IoT Applications Spanning Across the Wearable Industry
Our world is fast changing with revolutionary technologies and disruptive ideas emerging in the whole new connected space. Amidst this mesh/network of connected devices, Internet of Things is changing our lives through many applications in many vertical markets.
IoT is the interface between the individuals and the connected environment that they are in. It can be thought of as a natural progression towards the individual with the individual becoming the center of things. From smart home to smart cars to wearable devices, many concepts have been born and are blooming under this idea.
Different people have a different idea of wearable technology. However, the bottom line is to leverage IoT to extend our abilities to communicate with each other, extend our knowledge about what’s happening with our bodies, and to communicate that knowledge to others if desired. The IoT applications in the wearable industry have not only encouraged engineering driven wearable technologies but have also inspired artists and designers with highly poetic explorations such as clothing sensors that are yet to be brought to the market.
As per reports, “BI Intelligence, Business Insider’s premium research service, expects the wearable device market to grow to 162.9 million units by the end of 2020.” The wearable industry will be pushed to these heights primarily by the health care industry. The body sensing materials, the amount of information they deliver and countless possibilities this information can unfold will revolutionize the professional healthcare trends, spurring interest in wearable devices.
Smart watches deploy the benefits of IoT to deliver more insightful information. The Fitbit activity trackers and wireless-enabled wearable technology devices measure the user’s fitness metrics and share the data in real-time over the cloud. This data can be accessed to generate insights into personal health and fitness requirements. The HexoSkin smart shirt uses analog dual-channel 128Hz breathing sensors to monitor breathing and heart rate. Swim trackers improve your swimming performances providing real-time data and audio feedback to exploit every single second of training. And all this made possible solely with the Internet of Things!
IoT enables a wide variety of use cases in wearable devices. Body temperature patches, sweat monitoring patches, and oximeters monitor vital signs such as body temperature, sweat, oxygen and environmental parameters to control other devices such as air conditioners. Hydration sensors in wearable devices alert user or caretaker about water consumption requirements. Yepzon’sTM GPS Locator is one such device which comes handy in tracking the location of the elderly and children. It works by notifying location details to the smartphone app of the guardian/caretaker via a cloud server.
There are times when carrying a wallet or purse is impractical, uncomfortable or even risky. That probably was the idea behind Kerv, the world’s first contactless payment ring. However, there is more to this scratch and water resistant, NFC-powered wearable. In London, people can be seen tapping it on buses and underground passes avoiding the card hassle. It can also store and share contact details at the tap of an NFC-enabled phone. This smart ring is compatible with NFC-enabled door locks and security systems. Announced in 2015, the wearable has hit the market in the UK early this year. Microsoft got back in action with HaloLens which caused a bit of frenzy ever since it was announced. The company believes that it could be the next big computing platform with applications ranging from video games to design, to education, and architecture. With the full Windows 10 integration, one can drag items from desktop and pull them off the screen into the air and still control them with one’s mouse. The sensors flood the device with terabytes of data every second, leveraging IoT to superimpose the digital data onto the physical world.
Internet of Things is the most convenient way to develop and expand creative platforms. Orphe, a smart shoe system for artists and performers, is a perfect example of how various fields such as dance, music, engineering, and fashion can be connected to everyday life through IoT – the ubiquitous technology. The sole of each Orphe shoe contains almost hundreds of serially controlled LED lights, cutting-edge motion sensors, and a Bluetooth module. Each shoe captures the movement of the user’s foot and sends this motion data to an external device or application in real-time using its onboard Bluetooth module. It is integrated with a service that allows users to share lighting patterns, sound, and interactions they have created on the cloud. Through this service, artists can download other users’ designs or even practice dancing along with their gestures.
Wearable devices for sports employ advanced analytics which includes relatively distinct areas of technology; location technology and inertial sensor data. These technologies tell us about the athletes’ location and capture detailed information about the small constant movements they make while practicing or playing. This information is fed into the analytics engine to derive sense out of data and make better decisions.
Intel tied with Speculur, an Indian smart-wearable startup focused on bringing data analytics to sports, to commercialize its bat-sensor technology. Speculur BatSense with Intel Inside made its debut at the recently concluded ICC Champions Trophy 2017. ICC named Intel as its innovation partner for the tournament held in London, early this June. Sensors with Intel Curie technology were mounted on the top of the bat handle. With Intel sensors, the parameters for each shot were recorded and analyzed. Intel aims to transform the cricket experience for fans and help coaches and players improve performance. The tournament is considered as the first ever smart cricket tournament. The integration of sports and technology serves the goal of being ‘best in the game’ for both players and companies.
Gartner says the consumer segment is the largest user of IoT with 5.2B units forming 63% of overall IoT applications in 2017.  With that rate, IoT is set to materially disrupt the consumer wearable space. Plus, there will be other challenges too such as cost, privacy and security issues. The tech giants will face the real challenge to design simple solutions that strike the consumer emotional nerve. However, this is just the beginning, our imagination is the limit.
Authors: Krishna Kishore-Senior Architect, Praveen Sivanandan-Business Development Manager, and Venkatram Aurva-Senior Manager-Portfolio (USA Delivery)