Wearable m2m - The big trend around the corner

Published by Telefónica IoT Team Smart Retail

Beyond the one-time impact Google Glass or the new smartwatch models will have this year, their introduction to the market has revealed one of the most interesting trends regarding our approach to technology.

It is no longer a case of which devices we use individually, but rather how each of these devices accesses and interacts with information, with other devices and with us. And that is where m2m technology plays a key role.

After all, a smartwatch, for example, is not truly an autonomous device: it interacts with smartphones and tablets, and requires connectivity in order to be used to its fullest potential.

Analyst Jeff Kagan explained it on CNN: “The smartwatch will be your remote control for your smartphone. And your smartphone will be your remote control for your life”.

In this regard, it is forecast that ‘wearable technology’ –the small devices designed to be used under, on top of or integrated with clothing, or as accessories on the body– will be one of the most important trends in the coming years.

By 2016, Gartner estimates that the wearable smart electronics industry will reach US$ 10 billion, fulfilling the desire to be constantly connected, but now –finally– with devices that are more easily incorporated into our daily lives.

Daily use objects are being ‘digitalized’ through ‘sensor-ization’: the incorporation of sensors within their design, allowing the objects themselves to record, store and transmit information.

The evolution that m2m technology is enabling creates the ability to tell those sensors what to do, so that objects also react according to the analysed data. With sensor-ization, surfboards and bicycles, as well as textiles, toys and countless common objects are becoming ‘smart’.

m2m fitness and health

People’s growing interest in ‘auto tracking’, i.e. in recording and analysing their ‘performance’ for every aspect of life, is driving the adoption of health and fitness portable devices.

Applications for smartphones, smartwatches and other connected devices enable people to monitor all types of personal data, from physical activity levels, to moods, heart rates, blood pressure, sleep patterns and food intake.

Thus, bracelet devices, such as the Jowbone Up, the Fitbit or Nike + Fuel Band, have emerged. They capture and analyse biometric data with mobile connectivity and web synchronisation.

These wearable devices allow analysing the data and sharing information wirelessly with friends and challenge colleagues, based on the idea that competition among peers may serve as an incentive for fitness. However, the greatest potential for m2m technology is expected to occur in the field of remote patient monitoring.

According to ABI Research, by 2017, there will be nearly 170 million health and fitness wearable wireless devices worldwide on the market. More than half will be targeting health in particular and will be especially designed for the home and remote patient monitoring.

Telefónica IoT Team