Pedro Diezma, from Zerintia: “Wearables are Internet of Things, they are connected things” (II)
25 Jan 2017 IoT General
We continue with the interview to 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. In this post, we get deeper into the uses and the situation of these devices.
The long road ahead
Even though more and more wearable projects and technologies are coming to light, some aspects of these devices do not end up taking off. "The retail has, perhaps, a little more to advance. It may be because of stores, and large retail stores, focus the business model on the public, which is still on the mobile and has not yet generated a large mass of people using smart watches and other devices. They are moving very slowly”, he says.
Another of the major problems associated with such devices is of a technical nature. The duration of the battery, for example, is still something that should be improved. "Batteries are one of the big barriers. On the other hand, there are some bracelets and low-cost smartwatches that are not as accurate as we would like". With these words, Pedro refers to some measuring devices whose sensors do not have a sufficiently precise calibration, which leaves them less reliable. "We need, on the one hand, batteries that last more; On the other, sensors that measure more things and with more precision. Finally, they also need to prove their usefulness. They must bring more value than a mobile phone". In his words, until a wearable does not show that it brings new capabilities, it will not be very pervasive in the general public. This is not what is happening within the professional sector, where its use is being implemented quickly.
One of the wearables that more expectation has created in recent years are the HoloLens. These augmented reality glasses have a lot of potentials and are an example of what has been achieved. But also of what remains to mature. "Microsoft's HoloLens are incredible and allow us to access information with our hands and our voice". The main problem of this wearable is that it is not light enough for working tasks in limited spaces. "By the time we are able to miniaturize glasses, and we are closer than we think, and give a good price, these glasses will begin to reach the public, who will begin to know its great utility". For this to happen, according to expert estimations, there are still three or four years ahead, in the case of augmented or mixed reality. Otherwise, the industrial sector is already beginning to enjoy its advantages, which indicates that we are on the right track.
The wearables in an IoT world
"Wearables are Internet of Things, they are connected things", Pedro reaffirms. "The first layer of interaction with a human is a wearable device, which is in contact with the person's skin. There is already integration with wearable devices and cars, drones or houses. We, for example, participate in an Airbus project in which a drone is scanning the structure of the plane and the operator is seeing the image in their connected glasses. Then an instruction arrives at the glasses so that the operator goes to a point where there is an incident or something that has to be checked. In addition, associated with that incidence, the glasses provide a maintenance instruction". In this application, we find drones, glasses, a switchboard and an interconnected software. A set that could reduce the time of inspection of an airplane up to 30%, according to Pedro comments.
This is just a manifestation of the presence of wearables in a world connected to the Internet of Things. "It's not a single technology. Behind this is a Big Data system, Artificial Intelligence... there are many technologies that are converging to provide services. But with the advancement also the challenges arrive. One of the main concerns in the Internet of Things era is security. How are wearables affected? “To the wearables, you add the fact that they are touching your body and have a lot of intimate information about you. With a wearable, you can know how is the lifestyle of someone, more or less”. However, currently, almost all wearable devices are connected through the mobile. "How safe is a wearable device these days? As much as the mobile is", Pedro reaffirms his opinion. "It is true that security is a very important matter, but it is also true that both, hardware developers and software developers, are trying to implement all possible security measures".
Personal voice assistants are setting a trend. Some big companies like Apple, Google or Amazon are investing in the development of algorithms and an artificial intelligence capable of interacting more and more naturally with humans. The integration of this type of technology with wearables seems fundamental. "You have to differentiate two things," says the expert, "there are already devices with built-in voice assistants, although, in fact, they are integrated interfaces that use the mobile and are able to recognize orders more or less simple. And then there are the assistants with an artificial intelligence behind. These devices use voice as an interface".
A practical example described by Pedro is the wearbots, as he calls them. This concept translates into adapting the glasses or the device through artificial intelligence so that it will anticipate to the needs presented by the user. This artificial intelligence completely integrated into the glasses or other device is coming, but they are not here yet, although great milestones have been reached. And, as we see, IoT has participated in a fundamental way. And is that, without the opportunities that the Internet of Things brings, wearables would run into barriers very difficult to overcome.