By 2020, the market for wearable Wi-Fi devices for healthcare, fitness, and productivity applications will grow from 2 billion USD to 41 billion USD, according to a report from Soreon Research. The ubiquity of smartphones connected to data networks provides opportunity for businesses not associated with the Internet of Things to enter the market and use IoT to improve the quality of their customers’ lives.
Individuals have become more in tune with themselves and with each other than ever before thanks to technology and digital tracking via wearable Wi-Fi devices connected to cellular phones. IoT can maximize a person’s exercise routines, monitor and regulate your sleep patterns, and detect serious health issues to even reduce emergency response times.
These devices have the same benefits of other IoT applications such as more accurate data collection, instant and secure record keeping, and providing historical data important to health-care diagnoses and fitness routines. The benefit of being worn by an individual consumer allows for personal insight and control over one’s health as never before.
An Exercise in Wi-Fi Wearables
The majority of wearable Wi-Fi devices on the market today are fitness-related such as the FitBit, a pedometer that automatically logs your steps and speed to provide feedback on your progress such as calories burned and distance walked. These types of devices allow people to tailor their daily activities and exercise routines to their current abilities and use real-time feedback to establish health goals. A runner training for a marathon may wear a Wi-Fi enabled wristband to gain the most accurate information possible to be certain that they’re meeting their goals and making progress in their runs. Wearables keep track of data so users can focus on the path ahead.
Most fitness-related wearables are strapped to a part of the body such as the wrist or bicep — or they’re attached to a piece of clothing — but some new and exciting wearables are being developed. For example, Hexoskin is a company that creates shirts that can track heart rate, breathing rate, activity, and sleep via sensors woven into the very fabric of the garment.
A Prescription for Wearables
Unlike a simple pedometer, healthcare wearables offer the promise diagnosing or treating specific medical conditions, and, as such these types of technology must be approved by the Food and Drug Administration in the United States. Not only are healthcare wearables becoming more common, FDA approval has the benefit of legitimizing healthcare wearables to consumers.
Healthcare wearables can come in various forms such as wristbands, monitors, and even glasses. They are able to monitor heartbeats, blood sugar levels, and other variables related to serious diseases. The beauty of healthcare wearables is their innovative nature: they will be able to cut healthcare costs by allowing patients to be monitored from the comfort of homes eliminating the costs associated with hospital stays in certain circumstances. It also allows assisted living homes to more closely monitor residents with serious health conditions, lessening response time in case of health emergencies.
A common type of healthcare wearable is IoT-connected heart monitors. These devices can give those with relatives or friends with health conditions peace of mind knowing that their loved ones will get the care they need promptly should any complications occur. Those afflicted can also have the confidence that, if a health emergency arises, doctors or family members will be alerted to help.
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