Do you remember Captain James Kirk using his wrist watch to communicate with the crew of the Starship Enterprise back in 1966?
Today, almost after 50 years, it has finally become a reality!
Digital disruption is occurring in all business functions all around the world. Wearables are becoming mainstream and disrupting almost every industry, with the biggest impact being seen in customer service, healthcare and manufacturing.
Wearables currently stand at the stage where smartphones were back in 2007. Apple had just launched iPhone and the App store, but nobody could envision the vast range of applications that would soon become available. At that point, the iPhone was just considered to be a better phone, a music repository and a way to browse the web.
That is now a thing of the past.
Today, wearables come in various forms, like smart watches, health trackers, Google Glass, interactive clothing, gesture controllers and list goes on. With wearables, we can enter into an exciting new realm of augmented reality, with an enhanced experience of what we see, hear and touch.
Insurers are using wearables like Google Glass to record claims information in the field in order to process them faster.
In healthcare, implanted bio sensors can capture and transmit health data, from heart rate and blood oxygen levels, to glucose sensors — to help identify risks and make diagnoses.
Smart watches can alert users when their blood sugar is low or if they have an irregular heartbeat. With wearables, anyone can carry a personal trainer on their body at all times.
Here are some other examples of wearables in our lives today:
ADAMM is a wearable technology that provides a complete solution for managing your asthma. It collects data on cough counting, respiration and heart rate, along with medication reminders provided in an app or online portal for accessing your daily status from anywhere.
If you or someone you know suffers from lower back pain, Valedo may be a solution. The device attaches to a person’s back and uses smart sensors that communicate with a companion app to guide the user through a series of therapeutic exercises.
Helius by Proteus Digital Health is the first-ever digestible microchip, and is used to detect when a patient takes their medication. The data is transmitted to a companion app, enabling doctors and caregivers to tell if the person is taking their prescribed medicines at the correct time.
Physicians at Indiana University Health Methodist Hospital used Google Glass to perform a surgery to help remove a tumor and reconstruct an abdominal wall. Some hospitals are hoping to improve training by using wearable cameras to stream and record live surgeries as seen through the eyes of a surgeon.
Disney has developed the wearable MagicBand, a wrist band capable of monitoring visitors and collecting data about their behavior in theme parks. It also enables visitors to pay for food or merchandise, access hotel rooms, manage tickets, and skip the lines at popular attractions.
Google’s smart contact lens prototype helps measure blood glucose levels in tears for people with diabetes.
Nymi is a biometric security wristband that could someday replace all your passwords and keys.
These wearables have the potential to make our lives healthy, more secure, and more convenient — but there are a number of challenges which need to be resolved soon.
Sooner or later, all of us are identified by the data we generate, and wearables represent a quantum leap in the type and quantity of data collected — which is both an interesting and a scary proposition.
As wearables become more mainstream, consumers need to be aware of what data is shared, which third parties have access to it, and what they will do with that information.