When wearable technology gets its own fashion show in Manhattan, we have to take it seriously! Whether it is Google Glass, smart watches, e-textiles, or rings, wearable tech has been creating quite a buzz for the past couple of years. The hot question right now is whether it will integrate itself into our lives the way that smart phones have. We believe that it will. Few years ago, we wouldn’t have anticipated how smartphones were going to change the way that we communicate, and discover information. As technology advances at lightening speeds, the time between speculation and reality keeps shrinking. We believe that wearable technology will significantly shape the era of pervasive commerce.
Mass adoption might be some time away as access and prohibitive costs are obstacles at this point. There is also the debate around functionality and need. But as the Internet of Things enables different parts of our life to communicate with each other, the functionality and usability aspects will certainly improve. Tech pundit and early Google Glass adopter Robert Scoble speculates that it will be 2020 by the time the Glass reaches full functionality and optimization potential. However, Google has already introduced fashion-forward designs and the option of getting prescription lenses with the hope of driving more adoption. The impact remains to be seen.
Fitness trackers have been quite the rage for a while. Even with Fitbit’s recent recall of trackers that were causing skin irritation, we can rest assured that the category as such is here to stay. Fitness trackers currently allow people to monitor heart rate, calories burnt, and miles walked etc. They are connected to social networks and let people share their goals and achievements. The next step for these trackers will be to develop the ability to communicate directly with healthcare providers so athletes can get advice based on comprehensive health reports. This will also be especially useful for seniors and other disabled people.
In terms of the impact of wearables on healthcare, Google recently announced a cutting-edge project – a “smart” contact lens that monitors a diabetic person’s glucose levels by testing their tears using a tiny wireless chip and a miniaturized glucose sensor embedded in the lens. They are hoping to collaborate with partners to develop apps that will allow wearers and their doctors to directly access measurements – and presumably provide the necessary and appropriate products and services to the wearer.
There is much scope and potential for the influence that wearables can have in the world of pervasive commerce. With companies like Google investing in artificial intelligence and machine learning already making an impact, we can expect a lot more in the near future. For instance, wouldn’t it be great if you could walk into a store and wave your smartband to scan an item or even an image on the web, and get instant information on availability, comparative prices, and buying options? That’s the future that we are moving towards. Our wearable technology will be so tuned in to us that if you like a suit that your friend is wearing, your smartband can scan it and find you matches and related products in your exact size.
In the era of pervasive commerce, every interaction in the physical world or on the web is an opportunity to inform, educate, and buy or sell products and services. There are so many possibilities that wearable technology can serve in this exciting new world. The future is here. Let’s wear it.