To Infinity and Beyond: The Future of Wearable Wellness Technology

09.26.2017

You don’t have to hang out with Captain Kirk on the Starship Enterprise to appreciate the value new technology can bring to the table, especially when it comes to wellness. And now that the latest generation of wearables is beginning to emerge, what was once regarded as a curiosity or passing fad has quickly become recognized as one of the hottest trends in wellness.

Wearables are here to stay. And with Apple’s recent announcement of the series 3 Apple Watch, Samsung’s upcoming fitness-focused Gear Sport and Gear Fit2 Pro, as well as the reveal of the Fitbit Ionic, one thing is crystal clear: the next generation of wearable wellness technology is just around the corner. 

So, what can we expect from this new wave of wellness wearables (besides inevitable hefty price tags)? The recent announcements give us our first clues.

Style and Comfort: Gone are the days of wearing a giant clunky device on your wrist, or looking like a cyborg during your workouts. The new upcoming devices sport smaller, sleeker looks that are meant to be worn in style. A variety of color options is also becoming the standard rather than the exception. Apple’s recent partnership with Nike further demonstrates their commitment to style by offering a wide range of different bands that can accessorize any fashion choice.

Connectivity: Currently, many devices sport integrations with smartphones and apps; however, the latest batch of wearables appear to be ditching the phone in favor of online connectivity. Apple’s upcoming Watch OS release, for example, is expected to bring Siri and LTE connectivity, enabling high-speed wireless communication. That means you’ll be able to make phone calls from your watch just like Dick Tracy. This has exciting implications for those who prefer to keep their phone in their pocket during workouts.

Breadth and Scalability: A recent report from International Data Corporation noted a slight decline in basic wearables—those that do not run third-party apps—for the first time this year. On the other hand, smartwatches—which offer multiple functions—experienced growth of 60.9 percent during the same timeframe. You don’t need to be Nostradamus to predict that the trend will continue. Indeed, the latest batch of smartwatches will help you do practically anything, from making payments to tracking activity, monitoring sleep habits, checking calories, and more. Oh yeah, they’ll be able to tell time too. 

Segmentation: While the next generation of smartwatches attempts to basically be the only device you ever need to wear on your wrist, there are many other opportunities for diverse and targeted wellness wearables. Samsung’s Gear IconX wireless headphones can track activity and store music without connecting to a phone. The Coros™ LINX Smart Helmet for cyclists lets you take calls, hear navigation data, and track ride data with ease. And a host of innovative sensors from Zepp can be attached to sports instruments like tennis rackets, golf clubs, baseball bats, and footballs to provide in-depth performance data. Take that smartwatches!

Of course, no amount of technology is going to slap your wrist when you reach for that Butterfinger, or get up and do the hard work for you. Regardless of which new innovations hit the marketplace, it’s up to you to leverage the benefits they offer and make the most of what is available to you.

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