Wearables are the future. We may all be flashing some type of wearable device in 2020, but most of us don’t own one today. In fact, only one in five owns a wearable device now, according to a new report from PricewaterhouseCoopers.
The survey of 1,000 consumers, “wearable technology influencers,” and business executives gives some recommendations for how the products might go from promising to truly useful items in our daily attire. The report defines wearable technology as “clothing and accessories that incorporate computer and advanced electronic technologies,” including smartwatches and glasses, action cameras, and fitness trackers.
Here are five of the report’s prescriptions for wearable tech.Story: Pebble's Price-Cutting Defense Against the Apple Watch
1. Seamlessly integrate with other devices. Right now, most wearables perform prescribed functions, offering limited data (miles walked, hours slept) through a closed relationship between the device and its supporting app. The gadgets should be able to connect to the cloud and seamlessly interact with other services. The ubiquitous wearable of the future could monitor your health as well as your home. Forty-one percent of respondents in the survey identified “seamless integration with other devices” as a top-three reason to adopt wearable tech. That said, users don’t expect their smartwatch to replace their prized smartphone. When asked if a wearable would need to become a user’s primary device to justify its expense, 76 percent of respondents said no.
2. Provide information that’s meaningful. Spitting out data isn’t enough—wearables need to give users accurate information in real time, and then synthesize that data to provide insights that lead to better decision-making and behavior. “Again and again in our research,” the report’s authors write, “we heard consumers asking for devices that make data meaningful, to transform noise into an action plan—and make them accountable for it.” Consumers, particularly women and older millennials, said that improving personal accountability (eating healthier and exercising smarter) was one of wearable tech’s potential benefits.
Of the respondents who had bought wearable gadgets over a year ago, 33 percent had already stopped using them regularly. “This suggests that these devices are shiny new toys, rather than lifestyle changers,” the authors write.Story: Wearable Tech’s New Frontier: Charting Hospital Patients’ Progress
3. Alleviate stress. If you envy others’ ability to unplug, imagine this: a device that monitors your stress and reminds you to stop checking your e-mail at 11 p.m. Most respondents, 74 percent, agreed that wearable tech could play an important role in mitigating stress in our gadget-filled, connected lives.
4. Instill trust. It seems most of us want the potential convenience of a wearable but have concerns that the ability to check our bank balance on and make purchases with a smartwatch could open us up to privacy violations—and not just of the nude-photo variety. A vast majority of respondents, 82 percent, said they feared wearable tech would invade their privacy, and 86 percent said they were concerned that wearable tech could make them more vulnerable to security breaches. Until users feel their data are secure, they’ll be reluctant to adopt the technology.
5. Win over employers. Seventy-seven percent of respondents said they thought wearables could potentially make them more productive at work, and nearly half felt their employers should foot the bill.Story: A Wearable That Tracks Your Financial Health
Via Olivier Janin