TECH UP THOUGHTS BY MEG HATTON, TECH UP FOR WOMEN TEAM
As the wearable technology field has rapidly expanded in the past decade, brands have diversified their products from simple step tracker watches to smart eye-wear, foot-wear, head-wear, and more. Users can track their heartbeat, analyze sleep, and answer emails all from a fashion accessory, but how far are people willing to go to have this information, and how does this crossover of clothing and technology change healthcare?
In 2019, the global wearable technology market size was valued at 32.63 billion dollars, with a projected annual growth rate of 15.9% from 2020 to 2027. Especially with the COVID-19 pandemic increasing wearable tech use for the healthcare sector, consumers worldwide are rushing to track their health data and more. As this industry expands, it is interesting to note how quick, or not-so-quick, users are to buy into the trend.
It seems as though when it comes to monitoring one’s health, the benefits outweigh privacy and security concerns for consumers, and it is easy to see why. Emerging medical devices are expanding to perform more detailed tasks like track electrolyte loss through sweat detection, which can help athletes increase performance, enhance connections between doctors and their patients, and help users be tuned more in tune to their own body. As an increase in the prevalence of chronic diseases emerges, and there is more need for decreased hospital stays, wearable technology can help users stay on top of their own health data and allow them to connect with their healthcare provider outside of a traditional hospital setting. The potential for healthier living and peace of mind, for consumers, seems to outweigh concerns they may have.
In a survey of over 100 people at their annual PA innovation event – PA consulting firm found that 90% of those surveyed responded yes to whether they would be comfortable having a microchip in their own body for health reasons. Yet, when surveyed about smart glasses, and whether they would be comfortable being in a business meeting with someone wearing smart eye-wear, almost 60% of respondents said no. The difference in willingness to adopt wearable tech for health reasons and non-health reasons is evident, and there definitely exists a fine line that consumers draw when it comes to these new innovations. Especially with eye-wear, many are quick to raise questions over privacy, especially if the technology could allow for camera lenses.
The wearable tech industry is clearly booming, and consumers are increasingly swayed by these tech accessories for their ability to provide important health data. The new technology available can promote healthier living and allow patients to connect with doctors with ease remotely. However, it will definitely take some time before the world adopts these innovations in full, and building consumer trust will be an important step for companies looking to advance wearable technology.