In 2021, global user spending on IoT wearable technology last year was US$81.5 billion, up 18% from 2020. This year, spending is expected to exceed US$90 billion in 2022. Wearables are expected to continue to become more sophisticated, and their use with eCommerce will evolve to become a more complex but convenient way of shopping online.
Businesses that maintain pace with trends will gain a market advantage. They will be able to collect accurate data through wearable devices which can be used to make data-driven decisions. This allows for a more personalized approach to digital marketing, with a focus on customer loyalty, service and product development.
Fitness wearables, activity tracking devices and IoMT are in growth
Personal health and healthcare monitoring have shifted in the past few years. Wearables and apps focused on recording exercise and movement have been the perfect complement to advertising messages that dictate that thin and beautiful equals successful. While fitness trackers and other wearables focus on data that is mostly only important for elite athletes, the general public is flocking to buy watches that track every bump in our heart rate and remind us to take a break and sip water.
For athletes, wearables can monitor every aspect of their performance, such as speed, heart rate, hydration and mobility. They can also monitor sleep, caloric intake, stress levels and breathing patterns. These elements come together for trainers to help elite athletes understand what training, music, food and even sleep times are most beneficial to their performance. This can help them to prevent injury and improve their performance.
However, an increased interest in the Internet of Medical Things (IoMT) has far greater benefits and is fast developing. The Internet of Things enables doctors and clinics to examine patients with more accurate and reliable data points. Wearable devices generate information that means patients receive more integrated care.
People with health conditions, such as diabetes or hypertension need to monitor their blood glucose or blood pressure several times a day. Wearable devices can automate the monitoring and storage of vitals. This is especially important for children with type 1 diabetes, and wearables can alleviate the pressure on them to remember to monitor their levels manually.
The extrapolated data can be used to monitor the effectiveness of drugs, dosage, and intake times. The data provides doctors with reliable statistics that help to inform future treatment decisions.
The improvements in sensors used in wearables in the past few years will also benefit the development of healthcare and sports medicine devices. More accurate data using highly sensitive detection will also contribute to the canon of medical information that improves treatments and testing for the healthcare industry as a whole.
Security Still an Issue
Wearable devices do pose security and privacy risks for companies and end-users. This is becoming a focus for newer models with better protections for wearables users.
IoT technology is not as secure as devices because of limited encryption, poor access controls, weak vendor security and vulnerable software that is all easily exploited by hackers. When wearables were first launched, the focus was on fashion and producing a new gadget rather than exceptional security and function. However, this has changed as more wearables enter the market with a greater emphasis on battery life, functionality and broader application of functions, such as paywave, voice recording and even camera technology – at some stage.
Evolving biometric technologies will also improve the security of wearables. Eye or face scans, fingerprint matching or other biometric data that would be needed to access functions on the wearable, such as payment access or app access. This added security could transform how people use wearables, accelerating the devices from health and wellness tracking to functioning more like a portable computer, as our phones do now.
Advanced Connectivity Technologies
With about 48 billion gadgets connected to the Internet, the load on the existing network is massive. A decentralized network would significantly reduce delays in communication between connected devices. Network bandwidth is the biggest one of the biggest issues for the efficient functionality of IoT technology. Low bandwidth causes high network latency, meaning devices can’t communicate fast enough, and the technology can’t work efficiently.
High-speed connectivity in the past relied on cable or fibre-optic connection. Now, we rely on a wireless connection which can be inconsistent or have a low data rate. However, 5G networks released in recent years should help mitigate connection delays making seamless data exchange possible, improving wearables and making them more attractive as devices that offer more high-quality experiences with exceptional access to apps that enhance our daily lives.
This 5G connection enables not only higher speeds and lower latency but also increases power in devices, minimizes data transmission times and allows greater system energy savings. Accelerated delivery to the cloud will also be critical for technologies such as smart automation or AR/VR as they are integrated with wearables.
Wearables in Fintech
It is predicted that IoT wearables will help entrepreneurs in fintech solve critical issues and create innovative services for customers. Wearables collect a massive amount of data. This data, collected via body sensors, enables high-quality big data analytics and could include the integration of artificial intelligence solutions based on machine learning algorithms. Wearable devices potentially create additional points of interaction between a financial institution and a client, the value of which does not depend on the location of the consumer. Detailed personal information and real-time behavioural data mean that highly targeted and personalized ads can be sent to wearable devices.
Imagine you are shopping, and your watch reminds you to buy milk, and an alert for the brand of shampoo you usually buy lets you know it is on sale. You might then quickly check your grocery budget for the month on your wristwatch app and decide you can add the product to your basket, saving yourself a few dollars, which would then be updated automatically on your app on checkout as your pay using your wearable. As you checkout, you decide to pay using your crypto, and the fintech app you use makes it possible to do this without having to do anything more complicated than selecting the option to pay using crypto from your hot wallet.
It could change the way people budget, use their wearables and make payments.
The global contactless payment market is expected to grow from US$10 billion to US$18 billion by 2025. Epayments are fast, contactless and reliable. Smartphones and wearable devices dominate in contactless payments and are expected to continue to improve in security. According to research, consumers in the US and Europe would use an average of 5 wearables per smartphone. This includes items such as smart jewellery, smart authentication and voice technology for mobile banking. Fintechs need to ensure they have apps that are ready to be integrated with more advanced wearable devices as 5G makes connectivity better.