IoT Time Preview: Wearables

By Ken Briodagh June 15, 2017

IoT Evolution, the leading media brand for the Internet of Things (IoT), has published a book outlining more than 150 of the leading trends in the IoT industry, entitled “IoT Time: Evolving Trends in the Internet of Things.” The book, written by IoT Evolution Editorial Director, Ken Briodagh, seeks to explore the factors that have shaped the recent past of the developing industry and use those to predict the trends that will drive the next period of growth. Each of the trends is explicated and illustrated with a case study or product review that supports each position.

In this weekly series, we’ll be previewing chapters for you to read in the hopes that you’ll like enough to read the whole thing. To do just that, for free, click here. Alternatively, there’s a paperback version available on Amazon for $14.99.

Chapter 19: Wearables
Trend: Wearables in the workplace
How Wearable Tech is Reducing Workplace Injuries

Wearable technology is hot, mostly in the form of fitness trackers. Wearables put personal sensors into an easy-to-wear form, helping keep users informed of vital and environmental factors. Sensors can track everything from physical movement, heart rate, and brain activity. Wearables are also able to inform people about danger and can act as an alert system when they need help.

One of the most common occupations in the US is driving a truck. Trucking is critical to supplying businesses and consumers with products and necessities. Without truck drivers, there wouldn’t be fresh produce, breads, meats, or many other items available that we need every day.

In 2012, more 317,000 collisions involved commercial trucks. Much of the liability for such crashes might be mitigated with well-chosen wearables. Companies who employ truck drivers are looking at new technology that can make workers and their supervisors aware of danger and can potentially save thousands of lives every year.

SmartCap, a company out of Australia, has introduced the SmartCap system. The system is pretty simple and easy to use. A truck driver wears the cap, which looks exactly like a standard baseball-style hat. It contains sensors which monitor the brain’s electrical activity and transmit the information via Bluetooth to the truck driver’s supervisor. SmartCap informs supervisors of a driver's alertness via an operator display, which uses visual and audio alerts if driver fatigue is detected. It is able to provide real-time feedback to supervisors, who can then alert the driver.

The Smartwatch by Tata Group demonstrates how a wearable can protect workers. The device is a two-way alert system with multiple sensors that detect dangerous gases and fumes while monitoring workers’ vital signs. The Smart Helmet by GE allows more experienced workers to communicate with less experienced workers via two-way audio and video feeds.

Trend: Fashionable solutions
Qualcomm and Fossil Give Snapdragons Smart Watches

Qualcomm Technologies and Fossil Group  released the high-fashion Fossil Q Marshal and Q Wander smart watches, powered by the Qualcomm Snapdragon Wear 2100 processor. These watches are designed to deliver a unique experience for the customer, Fossil said, by taking advantage of the power of the Snapdragon Wear 2100. They incorporate an “always awake” touch screen, extended battery life, always-on sensing, and easy connectivity. And boy, are they pretty.

“We're investing in long-term wearables innovation due to increasing demand for smart watches that fuse the latest in technology and connectivity into an attractive, expertly-designed wristwatch. Today’s announcement is part of a broader plan to introduce more than 100 wearables this year,” said Greg McKelvey, Chief Strategy and Chief Digital Officer, Fossil Group. “We envision a day when every watch we make will have some type of connectivity in it.

By combining Fossil Group's expertise in making beautiful, quality watches and Qualcomm Technologies' highly integrated Snapdragon Wear processors, we are bringing the best of fashion and technology to our customers.”

The Snapdragon Wear 2100 is Qualcomm Technologies’ second generation processor for Android Wear smart watches. It is a full featured processor designed specifically for wearables running Android OS. Snapdragon Wear offers a range of connectivity options, low power GNSS and an ultra-low power sensor hub for a truly smart experience.

“We are pleased to be working with Fossil Group and its flagship Fossil brand to deliver exciting new smart watches and helping them win in today's dynamic wearables industry,” said Anthony Murray, SVP and GM, IoT, Qualcomm Technologies International. “Combining the industry-leading Snapdragon Wear 2100 with Fossil Group's design expertise will continue to fuel innovation, set a new bar in the wearables industry and bring the best of fashion and technology to consumers.”

Trend: Contextual interface
Moving Beyond the Toys and into the Mainstream

The wearables market mostly confined itself to smart watches and fitness bands, but any wearable that is capable of meeting a need rather than a simple want is shifting from fringes to the mainstream. Looking ahead, contextual apps driven by wearables with multiple input options for voice, motion and gesture are where wearable computing is headed.

Wearables need to change their interface methods to make this move, however. Manufacturers should make better use of sensors bundled with the wearables, capture the interaction native to the device, and detect the situation the user is in to help them access content they are trying to access. It is imperative to provide more context-sensitive, correlated information right at the time a user is expecting it. The key enablers for this change in approach to wearables would be the evolution of wearables themselves with innovative form factors – ones thriving in an ecosystem built with interconnected devices (IoT), aided by the widespread use of beacons to identify locations and things.

Innovative wearables with contextual apps have come into use in some industries this year. MasterCard has launched a program to turn any consumer gadget, accessory or wearable into a payment device. Everything from rings and wrist bands, watches and key fobs will help make secured digital payments seamlessly.

Motorola and FedEx started using a new wearable scanning system where a hands-free imager is worn on a finger and a small terminal is worn on the employee’s wrist or hip. The ring imager automatically scans using label-sensing technology. Stanford University Medical Centre is experimenting with the use of a special type of wearable glass to give doctors an outline of a patient’s veins, which helps them guide a needle with greater accuracy.

In this weekly series, we’ll be previewing chapters for you to read in the hopes that you’ll like enough to read the whole thing. To do just that, for free, click here. Alternatively, there’s a paperback version available on Amazon for $14.99.

Editorial Director

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