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Wearables – what is their future?

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When you hear the word ‘wearable’, you’re likely to automatically think about the latest Fitbit or Apple offering which can track your movements, tell you how many steps you’ve walked, at what heart rate, etc. They belong on the wrists of athletes or those who aspire to be athletes. These devices will no doubt continue play a big role in today’s world, particularly in healthcare.

Combining data such as heartrate, altitude, movement, location and even information previously submitted, these devices take your data and turn it into beneficial insights and actions. And while running on a treadmill may not be for everyone (e.g. me), the merging of technology and data into meaningful value certainly is.

Something I genuinely believe, is how lucky we are to be living in a time of ever-present, and rapid technological advances. With the overabundance of different wearables hitting the market every day, this couldn’t be more evident.

Never has computing been small enough to be worn relatively comfortably around the clock on the body

I know that not every piece of wearable will go the distance, but it is inevitable that wearables will be part of our future. In fact, they have been in our lives for quite some time without us even realising it – hearing aids have been around since the late 1800’s and could be considered the first ‘wearable tech’. I wonder what will be the next ‘hearing aid’ for us – not just worn as a novelty for a few weeks, but becoming an essential part of the wearer’s routine. Here are a couple of my favourites, and maybe even some potential contenders –

Waverly Pilot: My whole life I have wanted to be able to speak and understand other languages, I love travelling and I love talking. Unfortunately learning languages is something that does not come naturally to me (at all). I spent years learning French (or at least trying to) and to this day can still barley string a sentence together, so the reveal of this device fills me with some form of hope (paired with some slight concern). In a nutshell, the Waverly Pilot earpieces enable you to understand and speak in a whole range of different languages. Giving the potential ability to unlock the world for travel, business, relationships, you name it.

Project Jacquard: Earlier this year at SXSW in Austin, Project Jacquard demonstrated their Commuter Jacket, aimed at cyclists. Originally announced in 2015, project Jacquard is a joint venture between Levis and Google. This ‘smart jean jacket’ will allow us to control our mobile experience and connect to different services, such as music or maps, directly from our sleeve. In theory, it means not having to worry about pulling your phone from your pocket. As someone who has just moved to London and takes 2hours cycling to get somewhere that should take 30mins because I am continuously getting lost, this would be a lifesaver (well maybe not a lifesaver, but definitely a time saver).

While wearable tech presents new challenges and opportunities for the way we collect and use data, it’s certainly premature to predict specific features that will succeed in the future. Never has computing been small enough to be worn relatively comfortably around the clock on the body and presenting opportunities for breakthrough medical advancements and even the way we advertise and talk to people. With so many innovations on the horizon, we’re moving closer to making products that are useful and desirable, without making us feel like we have to go out of our way to use them.

Georgia McNaught, Campaign Manager

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