The effects of things we put into our body are no longer a mystery of the universe. Through years of complex studies, we know that not everything that tastes good is good for you! We have countless ways to track caloric intake and calories burned. Possibly the most trending today are wearable health trackers. Even more so, we have miniature phones in the form of watches, and televisions in the form of goggles we wear on our heads. But are wearables a timeless tech or fashion fad?

WHICH FITNESS TRACKER IS WHICH?

Wearable trackers come in all shapes, sizes, and ways to wear. Nike broke onto the scene with Nike+ many years ago with a device that could slide into the sole of your shoe. Next, an iPod could adjust its music to the rhythm of the feet and track walking and running steps. This idea evolved. We weren’t content with just a pedometer anymore. Nike said there was more to fitness with their Nike+ devices. Today, we see many kinds of wearables that track our health and each one has its pros and cons. Pricing varies from a simple FitBit One that costs less than $50 all the way to the $10k+ Apple Watch Edition. Regardless of your budget, weight class, or fashion sense, the wearable world of technology has something for you. And every piece has something to say about you. Everyone knows the adage, “The first step to solving the problem, is recognizing there is a problem in the first place.” Wearable technology such as FitBit has taken the market by storm. It commands 21% of the market share. Fitness tracking devices provide physical activity metrics and their effects on our body. Many of the products that track health and fitness have convenient apps and web portals that put our health into something visible (and not just our growing waistline). These apps and web portals grant an ability to input our diet data (or lack thereof) to see if we are burning off that cheat-day brownie. Moreover, the technology is taking a turn to be wearable in all facets of our lives. The FitBit Charge is water resistant. Companies realize that everyday people aren’t running flawlessly on a track with little to no sweat. Wearable products are being adapted to our needs. Chances are there’s one out there for you. Regardless of your fitness level, if you are like me, you want to be healthy(er) and see how you can do it. Knowing is half the battle. FitBit, Jawbone, Nike, and Apple are just some of the companies that have a product with unique algorithms to help us quantify our efforts to become more fit. As far as the world of wearables goes, fitness trackers are a practical way to augment daily life with the convenience of technology. Fitness trackers have been around for some time. The fact that they’re wearable and fashionable has increased their appeal. FitBit, Jawbone, and Nike have maintained the market presence so far. The Apple Watch’s price point seems to have it on a short shelf life compared to other fitness trackers, but Watch is so much more… and maybe that’s the problem.

WHERE VR FALLS WITH WEARABLES 

Wearable technology doesn’t end with health and fitness. It goes on to so much more. With the recent addition of Virtual Reality (VR), wearable tech has begun to spark interest over again. Google Glass and other VR headset technology haven't quite taken off like some hoped it would. A recent article called wearable tech a “fad.” The same article in Newsweek suggests that Google Glass failure was a major foreshadowing for the future of wearable technology. Arguments exist on both sides of the aisle, but many industry professionals agree that this modern technology’s future is at a tipping point that will be decided soon. Intel took the week of March 14 to showcase what it hopes to be the future of virtual reality in the gaming world. To be sure, virtual technology has a place in many industries, but it’s yet to be determined how well wearable VR will fair. Samsung has been fighting the tipping point with their new Samsung Gear. Samsung’s new headset is meant to go hand in hand with their new line of Galaxy smartphones. To be sure, it’s a neat gimmick.

BUSINESS VS. CONSUMER 

The tech world has seen a lot of changes in the past 20 years. A recent post on social media describes the 90s babies as more nostalgic than most generations because of the technology gap between their childhood and adulthood. We’ve seen technology become popular almost overnight. The same technology fails just as quick. Business does not keep up with consumer technology. Organizations still use tape backups while consumers are close to 100% cloud based. Wearable technology is another consumer technology that is going to move on without business. By the time businesses accept current wearable technology as useful, we as consumers will have moved on. It seems safe to say (as far as the business world goes), most wearable technology is a fashion fad that business professionals use to improve their professional image. It’s not likely Apple Watch wearers or Samsung Gear users could articulate how their shiny new objects will enhance their workday. In the consumer world, wearables have a shot, especially the health trackers which have already established themselves. In the business community, wearable tech just doesn’t hold a candle to the flame of other productive technologies.

TRAVIS HESSON

Consultant | AfidenceIT