Are Wearables Just a Fad?
After an amazing IPO, FitBit has set the bar as the largest consumer tech introduction to the stock market based on its wearable fitness trackers. One can only conclude that wearables are where it’s at.
ARE WEARABLES WHERE IT'S AT?
Being curious in nature, I did an Internet search on “are wearables a fad?” and got thousands of hits. While it’s hard to tell without reading every one of them, it appears the opinion leans towards ‘yes’. (Unless of course, the author is a spokesperson from a wearables company and then it’s a resounding ‘no’.)
Most people agree that the devices tend to be worn only for a few weeks or months before landing in a drawer. Even the keen tech analysts point to their drawers full of tech products supplied to them, including many wearables of late.
In order for a new class of technology to be wildly successful, it has to offer some revolutionary new capability. It can’t just offer the same things currently available today. One would argue that the wearables of today are offering the same old data in a shiny new package.
WHAT IS NEXT?
Sure, we can have a record of how many hours we sleep a night and now we know exactly how many steps we take in the day. So what? Is this really groundbreaking news?
A similar recent phase can help us see how this will play out. Take the first step of the Information Revolution; the ability to capture data… great amounts of data. As computers were becoming prolific, data storage capabilities were doubling annually. However, data is not information and without order, reams of data means nothing. Data itself is the first step of the hierarchy: data, information, knowledge, and finally wisdom.
I liken wearables to the first step of the hierarchy – data gathering, and that is their stumbling block. The data must be transformed to information (organized data with meaning) before it can be transferred into knowledge that provides the ability to comprehend and use the information.
THE HEALTH AGE
The next level is to understand what these steps taken are doing for our bodies. Possibly more importantly, what about the calories and energy in our bodies? We need to better understand. That understanding is going to come from being able to visualize our metabolism.
The true revolution is going to be when biosensors, coupled with intelligent software, allow us to fully understand what our body is doing. For example, many companies are racing to release products that use spectrometry to monitor glucose for people with diabetes. Researchers are looking at attaching sensors to medications to monitor compliance from the stomach (ingestibles), and there are commercially available personal oxygen measurement devices that can give an accurate picture of how much energy you are actually expending along with the mix of carbs and fat you are burning.
Eventually we’ll be able to know everything about what we eat and how it is impacting us as we are doing it. You will be able to tell with a quick glance whether your body is burning fat or storing fat. Imagine knowing whether your system has metabolized all of your lunch before you have that afternoon snack.
Even more interesting will be a doctor’s visit of the future. Today when you take your car to the shop, they connect it to a computer to find all the faults. Now imagine what your doctor’s office visits will be like with your device continuously monitoring your health, - or better yet, your doctor will scan you with a Tricorder.
How will this knowledge impact our lifestyles? One can speculate that as the data transforms to information and information to knowledge, wisdom will soon follow allowing us to best use the knowledge at our fingers (or in our mobile phones).
CONTINUE THE WEARABLES CONVERSATION
Contact me if you want to continue the discussion about wearables or corporate wellness technology.
Anne Marie Kirby, CEO
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Written by Cindy Danielson
Cindy Danielson is CoreHealth's Marketing Maverick and team leader with a passion for connecting people and technology. In addition to marketing, she has experience as a Benefits Brokers, HR Professional and Project Manager.