Previously, we published detailed series on Internet of Things in the smart home. Wearable technology often also called fashionable technology or fashion electronics. Although today they are mostly electronic devices with micro-controllers which can be incorporated into clothing or worn on the body, wearable itself does not always have to be fitness tracker or smartwatches. Development of wearables dates back to the 1500s, 1600s to simplify life.
This series of article on Wearables and Internet of Things describes the connections between wearables and the Internet of Things. The two core topics have become more and more in the focus of IT in recent years and are getting more and more attention and importance. Gartner predicts a rapid development in the area of the Internet of Things. The future should make it possible for each device and in particular wearables, to be connected directly to the Internet and thus to collect and process much more information (data). From this technological progress completely new business ideas will emerge. In addition, it will be necessary to further expand the network infrastructure. Only by further investments in the network expansion can be handled with the resulting data volume. Currently, wearables are primarily represented as a fitness tracker and lifestyle product (eg smartwatch). In the future, new opportunities will also arise in the business sector, resulting in a new market for products. The combination of wearables and the Internet of Things is expected to grow strongly over the next few years. According to the McKinsey Global Institute (MGI), the potential is between $3.9 and $11.1 trillion by 2025.
The aim of this article is to show the functions and examples in the areas of health, trade, production, field service and lifestyle. The current market situation and market potentials are also taken into account. The topics IT security, data protection and legal and opportunities and risks will be explained comprehensively. Finally, a summary and an outlook on other possible topics that should be considered also will be discussed. First, we will discuss the basics of wearables and the Internet of Things. Next, the topics of data collection, transfer, and evaluation will be explained in general, regardless of specific areas of application. Afterwards, the general overview will be transferred to the application areas health, trade, production and logistics, field service and lifestyle. Furthermore, the evaluation follows with regard to IT security, data protection and the legal situation. Finally, the matter will be summarized and the gained knowledge will be summarized from the obtained information.
In this first part, only we will discuss the basics on wearables and draw conclusion for this part.
Brief Technical Discussion on Wearables
Wearables or wearable computing is derived from wearing on the body. Wearable analogous to clothing and intended to support the user in a context-dependent manner. The aim of the wearables is to expand the humanoid perception, in order to obtain information that is not or only vaguely detectable by conventional senses. The user’s attention and mobility, however, should not be affected. According to Steve Mann, pioneer in the field of wearables, a wearable must possess the following characteristics:
Attentive – It is attentive to the environment
Communicative – It can be used as a communication way
Unmonopolizing – The activity of the user must not be impaired
Unrestrictive – It must not attract the full attention of the user
Controllable – The user can always take control of the wearable
Observable – It is always there and can penetrate into the consciousness of the user if necessary
There are 2 further follow-up properties:
Constant – The wearable must have constant readiness, as it can only react when it is on
Personal – A wearable adapts to the human being, as each person fulfills different tasks
Wearables have 3 modes for human-computer interaction:
Constant – The wearable is “always ready” to interact with the user. Unlike a notebook, the wearable does not have to be turned on first. A continuous user interface is provided.
Extension, Overlay – Unlike a regular computer, a wearable does not attract all the attention. In a traditional computer, interaction with it is paramount. A wearable, on the other hand, should superimpose the user’s perception, not stress it completely.
Mediation – A combination of both modes gives the third mode. The wearable forms a layer around the user, allowing a new view of the environment. It allows to show and hide information.
The development of wearables dates back to the 1600’s and reflects a development of small things that are supposed to simplify life. The technological milestones of development are presented in the following section  .
1600 – The basic idea of wearables is the pocket watch developed in the 16th century, like mobile Abacus in the form of a ring
1800 – portable watch was made by the watchmaker Breguet
1960 – The first (computerized) wearable in the form of a computer was developed in 1961 as a packet of cigarettes. The wearable should be hidden in a shoe and help determine the final position in roulette.
1980 – Laptop computer based on a 6502 computer, where the display was a mounted on the helmet camera. Lead-acid batteries were used for the energy supply. Later, calculator watches became popular.
1989 to 1999 – In the form of Head-Mounted Display. These are glasses with a 720×280 pixel monochrome monitor.
2000 – Argument Reality started to emerge.
2015 – Intel released the Curie chip for wearable applications. The chip consists of a 32-bit processor with 384 kB memory and 80 kB SRAM.
Current Status: Wearables are currently seen as a technology trend. Different manufacturers from different industries are bringing new devices to the market in short periods. The most successful products are currently fitness trackers and smartwatches. These are used as the main area of application for fitness, sleep and health control. Laterwards we will go in to details of operating system such as Android Wear (now Wear OS), a modified version of the mobile operating system Android designed for the wearable.
Conclusion on Part I
Although the word “wearable” delivers a sense of “new”, the reallity of “new” depends on the time. Calculator watches no way smart in today’s era, Abuscus rings are either a fasion jewellary or a collectable. But the human tendency to gain since the ancient time remained the same with the word “wearable”. The technically important matter of this part is operating modes of wearables described by Steve Mann in 1998.