In just a few short years, wearable technology has gone from being nonexistent to being everywhere. Because of this sudden spike in popularity, wearables have the potential to change our lives and society, for better or worse. Because they're so new, it's difficult to tell what effects they will have, but we can speculate based on our current knowledge of them.
Many wearables provide the ability to track your physical activity and store it to view at a later time. This can be a great resource, allowing us to set short-term and long-term goals and track our progress toward them. By receiving real-time notifications on our activity, like reminders to stand or walk, wearables can also serve as a source of encouragement and motivation.
On the other hand, there's no guarantee that people will continue using wearables over time. At first, they're pretty novel and exciting, but a study has shown that around 30 percent of people stopped using them because they didn't find them useful or simply grew tired of them.
Additionally, many wearables have built-in heart monitors that give you real-time readings of your heart rate. While there have been cases of this feature helping to save lives, it's important to note that these are not medical devices and should not be used to diagnose or treat any health concerns. Many have also been shown to incorrectly measure heart rates, especially during exercise.
Many wearables tend to have little to no security measures keeping their data safe. The fact that much of the data is unencrypted and that most of these devices use Wi-Fi or Bluetooth connections to transmit data means cybercriminals can get their hands on it pretty easily.
It's important to consider how this information becomes big data to be collected and used by companies and governments. This means, whether you like it or not, that your tracked information could be used for marketing or health purposes. There are positive ways this information could be used, but as with all big data there's also a chance it could be misused.
At the moment, most of the data that's available via wearables isn't valuable enough for hackers to pursue. But as wearables and their capabilities continue to evolve, they may become higher-priority targets.
A number of industries are developing new and innovative types of wearable technology, especially in the health care industry where they're looking to take a step beyond fitness trackers to create health care trackers. These could be used to monitor things like blood pressure, vital signs, or blood sugar levels for diabetics. Even devices like smart hearing aids and glasses that measure vision performance are becoming available to both medical professionals and the general public.
Other devices like pet trackers, smart jewelry, and AR/VR headsets are continuing to grow and gain momentum. There's a lot of potential for wearable technology at the moment. It'll be interesting to see where things go from here and how they continue to impact us both individually and as a society.