5% of people already own a smart watch in the UK*, meaning wearable technology is already well on its way to becoming more widely adopted.
Although not a physical part of the connected home per se, wearables can be designed to integrate seamlessly. They could lead to your front door unlocking automatically on sensing your smart watch nearby, or your activity tracker signalling to your fridge to pour you a drink
after some exercise. Wearables open up ways for your body to speak to your home.
The challenge for wearables lies in convincing owners to continue using the technologies after the initial ‘technological honeymoon’ has passed. Gartner research has found that 30% of people who own activity trackers stop wearing them after only one month – because they already feel they have gained enough information about their exercise patterns. Suppliers of wearables have to face this challenge creatively, with elements of gamification, for example, already proving successful in slowing the trend.
Potential applications for wearables in healthcare are already being explored. Some hospitals already use Apple Watches and bespoke applications for supporting monitoring of patients.
Beyond traditional hospital-based care, though, the interaction between wearables and the home offers a huge chance for improving integrated care, reducing people’s time spent in hospitals. Through analysing patterns of movement, and remotely monitoring vitals, wearables could significantly reduce the time and cost of looking after people in their own homes, and could transform elderly care provision by allowing older people to live at home for longer.
Wearables may never be as widely adopted as the smart phone, but, if organisations embrace the use of wearables as another means of people interacting with their connected home, the opportunities for industries as varied as health, energy, and leisure, could all be impressive.
* Source: "Wearables at the Peak of Inflated Expectations: Myths & Realities" - Gartner Webinar, March 2016