Wearable technology and the internet of things

Wearable Technology” and “The Internet of Things” are two related ideas promising to become big trends in the next few years. Wearable technology means mini-computers embedded into things we wear like glasses or watches, while the internet of things is simply the idea of connecting everyday items like your fridge, heating or home security system to the internet. The data that these devices collect can be sent off via the internet to be processed on a computer somewhere else, and a user could access settings, analysis or results via a smartphone app or a webpage.

Three key things have paved the way for these new technologies: the shrinking size of sensors and chips mean that very small devices can be built and incorporated into everyday objects, cloud computing provides an easy way to process data in a remote location, and the recent switch to a new standard in allocating IP addresses means that many more devices can connect to the internet (we were about to run out of IP addresses with the old standard).

The why you might want to connect your glasses or your security system to the internet is still largely unanswered. Expect to see many examples of connected objects in the next year that leave you wondering what’s the point. Both wearable tech and the internet of things are only going to be successful if the technology actually does something useful, rather than just being smart for the sake of it. A watch that’s essentially a small computer strapped to your wrist probably isn’t going to be any more useful than a smartphone in your pocket. But a smarter version of a watch that, say, discreetly alerts you to the time when you have an upcoming meeting to get to, and warns you about traffic on the way? That’s far more useful than a smartphone blinking away unseen!

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