What's next for Wearable Technology?

The Apple Watch is seen by some as the final destination for smart watches and wearable tech, but for most it's merely another step on the road. So what's next for wearable technology?

Fitness trackers have been around for years, starting with very clunky pedometers. This was long before wearable technology and the Internet of Things were everyday phrases.

Now technology has moved on significantly, but sales of fitness trackers have continued to increase alongside other types of wearable device.

Fitbit, one of the biggest manufacturers of fitness devices, recently made its debut on the New York Stock Exchange.

International Data says more than 11 million of the devices were sold in the first quarter of this year, triple sales from a year ago. Fitbit’s product sales doubled and revenue nearly tripled in 2014.

Source: Fitness trackers are hot, but do they really help? | The Seattle Times

The market for wearable technology is rapidly growing. IDTechEx predicted there will be three billion devices in use by 2025.

This means a huge amount of data needs to be collated and analysed. Wearable devices are also being used for other purposes, beyond health and keep fit.

Barclaycard recently started offering 'bPay' a contactless payment wristband.

It works in the same way as contactless card payments, but is available as a wristband, sticker or key fob to anyone with a UK-registered Visa or MasterCard debit or credit card - not just Barclaycard and Barclays bank customers. Customers will be able to use it at more than 300,000 locations across the UK.

People using the wristbands will be able to set them up by going to a website or using an app, where they can choose to top the devices up with set amounts of cash if they want to.Apart from the up-front cost of buying the devices, there are no transaction, usage or top-up fees for consumers, Barclaycard said. As with contactless cards, a £20 transaction limit will apply to the devices, even though the contactless transaction limit is increasing to £30 from September.

Source: Barclaycard offers 'bPay' wearable tech contactless payment solutions - E & T Magazine

Going beyond fitness and payments, Ōura, a start-up based in Finland, has developed a rather unique form of wearable tech, the world's first wellness ring.

Ōura launched the ring in March this year in San Francisco, at the Launch Festival, the world’s biggest start-up event.

Uniquely combining style and technology, Ōura ring measures how your body responds to your sleep, rest and active life. Analysing quality of sleep and daily physical activity combined with user input, Ōura gives personalized guidance on how to improve sleep, achieve balance and perform better in everyday life.

Source: Press Releases | Oura

The ring works in conjunction with an app which connects to a smart phone. By combining user feedback with behavioural data measured by the ring, it provides the owner with actionable insights to try and help them maintain a healthy life.

The Apple Watch might be getting the most media coverage because of the brand, but there are many interesting devices out there, going in unique directions, that are already years ahead with loyal followings of their own.

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