The Future of Wearable Technology

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When Wearable Technology was launched a few years ago, it promised to mesh together the goodness of accomplishing health and enterprise objectives, with cutting edge fashion and technology. Initial popularity in diverse sectors such as fitness, pharmaceuticals, wellness, and fashion industries confirmed that these products- whether it was smartwatches, fitness trackers or even apparel, had the potential to affect behavioural changes in their consumers.

There are abundant benefits of using wearable technology in these varied sectors. For example, in corporate sectors and initiatives, where employee loyalties are delicate, wearable technology could cause an improvement of morale if it makes it easier for the workforce to become more efficient and creative. Similarly, cases relating to employer-sponsored fitness and wellness programs can lead to a healthier and thereby more productive workforce. Some of these devices can be used for training purposes for new and existing employees and even be introduced by the HR department during ice-breaking sessions to liven things up. Some trackers could also speed up certain processes through real time feedback.

These benefits are not unique to the corporate sector and can be seen in many other sectors. For example, wearable devices are beneficial to the retail sector as well, as these can invert the point of sale processes, improve valued customer service throughout the store and accelerate purchasing decisions. As for the manufacturing sector, this technology can help hasten production by creating effective hands-free tools for guidance. In service industries, wearable devices can speed access to information in real time and enable seamless action. As for medical organizations, these devices aim to improve precision of information available, reorganize various procedures and influence the growth of clinical trials. For patients such as those suffering from diabetes, this technology aims to give real-time feedback to provide motivation to eat healthy and remain active. In all of these cases, the use of wearable technology stands to benefit both the individual as well as the company issuing this technology.

Wearable technology has been accepted widely by individuals for other daily needs. A case in point is that of Ms. Shalini, who bought a smartwatch earlier this year that could monitor her weight loss journey before her wedding. However, after five months of little success, it remains locked in the cupboard. While reviewing the product she mentioned a few drawbacks that disallowed it to become a success. Some of these were an inaccurate heart-rate tracker and non-waterproof material.

She is not alone in her rejection of this new technology. The mounting number of disappointed reviews and many discontent customers has now created an uncertain atmosphere for the future of wearable technology. For example, in early 2015, Fitbit, a wearable activity tracker, went from a market capitalization of over $10 billion to $3.7 billion. Therefore, it has now become imperative for entrepreneurs to analyse the reasons for this fallout. One of the top reasons that emerged through research was that these wearables were not designed to satisfy consumers’ daily needs. Even industry giants such as Apple, Fitbit, Motorola 360 and Fossil were also affected by the unmet customer needs. These were Value for Money, Durability and Sustained User Engagement.

For customers, the price of a product is one of the foremost factors influencing purchase of the technology. Next, poor user experience was due to the material of the product not being durable enough- that may include the band breaking, not being water-resistant or a poor battery life.

An upcoming product of MUSE (www.musewearables.com)

However, an interesting new development in the future of wearable technology comes from Muse Wearable that address all these unmet demands of dissatisfied customers. They have recently launched a number of products that also includes a Hybrid Smartwatch with an accurate fitness tracker as well as a battery life that boasts of advanced technology allowing the device to run over a year without charging! he top.

To conclude, one can safely assume that there is undeniably a future for wearable technology ahead, one that can vividly transform the landscape of human experience. However, for a sustained existence it will have to satisfy previous unmet customer needs and remain anchored in human-centred design.

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