Blog skyhook logo Three Factors to Balance in Wearable Devices

Jun 9, 2020 10:20:49 AM

Three Factors to Balance in Wearable Devices

Posted by Grace Bettinson

Read All Posts

The wearable technology industry has come a long way over the past few years, and according to Market Watch, the industry is expected to be valued at over 74 billion USD by 2025. Some popular versions of this technology include fitness trackers that track sleep quality alongside movement, smart watches that encompass everything a smart phone does, and wearable cameras. With the introduction of IoT, wearable devices are increasingly expected to perform more functions, last longer, and provide higher quality service. With a plethora of options available to consumers these days, it can be hard to identify which product is the best choice. We’ve named three factors that are important in a wearable device:

  1. Accurate and Precise Location 
  2. Battery Life
  3. Product Design

Accurate and Precise Location 

Location positioning has become an expected and necessary part of wearable devices. Location provides useful information to consumers, such as local weather reports, area news alerts, and other personalized and localized information relevant to their surrounding areas. Fitness trackers depend on location to calculate distances traveled, and precise location helps lost devices to be found. Location can aid in finding lost pets for users of pet tracking collars, send alerts if your child has left a designated area for users of child watches and phones, or if a loved one is in need of emergency services for users of mPERS devices
For example, Republic Wireless’s Relay device is a screen-free alternative for children’s phones that allows for easy communication through the push of a button. Parents are able to identify their child's location both indoors and outdoors without the signal dropping, providing parents with peace of mind. This is possible due to the Relay device using a hybrid positioning system.Relay_Republic_Wireless
Its important that wearable devices provide the precise location, no matter what type of environment the device is in. Hybrid location complements GPS capabilities with other forms of tracking like Wi-Fi positioning, cell tower, IP, and device sensor data. While GPS positioning alone works well for cars, or for devices that are constantly within sight of satellites, it struggles to provide a clear connection when devices are inside, pass through a tunnel, or are in other challenging environments. By using hybrid location, wearables can retrieve location, like mobile phones, by scanning nearby Wi-Fi networks. This allows for accurate location without the battery drain from constant scanning.

Battery Life 

A reliable wearable will require a longer lasting battery to improve a user’s experience, performance, and portability without the need to constantly be plugged in. Long lasting battery life is one of the biggest challenges for wearable technology. As society increasingly depends on these smart technologies to function as our wallets, alarm clocks, social hubs, news outlets, and more, battery life is incredibly important. As wearable technology continues to evolve, devices now have a larger display screen that provide a more interactive user experience. But, these devices typically have a faster battery drain due to more notifications and usage.  For example, the Garmin watch has various designs including some with AMOLED screens, which is the same type of display used on smartphones. While this will emulate a mobile phone, a user will have to charge it as frequently as a mobile phone. Screen free options are the best choice for users that would prefer the longest lasting battery life.
Wearable devices that utilize Bluetooth to communicate with mobile devices often have a longer battery life than other alternatives. Bluetooth allows the transferring of data, such as notifications and reminders, phone calls, messages, and more from the mobile phone to the wearable device. By wearable companies utilizing Bluetooth, it allows for the device to be smaller without the need to accommodate a large battery. 

Product Design 

Design is a leading factor in the decision-making process for wearable devices because these devices connect to a user’s identity. If a wearable has poor design and does not match its intended use case, this can prevent users from purchasing the design. For example, if users plan to participate in aquatic fitness activities such as swimming or waterpolo, it is important that they choose a fitness tracker with a waterproof protected design. Further, some wearables utilize vibrations to signal alerts such as reminders to meet your step goals, low battery, incoming messages, phone calls and calendar reminders. This will allow users who are in the middle of exercising to be aware if they are receiving an important message without the disruption of managing a smartphone device.

Key Takeaways 

Wearables are now a common part of daily life. Location capabilities, battery life, and product design are important factors to these devices, and researching them while choosing a device will lead to a confident purchase.
If you are interested in learning more about location and IoT, check out our solution sheet. 
New call-to-action