Where Wearable Tech Is Headed in the Next 5 Years

By Staff Writer Published on July 14, 2017

As far as wearables go, we’ve come a long way from the calculator watch1—most wearable tech these days is much smarter than a TI-85. That said, there’s still some debate over whether smart watches and shoes that count your steps are what customers really want. So with some of the biggest names2 electing not to produce new smartwatches in 2017, where is the market headed? Will it peter out, or will emerging technologies spur it on to new life?

As someone interested in a career in programming or IT, here’s what you can expect from wearable tech in the next five years.

Fitness and Health

What started out as simple pedometers has escalated to so much more. Today’s fitness trackers track steps, heart rate, and sleep patterns, and even calories burned throughout the day. But this is only scratching the surface of what wearables can do for the health and wellness of those who use them. Shirts, shorts, and shoes are all becoming part of the wearable tech industry, broadening the scope of what can be monitored using the technology. What’s more, medical professionals are using fitness trackers and other wearables to further promote the health of their patients.

Doctors are using3 wearables to collect health information about their patients and motivate them to increase their physical activity. What’s more, products like Google Glass are making medical procedures easier4 than ever before.

It’s only getting better from there: “Expect to have your smartwatch warn you about a stroke or heart attack, days in advance,” 5 for instance. With the emerging technology in the healthcare field, wearables are poised to revolutionize how patients are treated and cared for.

VR and MR

As mentioned above, Mixed Reality (MR) products like Google Glass and Microsoft HoloLens are changing how some industries do business. Everyone from surgeons in the OR to elevator repair technicians6 are using wearable, hands-free technology to help them be more effective and efficient at work.

These devices can overlay the real world with digital information and interfaces, giving professionals in almost any field access to resources they need in real time. They enable video calls with specialists, allowing those specialists to see and hear what the professional does, eliminating the need for them to visit in person. And this is all just the beginning.

Wearable tech like smartwatches might be part of the future of virtual reality (VR). One of the features that VR has been desperate to develop an effective solution for is interaction in a virtual space. With the proper spatial awareness built in, smartwatches could potentially fill that function, registering the movements of the user and enabling them to interact with their virtual environment. Done right, it could resolve VR’s conundrum once and for all.

Becoming Part of the Action

As someone interested in the future of technology, you have two options. You can watch the news, read the posts, and otherwise wait as the future unfolds. Or, you can be part of the industry that shapes it, helping to create the devices and software that turn yesterday into tomorrow.

Technology industries are booming in almost every aspect. Computers and electronic devices continue to proliferate, connecting nearly every aspect of our lives to the rest of the world.

Becoming part of the process means learning how it all works, and training yourself so that you have something to offer. With the proper skills and training, you can go from bystander to pioneer, and begin making an impact on the world. Who knows, maybe someday soon, people will be wearing your watch.