The era of wearable devices has dawned on us, with wearable technology broadening the scope of human interaction with technology. It is fairly evident that wearable technology is here to stay and is only getting bigger with each passing day. Ever since this technology has come up tech behemoths such as Google, Apple and Samsung have been focussing on their hardware. With the continued miniatur- isation of enabling technologies, wearable devices have hit the mass market in a diverse variety of form factors, ranging from glasses to even jewellery.
As per the recent report by Gartner the global fitness wearable market, which includes fitness wristbands, sport watches and smart garments, is expected to shrink next year from 70 million units sold to 68 million. The problem? Fitness wristbands, as popular as they have been so far, just don’t do enough to excite consumers. I quite agree with the report. Having been in the gaming industry, I clearly understand human behaviour. According to me, the most important censor is common sense. You cannot be a runner buy buying running shoes. You also need to know the right technique to run and adhere to a certain regime to achieve your goals. These goals can be rightly achieved only with an expert advice.
In the current scenario I believe most of these gadgets currently available in the market lack the expert advice. These gadgets have failed on account of limited engagement, limited reinforcement and limited motivation whatsoever for an individual to wear the gadget. It is not about adopting the gadget and wearing it on your hand, it’s about how much of an impact it has had on your health and happiness or value adds to your day to day life.
At GOQii, we realised the above problems right at the inception stage. Our pilot study conducted among a group indicated that while the band tracked their activity through the day including their sleep, all of them found that there was something amiss. They found that there was no engagement and also that they did not understand how to decipher the data collected on the band. Hence, our solution is to assign our players (an individual who is wearing the GOQii band) with a personal coach who is an expert in nutrition in fitness. Personal coach will monitor the data for the player and also advise him or her on things like how to get better sleep.
In 2016, I believe, wearable payment solutions will witness an upsurge, with the proliferation of mobile-based services and the reducing median price of smartphones, the payment industry is on an exponential growth trajectory. Ease of making payment is the new customer demand which will see a departure from traditional encrypted password-based payments to biometric security-based payments.
In the healthcare industry, corporate health care systems and hospitals in India are definitely keen on wearable devices, since the high volume of data generated by such devices may lead to new ways of identifying disease symptoms, measuring wellness and discovering non-conventional vital signs. With security being a major threat to all, wearables shall play an important role in combating safety issues by introducing SOS devices alternately using them as access devices. Many times, when faced with personal threat, it becomes almost impossible to take the smartphone out from your pocket or handbag, unlock it, and send out an emergency message. In such situations, a wristband could make all the difference in broadcasting that crucial SMS with your location data to your immediate emergency contacts.
Thus I believe that the future of wearable technology isn’t about fitness bands or health monitors—it’s about what can be done with the data accumulated and how can it be used to an individual’s advantage.
The writer is founder and CEO, GOQii