Saturday, May 18, 2024

The Evolution of Wearables and Its Significance in Internet of Things

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The wearable space will only flourish if wearable makers support proliferation of third-party apps and partner ecosystems. Android Wear, webOS and Tizen are OS platforms which should help in that direction. Lastly, irrespective of function and utility, all (visible) wearables will automatically converge as fashion accessories. The importance of brand and design in the value perception of wearables cannot be stressed enough. A wearable product designer must keep industrial design as one of the initial gates of the product design cycle, not the last. Taking cue from Stephen Covey, begin with the end in mind.

In the larger context of IoT (which includes wearables), while there seems to a common direction on integrating consumer technologies like Bluetooth (Classic or Smart) and Wi-Fi, the industry has not yet arrived at a common standard or protocol for interoperability. This, in my humble opinion, will be the real test to prove IoT as a heterogeneous yet unified evolution of the internet as we know today. Another relatively unchartered territory is ensuring highly secure and controllable systems. None of us would like to foresee a future where our wearables and homes are hacked, or we fall into control of self-learning and highly evolved machines. The latter surely sounds like science-fiction (remember Skynet of the Terminator franchise?) and stretched well towards the horizon of imagination, but not impossible.

With wearables, beacons and Internet of Things, are we all in a technology-binged trance? Maybe, maybe not. The more important question to ask is whether all this technology will help us lead better, safer and healthier lives, or whether we will be enslaved by it. A lot of companies, large and small, today are working hard to ensure technology evolves only to enrich lives, and prevent the latter.

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One thing is for certain: the future of technology is going to be ubiquitous and pervasive, with a lot of frictionless and transparent interactions between humans and things. This future will only be successful if it supports a very personal experience of being connected with everyone and everything without forsaking social needs of boundaries and control, and without compromising personal and societal security.


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