Consumers are adopting technology faster than ever. We witnessed the rapid mainstreaming of devices such as Apple’s iOS devices, Microsoft Kinect, and Android devices etc. Wearable devices will be next, but right now they are far from the mainstream. Wearable devices or wearable computing have enormous potential for uses in social networking, commerce, health and fitness, navigation, entertainment and media.
Right now, the most desired in wearable computing is Google Glasses, a research project in a fairly advanced technology that incorporates augmented reality. But will Google become the undisputed leader in the wave of wearable technology or will it in serious competition with other players such as Apple?
Rackspace Hosting announced the results of a comprehensive study on the use of ready-to-wear and its impact on consumers and technology companies. The study shows that while only 18% of British and American respondents actually used the ready-to-wear technology, 82% of users in North America and 71% in Britain believe that these cloud-optimized devices have improved their lives.
The study, “The Human Cloud: Wearable Technology from Novelty to Productivity” was commissioned by Rackspace in association with the Centre for Creative and Social Technology (CAST), University of London. The study was supported by quantitative research into attitudes and behavior toward wearable technology, made in 4000 British and North American adults.
“The appeal of wearable technology is down to the rich data generated by the devices, which is stored and analyzed in the cloud,” said Drs. Chris Brauer and Jennifer Barth, author of the study. “The ability to access these insights from the cloud – anywhere, anytime -enables wearable technology users to boost their intelligence, confidence, health, fitness and even their love lives.”
Wearable tech will fuel the Internet of things
Beyond providing users with real-time data, wearable computing will form an integral part of the “Internet of things,” the logical evolution of the cloud and big data. The future lies on sensor-equipped things to communicate with one another in actionable ways. The wearable technology will also form an integral part of the Internet of Things ranging from glass, watch and health and smartphones to the road traffic sensors that connect to the Internet to share data in real time.
“The rich data created by wearable tech will drive the rise of the ‘human cloud’ of personal data,” stated Brauer. “With this comes countless opportunities to tap into this data; whether it’s connecting with third parties to provide more tailored and personalized services or working closer with health care institutions to get a better understanding of their patients.”
The study found that 63% of UK respondents and 71% of U.S. respondents said the wearable technology has improved their health and fitness; one in three in the UK and the US believes that the technology helped develop their career; 39% of UK respondents and 53% of U.S. respondents said the technology has strengthened their intelligence; and 53% of UK and 60% of American respondents believe that the internet of things devices help them feel they have more control over their lives.
There is already wearable technology being used in the private sector with health insurance firms encouraging members to use wearable fitness devices to earn rewards for maintaining a healthier lifestyle. It is likely that the public sector will look to capitalize on the wearable technology trend with a view to boosting tele-health and smart-city programs, say Brauer and Barth.
Google Glass is only the beginning
The massive mainstream uptake of wearable devices, with the launch of Google Glass set to further boost adoption. However, it is important to note that wearable technology and the cloud go hand in hand. Cloud computing is powering the wearable technology revolution. It allows the data generated by wearable devices to be captured, analyzed and made readily accessible whenever users need it.
The wearable computing is the next logical step that will change the world as we know it in the same way they did and smartphones 10 years ago. At the recently concluded Google I/O, Recon Instruments demonstrated its new set of Goggles, the Recon Jet that has all the data-tracking sensors such as an accelerometer, an altimeter, a magnetometer, thermometer, and a gyroscope.
People you know may even be wearing sensor-laden wristbands like the rumor Apple iWatch, Nike+Fuelband or sneakers like the Adidas adizero F50, which track your speed and workout stats.