Wearable fitness trackers: Forecasting future trends
The market for wearable fitness trackers has blown up in recent years, and industry experts believe this trend will only continue to rise. According to Forbes, one in six consumers currently own and use wearable tech, and growth in the wearables market is expected to increase by 35 percent by 2019. Wearables make it possible to track a wide range of biometrics, and this has earned the favor of consumers seeking technology that can improve their fitness and overall health.
Much evolution remains for these technologies, and industry leaders are constantly churning out new products and features that come closer to realizing the potential of fitness wearables. In 2017 and the near future, there are a number of innovations consumers should be anticipating, all of which will make wearables even more indispensable — and possibly even save lives.
Improved form and function
Today’s most common fitness wearables are worn on the wrist. This is likely to remain a popular form, but others are sure to emerge. As Wareable noted, evolving wearable designs will mean smart technology will be built into other gear and apparel, such as running shoes, or hardwired into smart glasses that can provide a real-time readout of data on the glasses’ lens while the user is working out.
Wearables will continue to integrate advanced technologies to gather additional data and improve the reliability of this information. Light-monitoring cameras are examples of how this might work, using barely perceptible visual changes to detect biochemical fluctuations or other health-related insights. Improved battery life will continue to be a point of emphasis, through both the energy efficiency of the wearables themselves and enhanced designs and strides in battery technology.
According to TIME, leading wearable experts believe shoes will eventually harness the power of human movement. Next-generation athletic shoes could be equipped with technology to heat or cool feet as needed, with the energy for this activity driven by the user’s movement. These shoes could provide other valuable data, including information about weight loss, workout metrics, dehydration and other information related to movement and activity.
Enhanced biometric monitoring
New biometric monitoring capabilities will be crucial to the sustained success of today’s wearables. New data acquisition channels mean fitness can be evaluated through a broader range of information. One of the leading examples of this is hydration monitoring. Currently, wearables such as Fitbit allow you to manually track your hydration in a mobile app, but the wearables of the future will track your hydration by monitoring your blood and other indicators of hydration, notifying you when you need to drink more water.
Blood sugar monitoring is another new biometric with significant applications. The ability to monitor blood sugars through mobile technology would be a boon for those with diabetes and other individuals concerned with their blood sugar levels. Constant real-time feedback could provide a foundation for making dietary and lifestyle changes that better regulates these sugars and improves overall health.
There’s a growing trend in the professional sports world of using wearable devices to track all types of physical motion: acceleration, form, movement in space and even the coordination of your limbs. According to Impact @ Griffith Sciences, this trend will eventually make its way to amateur and leisure sports enthusiasts, who are interested in using these devices to improve their exercise and performance.
Early detection, powered by AI
Today’s wearable fitness trackers are very beneficial to anyone looking to improve their overall fitness, whether they are training for a marathon or just trying to get out of their office chair more often. However, future wearables will have a role in healthcare, too. As Gartner pointed out, artificial intelligence is being championed as a tool that can help turn fitness wearables into health-monitoring tools, with the capability of assisting in early detection of certain medical emergencies.
Whether someone is suffering from an irregular heartbeat, develops a fever or experiences a drop in blood pressure or blood sugar, healthcare experts hope wearables can take an active role in improving care for all device users while helping providers offer better support for these conditions.
The wearables market is in a state of constant change, but it’s clear this technology is only going to take a more central role in daily life.