Wearable devices are one of the most promising technologies. Wearables are the next step in a trend that has more consumers focusing on the benefits offered by connected mobile gadgets. Many people aren’t sure what this innovation will mean for consumers and the business sector.
While it is uncertain where this technology will go and what people will do with it, current industry trends and predictions show that wearables have a place in the future.
There is clearly a high demand
Future expectations and current numbers point to the fact that these devices already have a loyal following. This success will likely continue in years to come. CCS Insight research shows that the wearables market was worth 84 million units in 2015. CCS Insight believes that this is just the beginning. CCS Insight predicted that 2019’s wearables market would surpass 245 million units, almost tripling 2015’s numbers.
This is a remarkable amount of growth. But the most amazing part of this prediction? How much the 2019 wearables market will be worth. CCS Insight forecasted that the market would reach $25 billion. If everything goes according to plan, this technology will be worth a lot of money.
“Many industries have begun to allocate a portion their budgets towards wearables.”
Already, health care is investing
Although the market valuation provided by CCS Insight is still years away, many industries have begun to allocate a portion their budgets towards wearables. Many sectors have expressed interest, but the most interested is health care.
Mercom Capital Group’s study shows that $1.4 billion was spent on health IT venture capital in Q1 2016. This money was spent on everything, from data analytics to telehealth services. But the biggest expenditure was for wearables. According to the report, this technology was used in approximately $260 million during the first quarter 2016. That’s an incredible amount that turned out to be more than the money spent on both mHealth apps and consumer health information/education combined.
This is due to two reasons. First, wearables allow for the collection of data about patients in a discreet manner. In the past, monitoring a patient’s heart rate and sleep patterns required many monitoring devices and a trained technician to set them up and interpret the data. Physicians are now able to do more with a smaller number of devices. A watch-sized device can monitor a patient’s heart rate and not affect their daily activities.
The second reason why wearables are becoming more popular in health care is the fact that patients’ vitals can be monitored at home. Telehealth is becoming more popular, especially in rural areas. These services allow patients to chat with a doctor online. A quick visual exam is often enough to give a diagnosis. It’s not logical for someone living 45 minutes away from a medical center to drive to the nearest one to get a 10 minute exam.
Wearables are being considered as a way for doctors to diagnose patients remotely, despite the ever-improving clarity of videochat. A wearable device that monitors blood pressure can be purchased by a patient with hypertension who lives far from a hospital. Wearable Technologies contributorZurine Gonzalez reported on these devices. The patient could then upload the data to his primary care provider, effectively allowing him to have round-the-clock monitoring with minimal disruption to his daily life.
These developments are still years away. However, it appears that modern health care organizations are making every effort to incorporate this technology into their future and current strategies.
Wearable devices could allow more people to access telehealth services. Wearables must be more than just connected sensors
Although sending health data to a trusted doctor may help improve care, some technology experts believe it is not enough. This group believes that wearables should be able to process and analyze the data themselves, without the need to transmit it to a third party. Scott Amyx, a Wired contributor, explains his views on the subject in an article about mistakes within the wearable sector.
Amyx stated that the notion of connected intelligence implies that wearable devices need to do more than just connect, sense and report. Smart wearable devices must be able to process data independently, and be more than remote sensors. They should be an intelligent node with sensing and connectivity, embedded processing, and embedded processing.
It would be revolutionary if devices with such capabilities became commonplace. As we saw above, a device with built-in analytical capabilities could save the life of a hypertensive patient. The device could alert the person if their blood pressure is rising. It could also notify loved ones, 911, and medical professionals in the event that a serious cardiac episode occurs.
“Wearables must be active participants in order to break the glass ceiling.”
It remains to be seen if such a wearable gadget is ever made, but it is possible that this trend could prove very fruitful. Wearables must be active participants in the lives of their owners in order to break the glass ceiling.