In 2018, 22% of American adults used a wearable device at least once per month. Over half of those ? around 56.7 million individuals ? used a smartwatch.
At the moment, smartwatches ? alongside fitness trackers ? continue to be the most popular type of wearables. Owners use it to help in their daily lives as well as in monitoring their health.
More than that, we believe wearables have a future in smart homes, too. Today, it already has some applications in that industry. But what else do IoT wearables have in store for us?
Keep on reading to learn what it is and how does it fit into the smart home ecosystem.
What Is a Wearable Device?
A wearable device is any device you wear on your body, from glasses to smartwatches.
Some argue that eyeglasses are a form of wearable technology. This implies that wearable technology has existed since the 13th century. We can argue the same for timepieces, too, when humans started wearing them.
However, by modern standards, wearable devices now pertain to electronic devices. It should possess a microchip and be able to connect to the internet to be wearable technology. Is it an IoT, though?
The Internet of Things refers to the interconnection of devices using the internet. In the simplest sense, a device that can connect to the internet is an IoT device. This can include cars, thermostats, security systems, and even vending machines.
We can thus consider a wearable device, by modern definition, an example of IoT.
What use do we have of IoT wearables and how can we integrate it into our smart homes?
Use of a Wearable Device
One of the most popular uses of wearable devices is fitness tracking. FitBit, for instance, allows users to track their activities throughout the day. This includes sleep, walking, running, exercising, and eating.
Some IoT wearables also act as an extension of smartphones, such as in the case of the Apple Watch. The latest models already have cellular functions. This allows them to connect to the internet independent of the iPhone.?
Apart from these, however, what other use can we make of them, specifically in the smart home scene?
Types of Wearable Technology
Before we figure out how IoT wearables are useful in smart homes, let?s first learn the types of wearable tech. This will let us see which ones you can use for smart homes.
1. Smartwatch and Fitness Trackers
The most common forms of wearable technology today are these two, such are our examples above.
Fitness trackers are more advanced than smartwatches when it comes to health features. However, they can?t influence smart home devices yet.
Smartwatches, on the other hand, can accommodate apps that can control such devices. Their functions may have limitations. Still, it isn’t unlike like the extensions of regular apps for smartphones.?
2. Smart Jewelry and Clothing
Smart jewelry can be a ring, necklace, bracelet, or other things we can classify as jewelry. The only difference is that it should have a “smart” function. At the moment, though, its functions are pretty basic.
Most of these can do what a fitness tracker and smartwatch can do but without the screen. The Motiv ring, for instance, is a tracker that can monitor your heart rate, count your steps, and so on. You can?t view your fitness data on it, though.
Smart jewelry can also have the function of notifying you when you receive an email, message, or a call. Like what you can expect, though, you can?t view the message or see who?s calling through it.
Smart clothing has sensors and wiring built into the fabric. This allows it to perform a variety of things. It can connect to your smartphone, for example, and do specific tasks when you touch the fabric a certain way.
Smart jewelry and clothing may have a part in the future of smart homes, but not today.
Head-mounted tech, like smart glasses, and implants are also examples of modern wearable technology. However, they haven?t found their way to smart homes yet. As we develop their functions, though, we may see them integrated into our smart home network soon.
How Does Iot Fit Into Smart Homes?
IoT devices are the backbone of smart homes. Smart home devices communicate with each other to act and provide better performance. They share usage data to better understand the homeowner?s preferences.
That said, a light you can switch on/off via your phone doesn?t quite capture the essence of a smart home. A true smart home consists of devices that can interpret data to understand your preferences and anticipate your needs. It should be able to respond to your dynamically changing actions.
How, then, do smart wearable devices fit into the description of a true smart home?
1. Create Automatic Processes
In the future, we?d like to think that combined with the tracking features of a wearable device, your home will be able to interpret your needs and adjust according to it on their own. If your watch says you?re a little cold, for example, your thermostat can adjust the temperature.?
Clothing with sensors will also be able to track our sleep. It can tell the alarm clock when to go off depending on what stage of sleep we?re in at the moment. In the future, it can also give you a buzz or a nudge to wake you up.
Smart home and wearable technology aren?t at that stage yet, but we?re getting there. Today, we can do similar things, like setting off a series of actions the moment we set foot at home.
This is possible today through the GPS function on your phone. It sends a signal to your smart home network when you?ve entered a perimeter, which you can set to be your home.
Your smart devices can then act according to that signal. When you get home, you can set your living room lights, TV, A/C, and others to turn on, for example.
2. Get Security Updates on Your Wearable
If you have a home security system, you can get real-time updates from it on your wearable. If it detects motion on your porch, for instance, it can send a notification right on your smartwatch. If possible, you may also view a live feed.
Some apps also allow you to control the view from the camera in some capacity. You can, for example, pan the camera or tilt it to get a different view.?
Remember, though, that with current technology, all this does is add a layer of convenience. It?s not meant to have full control over any smart security system at the moment.
3. Control Your Entertainment Devices
Want to keep the entertainment going without getting up to look for your remote control or phone? Wearables should be able to help you control your entertainment system.
You can, for example, control your home theater system with a tap and swipe. If you want to change the music, you can order it to do so using speech. If you want to change the music, you can order it to do so using speech.
You?ll need an app for that, though. You still have to download every app to make sure it?s connected to everything in your home.?
4. Adjust the Settings According to Your Preferences
Wearables should also allow you to adjust the settings of your smart home devices. It should be like what you can do with smartphones but with limits. We can already use it to control the thermostat, and light bulbs.
The Philips Hue smart lights, for instance, allow you to turn it on and off using your Apple Watch. You can also choose between its preset settings, like Movie Time. This means you don?t have to get your phone when you?re already in the perfect position to watch movies.
Using some apps, you should also be able to adjust the temperature and control the fans. In most cases, you only need to tap and swipe on your watch to do this.
Challenges of IoT Wearables
Smartphones are still the primary devices used for controlling a smart home. That?s because of the challenges wearables present in this arena.
1. Small Screen
The smaller screen of wearables makes them impractical for some tasks. As an extension of a smartphone, it can?t provide a good experience for paying for an online purchase using a credit card, for example. Shopping for clothes is more cumbersome than if you use your smartphone.
Similar complex tasks are often infeasible on wearables. Anything that will take more than one or two clicks can make them more of an inconvenience.
Smart homes are all about the convenience, so how can a small screen help?
For use in smart homes, homeowners may have to scroll through different categories to find the fixture or appliance they want to control. They may also have to scroll through lots of settings to find the exact function they?re looking for.
This is a huge user experience barrier that app developers also struggled with.
It also can?t access some parts of the smart home experience. Want to watch what your dog is up to in the other room? The small screen of a wearable device won?t allow you to. This also means you can?t access your security feed.
You can get notifications and choose its settings, but that?s about it. Some solutions are now helping users and app developers overcome some barriers, though.
Voice assistants, like Siri and Alexa, make it possible to access the usual commands. In that sense, wearables are useful because homeowners won?t need to shout if Alexa is far away, for example.
2. Connectivity with Other Devices
How your smart home device connects to the wearable device is also a cause of headache for owners. For the two devices to connect, share data, and influence each other, they must be operating with software compatible with both devices.
Different devices and apps may use incompatible technology that will make them useless. This is more evident in smartphones. Developers must configure an app for both Android and iOS for it to work on both operating systems.
It?s that simple for apps, but this becomes a problem for rival devices. Both may not have an incentive to build their device to work with a device from a rival company.
With that in mind, choosing a device also means buying into its network of devices. Your choices become limited to those only within that network.?
In some cases, you can make additional integrations to make one product work with another. However, the average homeowner can?t do it or won?t do it in favor of a product that?s readily available for use.
3. Security and Privacy Risks
Wearable devices have less secure encryption processes to keep incoming and outgoing data safe. Any adept hacker can ?drop by? and listen in on the data transferred between devices and the internet. It?s always connected, too, which heightens the risks involved.
There?s also no often no user authentication required to access data within it. It doesn?t have biometric security measures, like fingerprint and facial recognition software. These barriers, if present, would have offered better security.
If you lose it and it falls to the wrong hands, it?s easy to access everything you stored there. Even if it only has information about your smart home devices, people can still make use of that data. They can use it to get a good idea of your identity, habits, and more.?
Even if these risks are low, homeowners may not feel comfortable using them, still.
Keep Your Home Connected with IoT Wearables
IoT wearables are the future of smart homes as they allow you to control your devices anywhere. Once we figure out how to use them for automating processes, they?re going to make life easier for us, as well.
Keep your eyes peeled for the future of smart homes. Take a look at the current smart technology in Bill Gates?s house. Then, try to imagine what the future is going to be like as we move forward with new technologies.??