Business Unusual

Are 'wearables' a fad or will we all be wearing one within the decade?

The pocket-watch is probably a good starting point for wearable technology and the term "wearable" had a peak just after World War II before its current leap usually describing what is basically an updated watch.

The race may have only started a few years ago with the Kickstarter project for the [Pebble watch](https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Pebble</i>(watch) in 2012. But, with many new entrants, including big players like Apple and Google, you can bet there will be a big push to make these devices more powerful and cheaper. As far as an appetite to buy them; the Pebble watch set a new record for money raised on Kickstarter at the time.

But do you really need to spend thousands of rands for a watch with a one-day battery life to tell you the time and view an email? I don't think so.

The real value of the devices is not what they will be able to display, but in what they are able to detect. That story began in 2007 with the Fitbit, currently the most popular health tracker.

A perfect example occurred in September 2015 when a teenager who had recently bought an Apple Watch saw that his heart-rate remained high after sports practice. He went to hospital where they found he was facing organ failure which could have killed him. His father had originally thought the purchase a waste of money, but following the incident bought one for himself and his wife.

Sensors have improved to allow for the constant tracking of multiple health indicators from heart-rate, movement, temperature, sleep patterns, location, UV exposure and weather conditions.

When combined they provide an impressive picture of your life. That picture is of benefit to those wanting to keep fit and active, the elderly and the young, in fact it would be of value to anyone.

Store the data online where it can be processed and you have what is in effect a doctor monitoring you all the time.

Here is how they can help.

For the health conscious

Tracking exists for distance, speed, calorie consumption and heart-rate. The data is aggregated and provides feedback on progress and goals. Many allow the data to be shared to a community turning the exercise into competitive games.

The data might also be aggregated to monitor wider patterns like sleep recently reported using the Jawbone UP or fed to services like HealthKit or Microsoft Health Vault.

For the elderly

You can track movement, set medication reminders, get rapid emergency response and vital signs monitoring. The data can be shared with carers, children or medical staff.

For the young

There are options from when you are pregnant, for new-borns and children to track heart-rate, breathing and for older children a GPS-enabled-watch that allows you to track their whereabouts. This information will connect to the phones of the parents and in some cases pass the information to medical experts.

Your online medical record

The huge amount of data builds into a very comprehensive medical record, tracking weight, activity and a variety of medical indicators, when added with a medical health assessment it could watch for high risk early warnings for things like heart attacks.

Both HealthKit and Microsoft's Health Vault provide you with a safe online record that can then be shared with medical experts or even insurance companies.

If there is a fly in the ointment for the rise of wearables, it will be our own reluctance to admit that our lifestyles are probably our biggest health risk.

CapeTalk welcomes all comments that are constructive, contribute to discussions in a meaningful manner and take stories forward.

However, we will NOT condone the following:

  • Racism (including offensive comments based on ethnicity and nationality)
  • Sexism
  • Homophobia
  • Religious intolerance
  • Cyber bullying
  • Hate speech
  • Derogatory language
  • Comments inciting violence.

We ask that your comments remain relevant to the articles they appear on and do not include general banter or conversation as this dilutes the effectiveness of the comments section.

We strive to make the CapeTalk community a safe and welcoming space for all.

CapeTalk reserves the right to: 1) remove any comments that do not follow the above guidelines; and, 2) ban users who repeatedly infringe the rules.

Should you find any comments upsetting or offensive you can also flag them and we will assess it against our guidelines.

CapeTalk is constantly reviewing its comments policy in order to create an environment conducive to constructive conversations.

Read More
Great ideas, wrong time

Great ideas, wrong time

The iPhone, Ebay and Facebook, we all know these killer applications but what about their very similar predecessors that flopped.

The world of business is changing, here is what you need to know.

The world of business is changing, here is what you need to know.

Companies, institutions and principles, nothing is safe from the impact of the 4th industrial revolution.

What 30 years of data tells us about the past and future of the super wealthy

What 30 years of data tells us about the past and future of the super wealthy

Changes to the Forbes Rich List is like a financial history of the world, reflecting economic booms and busts.

Everything you need to know about the dark web, but were too afraid to ask

Everything you need to know about the dark web, but were too afraid to ask

The recent closure of two illegal online marketplaces selling contraband has put the dark web back in the spotlight.

The Alibaba Group does not see itself as a company but an economy

The Alibaba Group does not see itself as a company but an economy

Alibaba founder Jack Ma says the future is his biggest competitor and he wants young entrepreneurs to help him succeed.

If a minimum wage is a good idea, what about a maximum?

If a minimum wage is a good idea, what about a maximum?

Salary caps are not new, but wage gaps have never been this big, perhaps this is how could we address it.

Popular articles
CoCT 'Water Resilience Plan' to produce 500 million litres of water per day

CoCT 'Water Resilience Plan' to produce 500 million litres of water per day

City of Cape Town Mayor, Patricia de Lille held a media briefing to share the City’s 'Water Resilience Plan' on Thursday.

"I bumped into Anoj Singh and Eskom's Prish Govender at the Hyde Park Hotel"

"I bumped into Anoj Singh and Eskom's Prish Govender at the Hyde Park Hotel"

Sikhonathi Mantshantsha says surely as Anoj Singh is on suspension, he should not be talking to Eskom employees.

Journos walk out of Bathabile Dlamini's briefing after 2 hour wait

Journos walk out of Bathabile Dlamini's briefing after 2 hour wait

EWN's Gia Nicolaides says journalists walked out of the media briefing on social grants after waiting for hours for her to arrive.

Grace Mugabe used normal passport and can't enjoy diplomatic immunity

Grace Mugabe used normal passport and can't enjoy diplomatic immunity

Shadow Minister of International Relations says Mugabe's case should not be debated any further as she can't enjoy any privileges.

Snow turns parts of SA into winter wonderland

Snow turns parts of SA into winter wonderland

Parts of the Northern Cape, Eastern Cape and Western Cape are covered in snow as a strong cold front sweeps SA.

Grace Mugabe invokes diplomatic immunity as Zim-SA relations get tense

Grace Mugabe invokes diplomatic immunity as Zim-SA relations get tense

Grace is still in South Africa and her husband, Zimbabwean President Robert Mugabe, is due to land in the country this afternoon.