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Wearable technology, or Wearables, are “electronic technologies or computers that are incorporated into items of clothing and accessories which can comfortably be worn on the body.” [1] Wearables seek to bring technology closer to the human body and provide functions which traditional handheld devices, such as cell phones, cannot offer. These functions are diverse, ranging from collecting information from a user's surroundings to allowing electronic customization of fashion. Wearable technologies have the potential to create changes in a number of industries such as retail, healthcare, entertainment, and security. Wearables are also closely tied to the Internet of Things (IOT) concept, which refers to a “network of physical objects that contain embedded technology to communicate and sense or interact with their internal states or the external environment.”[2]



Wearable Technology has an extensive history, with its origins dating back to 1664. As wearable technology has evolved throughout time, its form, functionality, and applications have experienced a significant transformation.

  • 1664 - Abacus Ring: This 1.2cm long by 0.7cm wide ring is identified as being the first wearable technology to date.[3] Although its origin is yet to be discovered, its purpose of helping Qin Dynasty traders conduct quick calculations is known.[4] Alongside the development of this ring arose the idea that wearables can be used as tools.
  • 1908 - Pigeon Camera: Dr. Julius Neubronner patented a pigeon camera.[5] With a timed-delayed mechanism, this camera provided the German army with the idea of capturing aerial photographs behind enemy lines.[6] The invention of this wearable created the idea that wearables are not solely for humans.
  • 1995 - Roulette Shoe: Two MIT professors, Edward Thorp and Claude Shannon created the first wearable computer comprised of two parts.[6] An electronic piece was strapped around an individual’s waist and responded to taps of a shoe.[7] Created for its purpose in “cheating” the roulette game, this device raised first notions of wearable technology legality or privacy concerns.
  • 2002 - Nokia HDW-1: This Bluetooth headset was the product of Nokia’s first wireless headset concept.[6] Although this product was discontinued prior to mass production, this technology served as the platform for future Bluetooth audio, use cases, and user experience.[6]
  • 2006 - Nike+iPod: A collaborative effort between Nike and Apple began the movement of of activity tracking wearables. A device within a shoe accompanied by an iPod provided the user with fitness-specific information including calories burned, distance walked, and activity duration.[8]
  • 2012 - Google Glass: Sharing a form similar to eyeglasses, this wearable enables users to capture images, record videos, deliver search results, and teleconference through an optical head-mounted display.[9] Not only is this device compatible with Android and iOS-mobile devices, other features include Bluetooth and Wi-Fi connectivity.[6] Production of this device further magnified wearable privacy concerns, as individuals criticized this device’s ability to record non-consenting individuals.[6]

Diffusion of Innovation

If viewed from the perspective of the Diffusion of Innovation model, wearables are approximately between the “innovators” and “early adopters” stages. Commercial availability for wearable technology is rising among early adopters in fashion, technology, and other industries.[10] Wearables are also increasingly adopting a problem solving approach rather than relying on the miniaturization of existing technologies. For example, many early smartwatches are simply miniaturized smart phone technology, whereas many contemporary wearable technologies incorporate specialized and standalone sensors. User acceptance of wearables technologies is relatively positive, though some social boundaries exist due to privacy concerns, such as with Google Glass. Social boundaries present a large challenge for wearable technologies, as users are wary recording in private settings or other malicious uses.[11]

The Wearable Market 2015

As of 2014, the wearables market size is estimated to be $9.2 billion worldwide. The size of this market is mostly driven by the consumer electronics sector, accounting for 65% ($6 billion) while the non-consumer sector accounts for 35% ($3.2 billion) of the market. The largest categories in the consumer sector includes: general consumer wearables - $2.5 billion (42%), fitness & sport wearables - $2.4 billion (40%), gaming & recreational - $623 million (10%). The non-consumer sector includes: healthcare - $1.1 billion (34%), defense & security $1.0 billion (31%), enterprise & industry $1.1 billion (34%).[12] For additional details, refer to diagram MaRS Market Insights.

Wearables in Industry

Wearables are diffusing into a number of industries. According to the MaRS Market Insights Report, “Fitness and Sports” and “Fashion” are two of the largest industries in the consumer market. In the non-consumer market, “Healthcare” and “Defense and Security” are two of the largest industries.[12] Given the size of these markets, and the growth of the market in the future, the effect of wearables on these markets will be unpacked in more detail.


The fashion industry is often overlooked in the conversation of wearable technology. While fashion is required for aesthetic purposes in designing and implementing wearables, it has important functions that contribute to the adoption of wearable technology. The main function of fashion in wearable technologies are added and improved functionality through smart fabrics, increased adoption due to problem solving features, and also social acceptance. These functions in unison allow wearable technologies to potentially defeat the “turnaround test”.

Smart Jewelry

Smart or wearable jewelry, are any wearable technologies in the form of jewelry such as rings, necklaces, or bracelets. Smart jewelry has been noted to increase adoption with users who are unwilling to use technologies considered clunky or otherwise unfashionable. Smart jewelry also addresses many objections to wearable technology by introducing key features. For example, the “Kerv” Ring allows users to unlock doors, make contact-less payments, or even share contact information with friends. [1] Features which address key problems in user’s lives have a higher chance at adoption. Many other examples of smart jewelry have been introduced to market, while most are relatively simple mobile phone accessories.[2]

Shopping and Payments

Interest and use of wearable technologies is growing in retail and shopping spaces from both customers and corporations. With the introduction of simple NFC or RFID “tap to pay” systems, users are not limited to smartphones but can use smartwatches or products such as the Kerv ring to make or receive payments.

A key issue with these innovative payment systems remains merchant adoption, as various firms such as Apple Pay, Google Wallet, or Samsung Pay continue to compete for dominance. Additionally, while concept products have been released such as the Kerv, there has not been any commercial product with a sizeable customer base in the wearable space.


Cutecircuit is one of many recent examples of wearable being used in fashion, which also incorporates smart fabrics in its’ designs. It is an Italian fashion startup which has “introduced many ground-breaking ideas to the fashion world by integrating new beauty and functionality through the use of smart textiles and micro-electronics”.[3] While many of CuteCircuit’s designs are primarily for aesthetic or artistic purposes; e.g. the “Galaxy Dress” which mainly changes color, some designs such as the “Hug Shirt” allow emotional connections across the globe. Aesthetics should not be ignored however, as fashion and the high pricetag it often brings, can allow market sizes and industries to grow.[4] Higher pricetags allow for a premium market which can be lucrative from a business perspective, but also work against the accessibility and ubiquity of wearables technologies in developing countries.[5]

Smart Fabrics

Smart Fabrics or E-textiles are a unique new type of wearable technology in which fabrics are incorporated with electronic circuitry, or the fabrics themselves have integrated circuits. Project Jacquard is a Google initiative which experiments with the use of smart fabrics.[6] Google states that the project “makes it possible to weave touch and gesture interactivity into any textile using standard, industrial looms”. [6] This allows surfaces on user’s clothing, or even furniture to incorporate various gesture inputs to create interactive surfaces. Smart fabrics can also have other features such as the ability to regulate temperature, capture energy, or monitoring vitals. [7]

Implications in Fashion

The turnaround test asks: “If you left home in the morning and later realized you forgot something, would you turn around, go home, and get it?”[8] It is a simple method to test the importance of a product from a consumer's perspective. Many products are currently seen as necessities, such as cellular phones. Wearable technologies however, are largely seen as secondary or accessories to cellular phones. One reason for this may be the reliance on cellular phones for full functionality of wearables, such as the Apple Watch’s reliance on the iPhone. [9] To defeat the turnaround test, wearable technologies will need to present a value proposition that overcomes current devices available in the market. The Kerv, when commercially available, is a device that may present this value proposition to potential wearable technology consumers.


The introduction of healthcare wearables has resulted in a trend that promotes the personalization of healthcare.[6] Within a personalized approach, healthcare professionals are able to acquire individual-specific information better determining patient genetic and environmental risks.[10] For instance, this information may include an individual’s behavioural patterns, social circumstances and environmental exposures. Following the identification of risks, healthcare professionals are then better equipped to provide diagnoses and treatments as needed. However, in order to understand the process used in obtaining this information, the functions of healthcare wearables must be explored.


Healthcare wearables offer four distinct functions that support an individual in acquiring or maintaining a healthy lifestyle. Such examples include:

  1. Monitoring: Recognizing changes in health by assessing behavioural patterns and activities throughout a period of time.[11] By presenting to an individual their known or unconscious changes, they may then adjust for these changes accordingly.[6]
  2. Assistive Technology: Increasing, maintaining or improving the functional capabilities of individuals with disabilities.[12]
  3. Operational Support: Combining an individual’s historical, operational and activity data to enable predictions and provide recommendations in achieving goals.[6]
  4. Identification of Deviation: Comparing an individual’s personal processes with reference processes, so that deviations may be identified and process suggestions may be provided.[6]

Illustration of Functions

To illustrate how these functions are used by a healthcare wearable, consider Tempo - a wearable sensor providing home caretakers with activity changes of seniors living at home.[1] Tempo allows caretakers to monitor a senior’s behavioural patters, such as how long they have been cooking for. This information may then be compared to their previous week’s outcomes for operational support, such as determining whether progress is being made towards their stated goals. As well, if this individual lacks hearing, a hearing device may be used as a form of assistive technology. Lastly, an identification of deviation can be used to determine whether this individual’s daily activities are consistent with another individual of the same age. For areas with deviation, a caretaker may provide suggestions to reduce its impact.

Implications in Healthcare

Introducing wearable technology within the healthcare industry has increased patient empowerment.[2] Prior to introducing healthcare wearables, patients were heavily reliant on others in obtaining health related information. This dependence however is experiencing change. Patient empowerment, characterized as a patient’s self-efficacy and capacity to make informed decisions in regards to their health is growing.[3] Users are more inclined to make autonomous decisions and behave in a manner that self-promotes healthy behaviour.[3] Furthermore, personal health records will be accessed across different countries, resulting in increased services from abroad known as 'telehealth', while traditional hospital services will be reduced.[4] Telehealth will empower patients while also helping to facilitate self-management, as patients will be provided with increased education and support for preventative care.[5]

Sports and Entertainment

Wearable technologies are significantly changing sports and entertainment industries by adding a variety of tracking and recording capabilities. These changes allow the use of advanced analytics, providing athletes with improved performance and consumers with a new interactive experience.[6]

Sports - Tracking Devices

Currently, wearable technology is being incorporated into the equipment of professional athletes, monitoring their performance and safety, creating data for future analysis and offering improved decision making. [7]

Overall, sports wearables can be divided into tracking devices and recording devices. Some of them fall into both categories.

Building the Perfect Athlete

A variety of fitness trackers allow an athlete to monitor their body parameter, level of physical activity, and body movement, enabling a coach to provide adjustments so that better results may be achieved.[6] Furthermore, the majority of fitness trackers are available to consumers, providing similar training opportunities. There are several fitness wearable devices that can be categorized by the following:

  • Generic Fitness Trackers (fitness bands) - Monitors the distance travelled, calories consumed, heart rate, and quality of sleep. Features are dependent on the model of a device. Common examples include such brands as Fitbit, Jawbone, Misfit. Some fitness trackers, such as adidas micoach smart run, have message and voice coaching capabilities.
  • Smart Watches - Computerized wristwatches that extends the functionality of smartphones. These are similar to generic fitness trackers capabilities that monitor fitness parameters. Common examples include Samsung Gear and Apple Watch.
  • Specialty Trackers - Fitness tracking devices that provide capabilities similar to generic fitness trackers yet take a different form and provide additional functionality. For example, Recon Jet smart glasses, Jabra Sport headphones series, and Optimeye S5, professional sports tracking device. All three devices monitor the same information as generic fitness trackers but provide additional features. Recon Jet provides gps tracking, video recording, and augmented reality features similar to Google Glass. Optimeye S5 can measure the strength of impacts and use RFID technology to track players on a field.
  • Smart Clothes - Smart Clothes are clothes with embedded sensors, allowing the tracking of various parameters. These smart clothes track the same parameters as generic fitness trackers as well as additional parameters, such as full body movement. In addition, they offer the ability to reconstruct gathered data in a 3D model for obtain additional information. For example, the Heddoko suit, in addition to generic parameters, tracks the accuracy of exercises using 3D modeling so that coaches may provide feedback.[1]
Better Teams

Big data analytics enables professionals to draw significant insights, enhancing the effectiveness of team sports. For example, SAP developed the “Match Insights data analysis software for Germany’s National team aimed to improve team performance. This software uses camera video feed in acquire insights, a feature that contributed to Germany’s success during the 2014 World Cup.[2] The direction of big data is further advanced with wearable devices, which not only monitors the speed and position of players on a field, but provides information about player exhaustion. This allows trainers and team managers to make efficient decisions regarding in-game strategies. For example, in 2015, the NFL began equipping athletes uniforms with RFID tags [3], thus providing a constant stream of interactive data to coaches and team managers. Some of the data is expected to be streamed to viewers.[4] In spite of the significant benefits associated with wearables and big data analytics, there are certain risks associated with the use of wearables in sport as athelete related data becomes a strategic asset. This raises security, privacy, and data ownership risks. For a list of comprehensive risks refer to Risks and Concerns section here.

Injury Prevention

Analytics, through the use of wearable monitoring devices can reduce the number of injuries experienced. A variety of high-precision sensors are used to gather detailed information regarding players’ muscles, tendons, and respiratory systems. Using advanced data analytics, it is possible to identify potentially problematic areas following injury. Such information will allow coaches and team managers take appropriate measures so that potential injuries may be prevented. Currently, such a system is used by the Leicester Tigers, a British rugby team.[5] In addition, the NFL uses wearable LED enabled sensors to indicate the severity of an impact, allowing managers to provide appropriate. [6]

Sports & Entertainment – Recording Devices

Action Cameras

Since the introduction of the GoPro in 2004[1], there has been a significant increase in popularity for action cameras, especially in extreme sports.[2] GoPro was one of the first successful wearable cameras which significantly increased the entertainment aspect of extreme sports for viewers, making first-hand view videos quite popular. However, GoPro and similar cameras are quite bulky for the majority of Olympic sports. For example, within soccer, these cameras impede the full length of motion for players and are also uncomfortable. Overall, the viewer experience has remained unchanged since the first sports broadcast on TV in 1939. [3] New technologies enable the minaturization of wearable cameras, leading to the development of first-hand view cameras for Olympic sports. For example, wearable broadcast systems embedded into a t-shirt, enable the creation of footage similar to that of a GoPro and broadcast in real-time. Such a system, created by FirstVision, provides a new and immersive entertainment experience for sports fans. Wearable broadcasting systems combined with data from RFID tags on players can potentially create new and interactive experiences for viewers. This will allow fans to view statistics regarding their favorite athletes, better players on fields, and switch cameras views to see a first perspective view of athletes.[4]

Wearable Drones

Drones that follow users, such as AirDog, and record videos are quite popular in extreme sports, as they provide an opportunity for creating incredible footage through a bird’s eye perspective.[1] However it is hard to call such drones wearables, even if the controlling device is connected to the user’s hand. The development of drones, such as AirDog, inspired a concept of wearable drones that can be worn on the wrist while also acting as a personal camera. Nixie is one of the concepts of wearable drones, which won $500,000 in Make It Wearable challenge by Intel.[2] Potentially, such drones will significantly change our perspective on personal image capturing and video making.

Virtual Reality

Virtual Reality headsets are another type of wearable device, commonly created for entertainment and educational purposes.[3] Virtual reality devices allow users to immerse themselves within a computer developed 3D environment. The popularity in virtual reality contributes to the growing virtual reality industry while new hardware allows for the creation of new digital experience for consumers. Furthermore, the future market for virtual reality and adoption rates will be growing at a significant rate over the next five years. [4] Refer to Virtual Reality wiki page for additional details.

Implications in Sports and Entertainment

Decisions by coaches and trainers were traditionally based on observation and gut feeling. Given the lack of fact based decision making, this potentially limited the development of athletes, occasionally leading to strategic mistakes. Furthermore, fan experience was quite limited in terms of availability for interactive information and viewer experiences. Using wearable technology gives way to the development of significant sport-related insights, creating a basis for real-time data-driven decisions. Such an example includes the identification of most efficient game strategies. This creates a significant basis for the improvement of athletes’ performance and new achievements in sports. Furthermore, wearable technology will significantly improve the fan experience, by making it more immersive and interactive, leading to a new generation of sports entertainment.[5][6]


There are different types of assets that entities invest in to protect, ranging from IT information, physical assets, and countries themselves. This can also be grouped into the user, physical, and network security. In this section, security will pertain towards physical security on three levels: individual, organizational, and national security. Security measures are enlisted by these three entities in order to protect assets and neutralize threats or attackers. With the introduction of wearables, security becomes a more pressing issue. More information on network and cybersecurity can be viewed here.


On an individual level, the increasing technological devices promote security and empower the user to protect themselves and avoid dangerous situations. More individual security devices and clothing allow individuals to protect themselves and communicate with others when in danger. A wearable that empowers the user is Amulyte. Amulyte is a necklace that doubles as an emergency response system. Pressing the button will trigger a text to an emergency contact, as well as put the individual through to an emergency hotline, along with many other functionalities. Altogether, it allows users and their loved ones to feel more at peace knowing their location and by providing them with the ability to communicate help without drawing too much attention to the device.


Typically organizations and businesses have contracted out the hiring of security guards to contractors. These contractors are generally stationed at the entrances of buildings to prevent and prohibit the entry of potential hazards, theft, or vandalism. On average, these roles do not require much skilled labour, without much prior education. With the emergence of technology, especially wearables in security, security guards are empowered to make decisions on their own. It can also improve performance, build accountability, and compliance. Given the additional responsibilities, this can affect the hiring practices in the security force, increasing the education required to hold a security position.[7]


Countries have been developing more weapons year over year as a matter of national security. Matters of national defense have evolved over the years, from arrows, to guns, from landmines, to biological warfare. An example of a wearable that combines protective clothing and gadgets together is the TALOS Suit.

This exoskeleton is also known as the Iron Man suit, likened to the suit from the movie Iron Man.This suit will provide protection for front-line soldiers who are the most vulnerable to attacks. In addition, the suit will "reduce strain on the body, provide superior ballistic protection and in-helmet technologies to boost communications and visibility." [1] Overall, wearable technology as a matter of national security has enhanced the senses of the army, increasing their ability to identify threats, make decisions, increase situational awareness, and protect individuals from hazards, from bullets to poison gases. [2]

Implications in Security

“Security is a tradeoff, a balancing act between attacker and defender.”[3]

As security increases, opposing forces will likely take increasing measures to beat the security measures put in place.

Schneier states that the role of the attacker is to find one vulnerability in the defense of the target in order to successfully intrude. However, from the perspective of the defender, they need to cover all possible aspects of security. This ranges from physical security to cyber security, which can often be expensive. Since it is expensive, and security needs to be covered in all areas of the business, there tends to be a lot of bureaucracy and coordination when upgrading security. Thus, organizations tend to be slow when making changes in this area. Overall, this leads to security in organizations being reactive in nature.[3] For organizations, this is a concern as a leak in customer data can result in a breach of trust and lower customer loyalty.

Risks and Concerns

There are several risks and concerns that arise given that wearables are an emerging technology. Individuals and organizations need to take into account the following factors when deciding upon integrating wearables into their company, or deciding to create a wearable themselves:

  1. Privacy of Others: Collecting data about an individual and their surroundings poses a risk of privacy to the user and others. Wearables are becoming increasingly indistinguishable from normal human clothes or accessories. According to Moore’s Law, the number of transistors per square inch will double every year. This will allow wearable technology to become more powerful in a smaller area, even giving way to computer functionality fitting into the size of a ring. This indistinguishability will allow individuals to have the functionality of a computer in the palm of their hand without other individuals noticing. This fact can seem invasive to individuals as they are not able to see whether they are in view of a camera or video. [4]
  2. Malicious Use: Individuals have the potential manipulate these devices through hacking or using them through malicious means such as spying, recording, stalking. Although some say that individuals can use their cell phones to yield the same results, wearables will be able to do so a lot more discreetly, since wearables can look similar to regular clothes or accessories. At first glance, individuals watching from the outside would not necessarily know whether they are being recorded. An example of this is the Google Glass. The Google Glass can record an individual’s surroundings anonymously. In addition, it can connect to the internet, allowing a user to browse undetected.
  3. Health Concerns: There are unknown risks associated with wearables being close to our bodies, for example, radiation and other radio waves. Over the past, there have been concerns that mobile emitted radio waves may contribute to cancer over time.[5] Although there is no concrete evidence for the health issues associated with mobiles, this same concern can be inferred to wearables as they are essentially mini computers located over the body. [6]
  4. Data Ownership: A question when information is uploaded onto wearables is a matter of who owns the data. Because personal information is uploaded onto the wearable, the information is relayed back to the manufacturer, who may or may not have the liberty to use the information as they see fit. Often companies use information in analytics, and through your information, they can paint a clear picture of your interests. This could lead to an invasion of privacy and privacy concerns.
  5. Data Security: Security of data is a concern when there are possibilities of hacking and security breaches. One such example is the Ashley Madison hack where 9.7 gigabytes of data was stolen and reposted onto the Dark Web. Ashley Madison is a site where cheating wives and husbands sign up to look for an affair. This data was then uploaded onto the dark web where many names, numbers, addresses, credit card information, and other information were exposed. Although password information was hashed using a bcrypt algorithm for PHP, one of the most secure ways to store passwords, hacking was still possible. Reparations are necessary from any company who experiences such a large scale breach as their customers feeling safe using their site will affect their brand image. From this example, security not only impacts customers but the company brand, and many other stakeholders. Given the fact that the information on the Ashley Madison hack was protected using algorithms, but was hacked, it implies that companies need to ensure that extra measures are taken to ensure that they are one step ahead of hackers and have the necessary contingency plans if a security breach were to occur. [7]
  6. Overreliance: Technology has increasingly replaced commonplace activities for greater efficiency and decision making. There are two main concerns here: The dependency of individuals on technology for working, and the second, technology could be leading to lazy thinking. The first concern raised involves the fact that modern day lifestyle is dependent on the stability of the energy resources in order to power our world. Without electricity, the question raised is, "would we still be able to function?"[8] Given that our world does not have stable resources, what is the right balance between technological use and the utilization of more archaic tools? The second concern is that an overreliance on technology could in the long term lead to laziness, which would further lead to a change in how individuals think and process information. An article by the University of Waterloo links the reliance on smartphones to lazy thinking. Wearables are one step further than smartphones and closer linked to our bodies, requiring less effort from individuals to function them. Individuals frequently reference their smartphone instead of relying on gut feeling or analyzing, instead finding a quick answer. The article quotes "Our research provides support for an association between heavy smartphone use and lowered intelligence," said Pennycook. "Whether smartphones actually decrease intelligence is still an open question that requires future research."[9]Given this new information, it is important to monitor this data over time for changes and whether the research hypothesis holds true.
  7. Impact on Industry: Wearables are being inputted into multiple industries as identified previously. The impact will be apparent in some industries, and have a lesser impact in others. One such industry is the healthcare industry, which will need to readapt a lot to account for wearables. Typically they have not used much technology in monitoring patients, and many practices and hospitals still have legacy systems.

The Future of Wearables

Future Features

The future of wearables has immense potential to change many industries if user adoption grows. Wired notes that devices will become indistinguishable, multipoint, seamless, and empathic with further development. Indistinguishability refers to the effects of Moore’s law, as devices will become smaller and not be noticeable at a glance. Multi-point in wearables refers to the holistic view of the user through not only single sensor, but a combination of multiple sensors or even multiple devices working in unison. Seamless expands the notion of multiple sensors, to the possibility of increased efficiency through the interconnections of multiple devices. Finally, emphathic wearable devices may recognize and react to the emotions of its users, allowing for greater user device interaction. [1] The future of wearables also opens the door to collaborations between various industries, as Andrew Hooge predicts customized or tailored 3D printed wearables.

Other Wearable Trends

  1. Crime Fighting and the Perfect Alibi: A question that rises from the data and information that is collected in court, is what information is admissible in a courtroom? Admissible evidence arises from two main criteria: relevance and reliability. Relevant information is that which has material and probative value, and reliable information is that which is not prejudiced, confusing, or based on hearsay. With these two criteria in place for admissible evidence, information collected from wearables has high probability in providing admissible evidence in court due to its ability to provide unprejudiced information. Over the past two decades, electronically stored information has been a driving force behind many court decisions, due to its unprejudiced information. There has also been the possibility of using wearables for surveillance in a court action case where an individual is claiming an injury. By wearing a Fitbit, doctors will be able to determine over time whether the individual was making a false claim.[2][3]
  2. The Internet of Things: In the future, wearables will be more than just an extension to the traditional mobile device. Wearables will play a large role in the Internet of Things as the amount of data that wearables can provide on a user and their surroundings are enormous. According to Daniel Burrus, “The Internet of Things revolves around increased machine-to-machine communication; it’s built on cloud computing and networks of data-gathering sensors; it’s mobile, virtual, and instantaneous connection; and they say it’s going to make everything in our lives from streetlights to seaports “smart.” [4] Wearables will no longer just communicate with the mobile, but with other devices around them, not just with other wearables, but with objects like cars and household appliances that typically have not held a place in the world of the internet.[5]
  3. Wearable Communities: As wearable technology invades individuals' everyday lives, it will have an impact on social behaviour. The type of impact it will have is yet to be answered. Wearable communities are the augmentation of social networks with the facilitation of wearable technology. Proxemics is the study by Edward T. Hall, on Understanding Personal Space. He suggests four different interpersonal communication proximity levels: intimate, personal, social, and public. Each level has an imaginary sphere increasing in diameter from intimate to public. [6] Korteum and Segall suggest that wearables augments the size of the sphere to a digital social sphere. These spheres identify other digital social spheres when individuals, also transmitting a wireless signal, comes into proximity. These wireless signals need to be transmitted by devices that are:
  • Constant: always on and running
  • Presence-aware: aware of the presence of nearby devices and people
  • Communicative: able to communicate with other collocated devices
  • Proactive: able to perform tasks autonomously and proactively without requiring explicit user intervention (although interactivity might also be supported)[7]
Wearable communities are different from social networks as they depend upon direct interactions over a shorter distance rather than indirect interactions over a network. They allow wearable users to 'meet' others online, and since they are in proximity to others, can meet directly to further that interaction. Currently there has not been a lot of research into these communities, but they will likely grow with the development of wearable community systems.

The Wearable Market 2018

As of 2018, the market size of wearable technology is estimated to grow to $30.2 billion worldwide. The size of the market is mostly driven by the consumer sector, accounting for 73% ($22.1 billion) of the market. The non-consumer sector will account for 27% ($8.1 billion) of the market. The largest categories in the consumer sector will include: general consumer wearables - $13.2 billion (60%), fitness & sport wearables - $5.1 billion (23%), gaming & recreational - $2 billion (9%). The non-consumer sector breakdown by categories is unavailable for public access.[8] Refer to diagram for the full details.


  1. http://www.wired.com/insights/2015/02/the-future-of-wearable-tech/
  2. https://www.sherbit.io/wearables-in-court/
  3. https://www.law.cornell.edu/wex/admissible_evidence
  4. http://www.wired.com/insights/2014/11/the-internet-of-things-bigger/
  5. http://ca.mouser.com/applications/article-iot-wearable-devices/
  6. https://laofutze.wordpress.com/2014/01/03/e-t-hall-proxemics-understanding-personal-space/
  7. http://echo.iat.sfu.ca/library/Korteum_03_wearable_communities.pdf
  8. Cite error: Invalid <ref> tag; no text was provided for refs named mars
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