Wearable Technology

Right time to wrap a short story about the modern technology. Today I will talk about what will be massively adopted in three years from now. It is Wearable Technology. Everything is very simple – the current smartphones will not last long, because their design sucks. The “brick design” is not human friendly. The bigger smartphones are even worse than smaller ones. It is a result of immature technology to produce better hardware. But things have started to change.

The Momentum

The documented research for wearables for consumer market is dated back to the end of 1990x, which constitutes approx 15-17 years. Usually it took about 25 years for new technology to win us over. But taking into consideration the exponential acceleration of our technology progress, the time frame is shrinking. The adoption has began and you will see what will happen in three years. Just to make a relevant analogy, recall what would you know about the tablets before April 2010? There was nothing sustainable on the market. Old tablets from Microsoft don’t count because of poor sustainability… And look at your hands right now, look around, many people hold iPads, and they use them for both work and life needs. That happened in 3 years. The hardware changes in 3 years. Google Glass is exciting, they tease us today, but everybody will be with Google and some competitors glasses in just few years.

Software + Services?

Now, take few minutes to read the spec of Google Glass. It is Android. It is a platform for the apps. Because web browser is too heavy for such limited environment. Sorry SaaS, you will have to wait until the mini ear of apps will come to the logical end. But today it is a perfect time for the apps, embedded or Android or similar. Take another make, Suunto. They converted wearable accessories into the app platforms. You can download the app for your favorite Ambit from the app zone. Let’s move further within quantified-self trend. Next stop is a health. There are nice wearable products for nutrition, fitness and sleep monitoring. From very sexy fashionable Jawbone to more classical looking Fitbit to sporty Nike Fuel to modest calories burn tracker BodyMedia. Those wearable buddies simply don’t have neither room nor battery capacity for web browser (read for fat HTML and JavaScript processing). Of course they synchronize with smartphones, then with backend. It is new model: Software + Software + Services, where first software is embedded, second is mobile app and services are in the cloud.

Could wearable gadgets work without the smartphone? Yes and no. They all work in offline mode, silently gathering/measuring you. Then you connect via Bluetooth to smartphone or with USB wire to laptop and sync the data with the cloud services. Theoretically the wearable gadget can bypass the phone and work directly with the services. It is called Internet of Things, when each “thing” is connected to the Internet, or vice verse, the Internet is constituted from the connected “things”. The more things connected, the better real world is duplicated/reflected into the information system. The goal is to replicate the physical World into digital.

If we take different class of devices, which connects other machines to the internet, we have to mention M2M. It is very simple concept, to connect smth disconnected, you have to put additional machine, aware of the first machine on one side and Internet on another side. Those M2M devices are usually working over HTTP with backend and via USB or COM (with native protocol) with original disconnected machine. Hence, there is a significant piece of software on M2M man-in-the-middle. There could be high-level logic running there, e.g. predictive or prescriptive analytics, which can work even in offline mode, if the accumulated or sync’ed data is sufficient that that. Software + Services is what we need to understand to design Internet of Things for machines and for people. Wearable technology will run software next three years for sure.


The “brick design” is bad, but what is better? Any other anatomic designs are way better. Wait a bit and there will be new stuff built out of Graphene. It has ideal properties to be an excellent component of chips and circuits. There are billion euro grants for this decade to bring Graphene into our lives. Old good Nokia got 1.35b euro to develop Graphene. May be they will make the Morph concept a reality!

Who worries about the chips? They are almost transparent today. The first transparent integrated circuit was built in far 2006. Today, achieving of 80% of transparency with chips is not a problem. Having Graphene as a basis, guarantee that modern devices will be easily bendable. All those tablets still lose to paper because they are not bendable. We almost achieved the paper resolution (dpi) on tablets, but still struggle with every-day usability.

Quantified Self

Everybody is going to be measured. If you want to measure yourself, just use wearable technology and track the rest of your activity with software products. Just put smart wristband, health monitor, GPS or whatever onto yourself, your bike and forget about it. The data will be continuously recorded. If you don’t like to track yourself, you still cannot avoid it, because big stores will track you via cell phone triangulation. They use fake signaling to make your phone revealing itself, thus identifying your location and movement inside the store. You are tracked via surveillance cameras too… but it is not wearable, hence out of the scope of this topic.

Don’t worry about the wearable guys, they will produce tons of data about you. While using tools to record other meaningful activities might be painful. Here is a sample how the man experienced it with Google Calendar. I foresee that non-wearable tracking will be resolved via image/object recognition. Retail industry needs it for descriptive, predictive and prescriptive analytics very much.

Internet of Things

Those things that could not be designed to work with cloud directly, will be classified as smart accessories to some smarter device – smartphone. At the beginning there will be smartphone as man-in-the-middle for almost all wearable devices. Like AliveCor ECG for iPhone. But then, those devices will be able to bypass the phone. In other words, we are using smartphone as M2M intermediary, to connect wearable machine to the Internet. We got Internet of Things right away, just not as big as it could be, and with heavy use of the phone for M2M. In the near future we will get even bigger Internet of Things without the phones, as wearable gadgets will be designed as connected right out of the box.

Ideally, there will be no need for visible computer (either laptop or smartphone or tablet) in common situations. The number of computers/machines will be bigger, and the size will be smaller. And many of them will be Wearable and connected.

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10 thoughts on “Wearable Technology

  1. Andrii says:

    1. What do you think about considering wearable as transition stage before integrated.
    2. Can third party devices that are to be connected to the car + to the phone and generate stats, monitoring car state and calling help in critical situations be considered as wearable (cars wear them 🙂 )?

  2. Vasyl Mylko says:

    The Paradox of Wearable Technologies
    Can wearable devices augment our activities without distracting us from the real world?

    By Don Norman on July 24, 2013


  3. […] benefits of Big Data, not the atoms that constitute it [Big Data]. For the atoms you can refer to Wearable Technology or Getting Ready for the Internet of Things by Alex Sukholeyster, or just logging of the click […]

  4. […] This story is a logical continuation of the previously published Wearable Technology. […]

  5. […] connected via M2M. Consumers adopted wearable technology. I’ve posted about it earlier. Go to Wearable Technology and Wearable Technology, Part […]

  6. […] Add here wireless weight… I’ve described gadgets and principles in previous posts Wearable Technology and Wearable Technology, Part II. Here I’d like to distinguish Scanadu Scout, measuring […]

  7. […] to decelerate. Right now we are observing the boom of wearables. There is insight on wearables: Wearable Technology and Wearable Technology, Part II. A lot to change […]

  8. […] for the full-blown HTML5/CSS3/JavaScript browsers on those new gadgets. Hence forget about SaaS and think about S+S. Or client-server which is called client-cloud nowadays. Programming language could be JavaScript, […]

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