Until a couple of years back, no one had heard of wearables, not at least in the context of technology.
Today, wearables are everywhere.
Starting with fitness trackers a couple of years back, today there are all sorts of wearables – smart watches, smart rings, smart wrist bands, smart shoes, why even smart socks.
Now, surely, some of these wearable ideas are just passing fads (in fact, some wonder if even the mighty Google’s Google Glass will become a fad, though at this stage, the jury is still out on that).
At the same time, there are surely wearables that will stand the test of time and become truly useful products, products that make our lives easy and more enriching.
So, which are the wearables, among the many on the shelves that will stand out and stand the test of time?
In my opinion, the two wearables that will start making a difference to us right away, as well as in long term, are Smart Watches and Smart Wearables for Pets, Children and Other Dependents.
The reasons are simple:
- Smart watches provide a utility that most other wearables (even smartphones) cannot provide – these smartwatches are right on us all our waking hours. This fact alone makes them a useful tool to especially send a good number of important notifications and reminders.
- Smart wearables for pets, small children and dependents. similarly provide an important benefit that is otherwise difficult to get from anything else available – they make it incredibly easy to trace these “dependents”, or monitor dependents, so that not only can we quickly access them, we also can ensure that they are out of danger all the time. It is almost a virtual supervisor for them.
Just to clarify, I would include health monitoring systems for seniors and physically disadvantaged people as part of the second (Smart wearables for pets and dependents). There’s little doubt that health monitors such as BP, pulse monitors worn as wearables are going to really make a life or death difference to a segment of the population and as a result will be in great demand for these segments (these solutions have already taken off in some regions).
Thus, in my opinion, while there will be a number of wearables that come and go, the above two sectors will surely start making a difference.
Because the benefit they provide is quite utilitarian, and not just cosmetic.
Now, there are quite a few who might want to add fitness trackers (as distinct from monitors of vital signs) to the list above. After all, millions of FitBits and Jawbones, and even Nike Fuel’s have been sold. Frankly, I am not very convinced that fitness trackers will exist as an independent category. If smart watches become mainstream soon, the key fitness tracking data might be captured by the watch itself, thus obviating the need for a separate fitness tracker. In addition, I found it quite cumbersome to use either FitBit or Nike Fuel (which I had to use along with an iPod) even though I bought both over 15 months back. I hear similar stories of discarding these from quite a few others I checked with too.
Anyway, these are what I think. Will be glad to know your thoughts.
Cofounder & Director at EAI, a cleantech firm. Also cofounded Geeks.Gallery, along with my tech team who are developing some cool apps in the domains of cleantech and sustainable health.
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