Until recently there has been one topic on the agenda of every Wearable Technology conference on the planet: the search for the “Killer Application in Wearable Electronics”.
It appears this question has been partially answered for now with the emergence of Fitness Bands, Fitness Tracker and Smart Watches. These products generated a great amount of awareness for Wearable Technology which has been a nice topic only a few years ago.
Fitness tracking on wrist worn devices became the poster product for Wearables and finally generated beside the hype also some profitable business.
Wrist worn Fitness Bands and Smart Watches came into being because another device in our pockets got smarter and more technologically powerful: the Smart Phone. Without a smart phone connection, Fitness Bands and Smart Watches would not exist.
These devices need access to Smart Phones to process, analyze and visualize the sensor data in activity trackers and watches.
A few years ago something similar happened with the emergence of the iPod. Because of the high number of iPods in the market it made sense at that time to integrate iPod controls in clothing and bags, enabling a first small step for wearable technology to pop up in the market.
Once the iPod got replaced with Smart Phones (yeah Apple iPhone was the first again) it took not long until smart people realized a new opportunity for Wearable Technology products.
The amazing advance in miniaturization of electronic components and innovation in low power chips played also a BIG role in squeezing technology on our wrist.
Interesting to note: todays hot Wearable Technology products, Wrist worn bands and smart watches, use the same body location the oldest Wearable Technology I can think off has used successfully hundreds of years: the Wrist Watch.
Wrist Watches have been around as early as the 17th Century, first for privileged Queens and then adopted by the military at the end of the nineteenth century when Wearable Technology = Wrist Watches gave the advantage of synchronizing movements and attacks during war more precisely.
Over generations, the wrist has been excepted as being a carrier for life enhancing Technology.
This is the reason why Fitness and Activity tracking bands and smart watches have been accepted as socially acceptable right from the first introduction of smart, activity recording wrist bands.
I am hopeful and convinced there are more meaningful technology integration around our body and into our lives – we just haven’t found them yet. Maybe instead of trying to look into the future we should first have a look back into our past. Maybe this will lead us to the next Wearable Technology killer application for the present.