The concept of wearable technology has been around for a while, but it has seen major developments over the past 12 months as major names like Samsung, Google and Microsoft have invested heavily. It is expected that the sector will grow by between £6 and £31 billion in the next five years.
While the recent headlines have focused on the latest generation of smart watches, the next generation of wearable tech is by no means confined to the user’s wrist. Here are just a few of the most promising applications that will be available on the market within the next year (or before) and how they will influence communications.
Eye on future
Google’s Glass has been the flagship of visual-based wearable tech for the last year, but its place at the top is rapidly coming under fire from all sides.
To supplement it’s smart eyewear, Google is currently testing a smart contact lens that can help measure glucose levels. With the International Diabetes Federation forecasting that one in 10 people around the world will have diabetes by 2035, monitoring tools like this could soon people an everyday necessity.
Finally, virtual reality headset manufacturer Oculus Rift stole headlines last month due to its purchase by Facebook for $2 billion. While its applications are still being explored, it is already garnering impressive attention with Sony heavily promoting the technology before the sale to Facebook.
Fitness and fun
This is the field where wearable technology has already made impressive strides. With greater demands on our time, workers are increasingly looking to apps and hardware that monitor diet, exercise and sleep.
The marketplace is overwhelmed by various bits of kit that range from GPS-enabled traditional running and heartbeat monitors, through to the more intriguing likes of Jawbone. The latter links with smartphones to build a fitness and dietary routine, and includes functions like food barcode scanning, sleep patterns and intensity of exercise.
The concept plays heavily on gamification, bringing in social media to share your stats, and compete with friends and strangers to improve your overall fitness. Brands affiliated with fitness are quickly jumping on board and early adopters are quickly becoming a source of fitness information, driving product sales and awareness.
While some see the wearable tech revolution as a frivolous and largely pointless development, the healthcare applications are nothing short of revolutionary.
Microneedles, barely visible to the naked eye, have been developed and are been applied to the very latest wearable tech to offer automatic life-saving drug delivery. Patients will no longer need to have blood samples or regularly inject themselves; their technology will constantly monitor their conditions and issue medication without the patient ever known.
Aside from automated drug delivery, wearable tech offers huge potential for paramedics and nurses by capturing and sharing information faster than ever, in addition to increased security and remote support.
Jewels in the crown
As the technology develops, a number of prominent wearable tech companies are increasingly looking at the aesthetics of devices.
Creating bespoke jewellery that incorporates smart technology is now possible and becoming cheaper and more practical each month. Rather than subscribing to the designs proscribes by Google and Co, users can design their own to suit their personality.
Wearable tech is no longer about the wrist; it’s on your eyes, your earlobes, around your neck and on your finger. The future is here and it’s overwhelmingly exciting, and will change the way we communicate forever.
Stay tuned for a rundown of the top wearable devices for each category coming soon to PRable.Tweets by @thisisprable