Wearable devices are already wearing thin

31 Mar 2014

As featured on TM Forum's The Insider

So, it’s not enough that the apps on my mobile devices are sending out megabytes of information on my every internet movement, now wearables want to send out info on my every movement, period.

No, I kid you not. Even Android is being adapted for wearable devices so that all its inconsistencies can be transferred to a device that is connected permanently to my person. Known as Android Wear now but soon to be Wearing Thin, I’m sure.

The altruistic reasoning behind all this wearable hoo-ha is so it can link to my mobile device or PC via Bluetooth and send details of all my body functions to the cloud. From there I can look at pretty graphs that tell me my BMI is too high (body fat for the uninitiated) and my exercise levels are way too low, my sleep is poor and my heart will probably stop beating shortly (the last one I made up but it won’t be long in coming).

My non-Android Fitbit even talks to my scales and records my weight variations (I think they collude by the way). I’m also supposed to let it know what I eat because they haven’t come up with a wearable yet that can smell food or take photos for recognition purposes. That, too, will surely be coming.

No doubt, it will also sense when I walk into a fast-food joint and start vibrating on my wrist violently or give me electric shock therapy until I leave the premises.

It already tells me how many steps I take each day, and what distance I’ve covered, but I suspect my violent keyboard tapping has been misinterpreted as active exercise because I seem to have walked 1 km today without moving from my desk. I did think about it though, so maybe it picked up my thought waves by mistake.

I wonder if they will have GPS built in soon so my wife can track me down when I’m late getting home? Oh, no matter she, and anyone that cares can probably do that already through my phone.

CNN, in a recent article stated that, “one day, a wearable device might confirm your unique walk or heartbeat and act as a form of unique identification, similar to a fingerprint sensor. When you walk into a store, it could transmit information about your size and clothing preferences to a beacon, and when you walk out it could charge you automatically.” Getting worried yet?

In 2014, 90 million wearable devices will ship around the world, according to ABI Research, and it’s a market expected to grow dramatically next year. But the smart money won’t be in the devices themselves; it will be in the applications on them that collect all that valuable personal data.

Google’s investment in the space and its keenness to attract app developers to Android Wear indicates that it sees wearable data as a threat to its existing revenue stream from search and clicks. Just imagine how valuable this highly focussed personal data could be to marketers!

Right now, wearables are moving from the health & fitness market to the general wellbeing sector. The many devices available are becoming status symbols for some. It won’t be long before we see bling brand-name wearables and posers wearing multiple devices, just like multiple mobile maniacs that have seizures when they can’t work out which of their phones is ringing. There’s probably a wearable for that, too.

I’m guessing that super trendy wearables will also warn you when a suitable love match is close by. As you walk down a crowded street, or enter a bar you will get a wrist buzz when someone with your ideal profile is close by. You’ll know who it is because they will shake their wrist at the same time.

Now there’s an idea for an app!

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