The future of wearable tech lies in seamless integration.
When I was growing up, wearable tech like fitness trackers were little more than clip-on pedometers you’d get in the bottom of a cereal box. Today, you can get wearables that track your steps, heart rate, calories burned, and even more important information like blood glucose levels for diabetics. Wearable technology like the fitbit is becoming increasingly popular and that trend is only going to increase as the technology improves.
One of the major obstacles to wearable tech has been designing a device that people want to wear all the time. When it comes to the future of the industry, the big thing everyone is driving for is seamless integration – devices that can be attached to jewelry, jackets, or even undergarments so you can wear them everyday without having them affect your style.
For more on that and what else to expect in the years to come, we asked a group of industry experts…
What’s the future of wearable tech?
Here’s what they had to say…
Paul Armstrong, Owner of HERE/FORTH
“Wearable technology will become invisible thanks to improvements in fabrics (Google’s Project Jacquard) for general use. Beyond everyday use, healthcare will gain the most thanks to increasing acceptability of more invasive options like nanotechnology (internally) and bio-hacking practices (under the skin) which could range from opening locked doors without keys or a phone to and predicting health issues before they happen. Graphene will be the hero of wearable tech thanks to its strength, better conductivity compared to silicon and light weight making it the perfect combination for a wide range of things from batteries to displays, implants to sensors.”
David Benoit, Co-founder of Wearsafe
“In 10-15 years, wearables will be less about the hardware and more about the platform on the device. The current adoption rate of wearables is growing, but most consumers lose interest within 30 days. The wearables that will win market will support meaningful services, like safety, that encompass services that enhance your life beyond counting steps and receiving messages. Additionally, you’ll see wearables move across devices and integrated more fully with other connected products like the home or IoT platforms in the enterprise.”
Davide Vigano, CEO & Co-founder of Sensoria, Inc.
“Companies producing IoT enabling technology that can be applied to more than one device will strive. For example, fitness and biometric data is not limited to wrist-worn monitors anymore. Smart garments and smart footwear offering higher reliability and more in depth capabilities are now on the market. The future will favor these type of transparent, comfortable, wearable computing breakthroughs – enabling health and fitness technology in new ways.”
Kelly Batke, Marketing & Communications Manager at Clarius Mobile Health
“The future will see all medical technology get smarter, smaller, mobile, more accessible, and more affordable. This even includes technology like ultrasound. Vancouver based Clarius has revolutionized mobile ultrasound by developing a hand-held ultrasound scanner that displays images on a smartphone using an iOS or Android app. As technology continues to advance, more and more healthcare devices will be reliant on mobile/smart technology to reduce costs and increase accessibility at all points of care.”
Patrick Connelly, Founder & CEO of Corevity
“The most obvious changes in the short term for wearable technology will be a decrease in size and increase in functionality. Expect more variance in application so that your can wear a watch (duh!), apply a replaceable sticker to your skin every few days or even take a tiny digestible pill. This would increase the measurable data opportunities and functionality. For example, moving a cumbersome ECG machine into your pocket or stickered onto your chest.
As size and functionality options grow, expect full integration into existing products: like your mattress, your shoes and even your clothes. Wearables will become an extension of existing product you already use and buy on a daily basis. Tiny microfibers will connect with NFD technology to transfer real-time date from your body to your phone. With this, data availability will hit another inflection point, so what will we do with all of it?
The biggest questions that remain (for me) are the data and software applications that come with wearable integration into existing products. Will you allow your doctors or hospital real-time access? Or product suppliers? The value of this data is still unknown, but it’s clear that this data will be exponentially more valuable than the current set of wearable data. We are left with one final thought: Will wearables and privacy collide or coincide with each other?”
Kain Tietzel, CEO & Co-Founder of Start VR
“I predict that our virtual, augmented and real world experiences will all be experienced through a digital contact lens that will completely manage everything that passes through to our retinas. A combination of spoken words and subtle muscular gestures will enable us to communicate and interact with each other as well as a personal army of AI bots to execute our tasks and functions. The wearable tech will be so subtle that it will probably be woven into the fabric of our clothing and accessories as a precursor to the invertibility of implants.”
Ran Craycraft, Co-founder of UNA
“In the coming years, the words wearable technology will become as superfluous as the word smartphone. Just as all phones today are smart, all technology could soon be worn. That’s not to say wearables in 2032 will have the form factor of a wristwatch, but technology will understand kinetic input and the change of electrical waves in the brain. We’ll wear technology, it will be in our walls, in the sidewalks, in the windows, and it will even be implanted in us to make our lives longer, smarter, and hopefully better.
With the decreasing size of hardware components, we’ve seen a marked increase in wearables and even implantable technology. Our homes are getting smarter and automation is finding efficiencies in the workplace.
Today, the control center for wearables is the smartphone. Wearables must be paired, then must stay in close proximity to a smartphone. Over the next several years, our phones will no longer be the hub for wearable device connectivity–trading it instead for a more ubiquitous connection to the Web and even to our bodies.”
Laura Hall, Marketing Executive at Shiply
“Wearable tech will become a lot more useful! Our tech will be able to constantly monitor our health (blood sugar, energy levels etc) and the data will be used to inform our diets and shopping based on a personal physical profile and dietary requirements. Medical professionals will be able to see a detailed and accurate history of our behaviour and lifestyle. Wearables may even make their way inside the body as implants to ensure accuracy or could also be used as ID.”
Kerri Moriarty, Head of Company Development at Cinch Financial
“In 10-15 years, technology will be even more omnipresent than it already is. Forget having to wear your tech, you’ll be able to just speak to it. The trend toward home management systems (both at home and in the office) will further reduce the need to wear the tech or carry your phone to get access to information. As tech gets more sophisticated, even health tracking will evolve beyond wearables. There are several apps that can track your sleep patterns just by listening to your breathing. I do think wearable tech will evolve to being less a dedicated product (like a FitBit or Apple Watch) but more holistically integrated into clothing or the floors your home or your mattress – which reduces the commitment of the consumer, the wearer, required to interact.”
Amy Kilvington, Founder of Naturally Content
“Wearable tech of the future will monitor and measure not only our physical activity levels, but valuable data on a more sensory level, like goosebumps, stress hormones and sudden drops in energy. These chemical reactions and emotional responses will allow marketers to better understand their customers and deliver a more personalized experience. So expect to be fed ads for fast food chains the moment your stomach grumbles!”