Pedro Diezma, from Zerintia: “Wearables are Internet of Things, they are connected things” (I)
25 Jan 2017 IoT General
If we had to define a starting point in wearable technology as we know it today, we would have to go back to the seventies of last century, when the first research group appeared in "wearable computing". Since then, wearable devices have grown in number and applications to become a trend. But at what point are they actually? We have talked with Pedro Diezma, CEO of Zerintia Technologies, an expert in wearables and Internet of Things, who gave us a current and future vision of this technology.
How to understand the wearable technology?
Wearables, as a concept, have been on the market for several years. Not only as an idea but in a practical way, as devices. "Wearables are technology to wear, that is watches, bracelets, glasses, pendants, clothes... all those accessories or clothes we have worn but now we make them smart to give us new functionalities" explains the expert to whom we asked for a definition. These technological devices take the shape of accessories that, when being in direct contact, gives us information. And what is this information for? "It allows us to know ourselves better, as they provide us with a series of biometric data, controlling certain medical aspects or enhancing our performance... and, on the other hand, also they give us greater capabilities", says the expert. Thanks to wearables, such as smart glasses, we can incorporate information in real time that can be very useful in certain scenarios.
Although wearable devices began several years ago, it is in 2015 when they reached a peak in their use. "Four years ago, thanks to the trackers in the bracelet, wearables began to be trending, they experienced a booming point. However, in 2016 there was a slight drop in some mainstream devices due to the saturation of the market, which drove some brands to rethink about upgrading and relaunching models”, says the expert, who thinks that 2017 could be a year of reflection and maturation in the sector that will allow a rebound in 2018 or 2019 in terms of capabilities. Of course, Pedro insists that such a rise would be inside the bracelets and watches sector. But we won’t see the same in other devices as glasses, which are still unstoppable and would have more importance in work environments.
Setting the role of wearables in society
Although we are learning and maturing the use and environment of wearables in society, many of these devices are already fully integrated. It is not the same with another kind of them, that are still looking for their niche among users. What role do they play among us? "Right now everybody has a smart bracelet. Everyone knows what it is and what it is for. But beyond these devices, more related to fitness or sleep quality, there are now many other projects that aim to monitor health", Pedro Diezma comments on the great utility that would have these devices among the chronically ill, the health staff or even for any of us. "If a wearable is able to detect a disease ahead of time and help to prevent it, anyone would be interested". This kind of devices, which have different shapes and applications, would serve to take the next step in reliable monitoring and specific uses in the healthcare world.
While wristbands and watches are more related to the health field, glasses, for example, could make a significant difference in management within working environments. "I'm not referring to virtual reality glasses (they take you to another world) but to augmented reality glasses", says Pedro. "These glasses are going to be super useful in incident management. If a worker has to maintain a machine or an engine and it has information layers overlapped with 3D virtual objects thanks to the glasses, which guide him or connect him remotely with another person who is an expert, what we are is expanding the capabilities of this person, who otherwise could not perform his work".
Another interesting aspect of the application of this type of wearables is to prevent occupational risks. "We are working on a watch for workers at risk," Pedro explains, "and before they start their task, the device warns them of all the security measures they have to take to face the task. In addition to informing, it verifies that the worker is complying with the measures. And once the task begins, it monitors it, alerting the plant or a close companion if necessary". This same device would allow a direct communication for consultations with other colleagues, leaving free hands during the work. "Watches are becoming partners that digitize and improve the connection in these jobs, helping to reduce accidents at work".