There’s not much in the way of consumer goods that can’t be connected to WiFi these days. A walk through your local home goods store and you’ll find everything from coffee makers and toasters to watches and hydration-monitoring water bottles with internet connectivity capabilities. The Internet of Things (IoT) is changing how people use their daily devices and live their lives, including how we eat, sleep, exercise and more. In recent years, the market has seen an increase in the number of devices that monitor our daily activities, particularly through wearable technology.
Last two decades have seen an unprecedented increase in the wearable technology usage. U.S. adults used nearly 77 million wearable devices in 2017, according to an estimate. Sales of wearable technology are expected to surge in the coming years, with the market set to reach $150 billion by 2027, according to market research and business intelligence firm IDTechEX. The research firm found that consumers pointed to healthier eating, smarter exercising and easier access to healthcare among the perks of wearable technology. Wearable technology is not a new concept—it’s been used for decades in the healthcare world, in devices like hearing aids, insulin pumps, and pace makers. However, since the release of Fitbit more than ten years ago, electronic wearables have taken off in the consumer market. Consumers want wearables that can help them monitor their health as well as entertain, all while looking sleek and sophisticated. They’re not only a personal device but often a fashion statement, too.
Functionality of Wearable Devices
A wearable device should collect and analyze data in a meaningful way, through intelligent sensors and efficient connections. For example, a smart watch or wristband is able to track activity, heart rate, calories burned, and sleep, among other things, and create meaningful data about the wearer. Often times, this data is sent to an app, or accessed through a USB port, so that the user can access this information at their own convenience, or utilize the device for entertainment.
Wearable technology must also be wireless, allowing the wearer to move freely throughout their day without the restraints of a cord, and devices are typically powered by a rechargeable battery. Wireless charging is becoming a popular feature, one that increases ease of use and mobility while maintaining a sleek and simple design. These devices are often challenging to design, with a delicate balance between efficiency and size, in order to be easily integrated into daily living.
When you purchase something to wear, whether it’s a watch, hat, glasses or a clothing item, you typically expect it to be functional, comfortable, affordable and fashionable. Each of these aspects still holds true for the wearable technology market.
In clothing items, connections and sensors are typically hidden inside of the garment with flexible and printed electronics to maintain its fashionable appearance and a high level of comfort. Scientists have even recently found ways to make connections in wearables even more durable and comfortable through the use of tannic acid, a compound found in red wine, coffee and black tea. Tannic acid is a compound that effectively binds to fabrics, which is visually apparent in coffee and wine stains. This same principle helps bind connections to fabrics, even through frequent motion and flexing. It’s expected that this discovery will make wearables more affordable and applicable over time.
The Future of Wearables
As wearable technology continues to advance, it’s casting a wide net of applications not only in the consumer market, but as well as the healthcare market. It’s expected to increase the applications of telemedicine, which reduces healthcare costs, and particularly assist seniors in living more independent lives. Wearable technology is changing the way we do just about everything, from tracking our daily activities to managing and preventing illnesses. How do you see the future of wearable technology affecting your business?
For more information about manufacturing wearable electronic devices, reach out to ACDi at 301-685-0528, or contact us online!