The Herman Trend Alert
February 10, 2016
The Future of Wearables
The Wearable Technology industry is growing quickly. These companies face new risks for which they must prepare. Their awareness of these threats and creation of protective strategies can help them focus on growth opportunities.
How Does Wearable Technology Work?
Wearable gear in the form of watches, eyeglasses, and more, integrates the form and function of multiple devices. Most of these work in a similar manner. Multiple sensors capture changes in position, temperature, etc. and translate them into data. "Then, microprocessors extract, transform, and load data to a transmittable format. Finally, transmitters wirelessly send data to cloud storage for further processing and reporting."
A Variety of Applications
Driven by the healthcare industry, the corporate sector, and consumer demand, the wide array and number of applications ranging from health and fitness monitoring to employee monitoring and safety will increase very quickly. According to PwC, over 80 percent of consumers believe that an important benefit of wearable technology is its potential to make healthcare more convenient. Moreover, 68 percent said in exchange for lower health insurance costs, they would be willing to wear employer-provided wearables that streamed anonymous data to an information pool.*
What Are the Risks?
There are three main categories of risks the wearable tech companies face:
1. Cyber risks. The data transmitted via wearables must be properly secured; otherwise, companies are at risk of class action lawsuits, costly fines, and injury to their reputation.
2. Bodily injury risks. Malfunctioning devices can cause injuries, illnesses, and even death to wearers or patients. Manufacturers of defective devices may even face product liability lawsuits.
3. Technology errors and omissions risks. Companies can be held liable for economic losses from the failure of their devices to work as intended.
What Consumers Must Do
Make sure that any wearable device you wear already has a good track record. Keep your own information protected by using strong passwords and changing them regularly.
The Future for Wearables
The future for wearables is very rosy. The potential to help people get and stay healthy using wearables is huge. The other opportunity is for monitoring people with long-term chronic diseases, so that they may be medicated appropriately. We have only begun to see the power of wearables.
* PricewaterhouseCoopers LLP. (2014). Consumer Intelligence Series: The Wearable Future. Retrieved from http://www.pwc.com/us/en/industry/entertainment-media/publications/consumer-intelligence-series/wearable-technology.jhtml.
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