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Challenges and the future of wearable technology

There is no denying of the fact that wearable technology has quickly become a major contender in consumer electronics. Wearable technology has come out of nowhere in 2013 and every week there is a new consumer electronics company which announces the launch of a new wearable product. Technology giants predict the use of wearable technology will increase tenfold in the next five years. But what we haven’t touched upon are the potential downsides of the wearable technology market. Wearables are expected to revolutionize the consumer technology, but what are the hurdles that would impact the growth?

Wearable devices are the latest trend, with Samsung Galaxy Gear and Google Glass, there is great curiosity in the potential of the devices. It has been noted that the younger generation is keen on adapting the wearable devices in their day to day life, but the price range is a huge barrier for them. Nevertheless, every new announcement in the field of wearable devices opens up new questions of how the technology will impact the consumers and the markets. Social media websites give an immediate review of the product and put a pressure on the businesses and the companies manufacturing the devices. Wearable devices have the potential to make life easier but it also comes with various challenges for the companies and the consumers. 

Courtesy: Wearable Tech World

One of the biggest constraints in the wearable market is the design. Most consumers use normal wearable products that include watches, wristbands, glasses, jewelry, which reflects the fashion trend of the users. Smart wearable devices are focused on technology rather than design. Tech giants such as Samsung, Apple and Google are delivering wearables, the technology still has a long way to go. There is physical, design and cultural barriers that hold the wearable devices back. The mass is excited about the wearable devices, but not everyone wants them. Firstly, smart watches are bulky. They are focused on the technology aspect more than the wearable element. This means, aesthetic sacrifices are made for the achievement of high end functionality. The smart watches also end up with a poor battery life and a bulky frame, with the right technology, the designs need to become more attractive and go slimmer.

Considering the success of mainstream consumer electronics, design has always been crucial. No one wants to carry a huge laptop in their backpack or a smartphone that is bulky and unattractive. Wearable technology is much more than just carrying a device in your pocket. Smart watches are visible at all times, which is why they need to be slimmer and light in weight. It needs to be convenient for you to use and wear. Also, people are not interested in devices that are only looking nice. The wearable device needs to convince people that their product is worth putting on their face. This is the earliest phase of technology and this is where wearable device makers struggle with. It is difficult to understand what consumers are really looking for and because of the price aspect, there are limited buyers. Apart from being smart wristbands that can display the notifications from your phone to gathering health data, wearable devices need to ensure that they can do much more. The wearable devices need to show that they can help you achieve a lot more than you could earlier.

Similarly, smart wearable watches or eyewear may not reflect the fashion preferences of the user and could be running on processors that are bulkier than normal products. Another challenge is the high power consumption of the wearable devices. Since most wearable devices use wireless networks, GPS and other technologies that consume a lot of power, it becomes difficult for the battery to run for a longer period. Currently, the battery power of wearable devices lasts for one to two days and in case of constant usage, the battery lasts for less than a day. Hence, the high consumption of power and short battery life are reducing the usage and adoption which hampers the growth prospects of the market. 

Courtesy: EPS News

The high cost of manufacture of smart wearable devices is another challenge which is expected to curtail the growth of the market. Most manufacturers launch their products in the premium category and the price range is very high. Due to this, the mass adoption is low due to a lack of affordability. Wearable devices are small in size with a huge capacity to store data. The small size means high chances of the device being lost or misplaced. With a large amount of sensitive information, smart devices could cause a disruption for users. Further, wearable devices use the GPS navigation systems to receive information. This information shared by the users can be retrieved and used by advertisers as well. End users are concerned about their privacy due to this reason.

There are endless possibilities for wearable technology which is great for consumers, but also needs strict laws and high security to successfully operate. Wearable technology has been banned in casinos, some restaurants and movie theatres to ensure privacy and security of the guests. These challenges will impact the growth of wearable technology worldwide, but it will not stop the market from progressing. The wearable device market is still in its infancy and has a long way to go. As wearable tech developers launch the products into the world, there will be a few devices which will be met with more concerns than others but eventually, the products will improve and the constraints that we see now, may not be a problem in the future. The first generation of wearable devices has various limitations like the screen size, the battery life and the camera. Given the potential benefits and the constant innovation in technology, it is safe to say that wearable devices will be a part of the future. The big question here is will there be mass adoption or will it remain restricted as a niche application? This, only time will tell. 

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