Wearable technology has had a big year.
Google Glass launched to the first wave of "Explorers" and Samsung's Galaxy Gear introduced smart watches to the masses. Wearables will only continue to grow in new markets and is expected to amass $50 billion in the next five years. With the New Year around the corner, here are three wearable tech trends to watch in 2014:
The "second wave" of wearables is coming.
Wearables are a "bleeding edge" technology. It's new and advanced, but not yet commonly accepted. A lot of technology goes through that cycle and consumers should keep that in mind before purchasing. In 2014 we're going to be greeted by a whole new array of wearable products.
Early adopters or "first generation" purchases will be akin to the first people who bought the iPad. What they may have hoped the technology would be good for differed from what it actually proved to be. The next generation of wearable technology is quickly approaching in 2014 -- Google is already pushing out Glass 2 -- but expect to see new wearable devices like smart rings and embedded sensor shirts.
Wearable technology will soon be in your car.
The car is a significant form of heads-up display, the same functionality Google Glass serves. Our cars are a "captive" environment and we are perhaps in the best frame of mind to subtly receive information from our wearables when in them. For example, if a driver gets stressed, wearables should be able to pick up on it, notify the driver and offer to play soothing music.
Wearables can monitor for carbon monoxide levels for those stuck in long traffic jams and adjust the circulation in their car. Wearables can detect and work in conjunction with the car to enact countermeasures for drivers who experience sudden illness or attacks while behind the wheel. Automotive manufacturers have already begun to explore ways in which wearables can work in tandem with their vehicles -- the Nissan NISMO being a prime example. Expect more partnerships in the New Year that will improve driver experience and enhance the safety of everyone on the road.
Wearables will raise new privacy concerns in the New Year.
Most wearables will interact with the Internet in some manner of speaking and these interactions will be recorded. Wearable health devices can be synced to provide information about our lifestyles to doctors or insurance providers and navigation-based wearables could send data about our location through technologies like GPS sensors.
One of the big phrases of the moment is "The Internet of Things," where we as individuals are nodes in a connected network. There are a lot of implications associated with that phenomenon. Our data is going to be much more accessible on an intense and personal level.
We -- the consumers -- will have to decide how much privacy we are willing to trade for the convenience of wearable technology and this will need to be a conscious choice.