in our lives with less hassle.