Is it a watch? Is it a heart rate monitor? Actually, it's both – and it’s set to be strapped on a wrist near you soon.
In the USA last year, nearly 40 million adults were wearing tech devices, including smart watches and fitness trackers. This was an increase of over 50 per cent from the year before.
The trend is showing no signs of slowing with experts predicting over 80 million people will be wearing fitness tech bands or watches within the next few years.
The boom has been fast-coming, says iFit Business Manager, Darren Chan. “Technology in fitness has been prevalent the past five to six years, but exploded particularly in wearable tech about three years ago, in line with the 'athleisure' trend,” he notes.
What is Wearable Tech?
There are at least three different aspects of the wearable tech market: workout devices, smartwatches, and lifestyle trackers. Workout devices (such as heart rate straps or GPS watches for running) and smartwatches tend to be larger, with detailed displays for notifications or tracking workout progress. The third category - lifestyle trackers - is where products such as Jawbone fit in. Brands claim the key here is 24/7 wearability, as the product is slimline, can be worn to bed and incorporates world-class technology that keeps track of activities, sleep patterns, and food logging all within a bracelet-like band.
So what is the future of wearable tech trends?
They Will Help You Sleep Better:
Wearable tech is becoming as much about improving your stillness, as it is your movement. Wellness elements, including technology around sleeping, is set to be a key focus for wearables. Although most trackers today record sleeping time-frames, in future designs will record metrics on REM sleep and heart rate during rest.
They Will Teach You New Fitness Tricks:
“Education and information on their key health metrics can be so useful to an exercise newbie,” explains Darren. “For people just getting on the fitness track, awareness of the importance of their activity, what they consume and sleep is critical to understand how they can improve their health. Being able to easily and accessibly monitor this allows the individual to be so much more conscious of their lifestyle habits.”
They Will Make You Stand To Attention:
Our sedentary lifestyles are being blamed for many things, from poor posture to obesity. So, wearable tech will do it’s best to end sitting for too long. The Apple Watch vibrates if you’ve been sitting for almost an hour to remind you to get up and move, or, at least, shake it out. Garmin also has a similar feature, and many more brands are following suit.
They Will Turn Traditional Timepieces on Their Head:
Recently a new category of classic watches called ‘connected timepieces’ have been ticking their way onto the market. Timex and Guess have both come into the wearable tech game by adding some technology to their classic designs, such as the option to receive smartphone notifications or even track physical activity.
They Will Be the Watch To Watch:
Even if fitness is far from your list of priorities, fashion may not be, so look out for some seriously exciting wearable tech options coming from the world's biggest style instigators. Trailblazers such as 94-year-old style icon Iris Apfel's WiseWear piece - which features a distress signal to loved ones in times of danger - and Will.i.am joint effort with Gucci – are just some of the hottest wearable tech styles to snag soon!