The wearable fitness technology industry is growing at a rapid pace. It is estimated that by 2023 it will be a 100billion dollar industry. So, what do we mean when we say ‘wearable tech’? This basically means any piece of technology that we wear that can measure a certain metric or number of data points that track our health and fitness. The most common pieces of equipment that are currently popular are Fitbits, Apple Watch and Garmin watches just to name a few. The most common things they track are steps taken, heart race, distance ran or swum, and calories burned.
All advances in technology come with many benefits which are generally immediately obvious and lead to rapid growth in the uptake of the tech – however the downsides aren’t always as immediately apparent. In this post we will touch in the pros and cons of wearable technology as well as give you a list of what makes a good piece of wearable technology.
- Hands Free Experience: It allows users a hand free experience so that they can get data without looking at their phone or device.
- Convenient: The industry is creating products that are really well designed that are really functional and also very aesthetically pleasing.
- Personalised: As the technology continues to improve the user experience and data is becoming more and more personalised
- Accurate*: The technology is becoming far more accurate, especially amongst certain brands. This is great for serious athletes where accuracy in measurement is important.
- Motivating: Many people find the accountability of having a wearable device that sets a goal to be very motivating. It seems nowadays everyone is trying to hit 10,000 steps daily – this is certainly a by-product of having wearable tech giving users the real time knowledge of where they are at with their daily goal.
- Privacy: When you wear a piece of wearable tech you open yourself up to privacy issues regarding your data.
- Excessive Data Collection: This ties into privacy. The better that the technology becomes the more and more data they will be able to collect. Consumers just need to be mindful of what data they are willing to give away when wearing a piece of wearable tech. Things like location are important to be private about.
- Accuracy*: This is both a pro and a con because of the wide variance in accuracy across brands.
- Expense: You pay for what you get. Good wearable tech that ensures accuracy is expensive.
- Stressful: For every user that finds the accountability motivating there is a user who may become overly stressed or even neurotic about reaching arbitrary goals set by the wearable tech. Keep this in mind.
What Makes a Piece of Wearable Tech Any Good?
- Does it measure what you need to measure?
- Is it accurate?
- Does it provide appropriate feedback?
- Is it going to give you better information than what’s intuitive?
- Is it going to be motivating?
Before purchasing a piece of wearable tech consider the above questions and then make a purchasing decision. If you’re a person that just enjoys a jog around Centennial Park (around 6kms) then you don’t need a $1200 Garmin to tell you what you intuitively know. Alternatively, if you’re a serious runner and need to know appropriate pacing for a race coming up an entry level Fitbit won’t cut it when it comes to measuring your pace.
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