Gwinnett Tech Forum: The Evolution of Wearable Technology

Using smart watch

Partnership Gwinnett hosts quarterly Technology Forums (http://www.gwinnettchamber.org/gwinnett-technology-forum/). I enjoy attending them because they always have interesting topics, knowledgeable speakers, and great networking with technology professionals. The last one I attended was called “The Evolution of Wearable Technology.” Panelists included Rick Erazo (RE), of AT&T Wearable IOT; Todd Charest (TC), Chief Innovation and Product Officer, Ingenious Med; and Peter Presti (PP), Research Scientist at Georgia Tech IMTC Georgia Tech. The panel was moderated by Robert McIntyre (RM), from the Wireless Technology Forum.

The discussion began with some introductory remarks and a history of wearable technology – where it came from up to where it is now. The moderator then presented a series of questions for each panelist regarding how they use the technology, what are the trends and obstacles they see, and how they believe this technology will change employer and consumer behavior. Below I have put some highlights form the discussion.

Check their website for future Forum dates.

Hurdles for wearable technology?

Size, battery life, and consumer behavior.

Factors of adaptability of wearable technology?

Health, productivity, safety and security.

Interesting stats:

  • 10% of wearable devices will be working on a cellular network.
  • 24 million devices were in use by end of 2015.
  • A 36% annual growth is expected in this market through 2017.
  • By 2018 it will be a $12 billion range market.

There is a difference between non-traditional OEM’s of wearable technology and enterprise wearable technology.

Non-Traditional OEM Enterprise
Concerned with how the device “looks” on the body

Personal preferences, tastes, personality traits of the wearer, fashion, lifestyle

 

Concerned with how the device “functions” and affects productivity

Ex. Google glass flopped with consumers but has been taken up by service providers

  1. Why are wearables taking off?
    • Mass adoption of smart phones. (RE)
    • There are better user interfaces and user experiences now. (RE)
    • A wearable is not just the device but also an infrastructure. (PP)
    • We are understanding better behavior change – behavioral engineering – so now we can collect data passively and do something with the data to make lives better. (TC)
  2. Is the wearable the extension of the human or is the human the extension of the wearable?
    • We start with the human first. (TC)
    • We may be transitioning in to a “Borg Lab” (from Star Trek) where humans and wearables will co-evolve (like clothes). (PP)
    • An extension of the human 0 that fashion element that represents who you are to the world – like luxury items. (RE)
  3. How will wearables enhance and challenge the workplace?
    • Wearables can work very well in certain areas – like manufacturing – like id badges – for authentication and to provide access. (RE)
    • Any job that needs interaction with a terminal can use a wearable. (PP)
    • We are collecting a vast amount of data today – information overload – we need to learn how to make sense of it. It will not be fashion but usability that will determine a higher adoption rate in the workplace. (TC)
  4. What about privacy and security?
    • These are the biggest challenges in this market. How do we strike a balance? What is the younger generation’s understanding of privacy, etc.? (TC)
    • What happens to the data collected by the wearable beyond health – photos, etc.? Regulatory policy will come into this space within the next 5-10 years. (PP)
    • These are critical to adoption multi-faceted approach through every step in the use of the wearable for security. We each need to access our risk. Need to look at mobile device management – and update IT policy to include wearables and IoT; especially bio-data of employees. (RE)
  5. Which wearable is your favorite and why?
    • Google Glass – a massive social experiment of what people are willing to accept and not to accept. Fashion vs. form vs. function – what is the right way to build these things? (PP)
    • Samsung Gearup 2 and Timex Metropolitan (RE)
    • Need to look at the breath and depth; my smartphone, Apple Watch (convenience and social acceptability), Fitbit (social norms) (TC)
  6. Which wearable technology company should we buy stock in?
    • Fashion name brands like The Fossil Group which just acquired Misfit. (RE)
    • Small start-ups; Pulse Wave monitoring company (PP)
    • Companies working with cognitive computing; self-driving cars; insurance companies (DC)
  7. Other comments:
    • Problem with Google Glass is that its battery life is too short so it is not good for constant and long-term monitoring (PP)
    • Empowered patients – “sitting (not moving) is the new smoking” – this is a public health concern; we need to get employees moving (PP)
    • This will be a competitive space, but a big challenge is that the data collected in one device is not transferable to different platforms. (TC)
    • Who owns the data? Will you be beholden to a certain brand because they have your data (not ideal). The user should own the data. (PP)
    • It will be a crowded space (RE)

Resources:

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