Wearable technology has been big news in recent years, however it isn’t a completely fresh concept with some early pieces like the calculator watch dating back to the 70s! This was just the start of a technological evolution that combines technology with functionality. Although this was a genius concept and the start of what is now a huge market, the difference with wearable technology back in the 70s compared to now is that it’s not just about advance technology or great functionality, it’s about creating a work of art. Something extremely fashionable and sleek. This being why wearables are so successful now, as they are connecting with not just the tech savvy, but with the broader market. Making smart clothing, connected glasses and smart watches hit the big time in 2015.
With Santa’s visit just around the corner we know what will be in a lot of people’s Christmas stockings, ‘the Apple Watch was the biggest seller in the wearables category on Black Friday 2015’ according to a news report, it is said that this one device will clear 12 million units by the close of Christmas 2015 and that 30% of the overall yearly sales will happen over the short Christmas period, although this is no major surprise as we all go mad for Christmas. However that’s not where it ends, the smart glasses industry is also on the rise, set to be a $9 billion opportunity by 2018.
Admittedly it took a while for the average Joe to jump on the wearable technology band wagon. It seemed complicated and overpriced, with a lot of people wondering what the big difference was from their handheld device, hand held smart phones. But like everything, the realisation that these products are unbelievably futuristic, extremely useful and a key fashion staple has made the sales rocket by 2015.
Leading the way for this wearable frenzy is fitness trackers, according to Samsung's report, with 475,000 units expected to be shifted over the holiday season. Just in time for our ‘I’m going to be more healthy’ New Year’s resolutions these nifty devices truly are incredible, from the ability to track our heart rates through to seeing what quality of sleep we are getting, and yes some may argue that this has been done before, smart phone apps have all been able to track steps and so on, however the main feature of wearable technology is that it’s smart, subtle and wearable! Making it much more efficient. The leading fitness tracker is ‘Fitbit’ who have reported that they were ‘expecting a surge in sales in the last quarter, which will include Black Friday, Cyber Monday and Christmas, aiming at a $635m revenue.’
Now, when it comes to wearable technology in eLearning it’s something that really is beneficial. Wearable technology has the power to take simulations and scenarios to a whole new level, developing the already interactive learning into much more of a personal experience. The level of interaction that is possible with wearables such as smart glasses is phenomenal, letting the learner make decisions based on body language is truly a step into the right direction when it comes to engaging a learner. Another benefit wearable technology has on eLearning is the idea of accessibility. With smart phones, laptops and tablets it’s very possible to be get access to corporate training material from anywhere already, however the immediate access wearable technology gives is really beneficial. A quick swipe of your watch and you have last week’s work manual at hand in the coffee shop!
E-learning lives by the theory of being cost effective and involving wearables definitely backs that theory up. Wearable technology can significantly reduce training costs, as it cuts down on the number of scheduled training sessions you will need to hold each year, which equates to fewer paid training hours. And if reducing costs wasn’t good enough it also helps develop collaboration in the workplace. Employees can collaborate, communicate and connect so much easier with wearable technology which will boost their overall working experience. It provides the opportunity for instant feedback. Benefiting the employee. Wearables benefit the overall training world, boosting morale and motivation.
The wearables market has exploded in the last 18 months and growth is only going to get bigger. They are products that like all technology, enhance people’s lives but in a way that is innovative and exciting. If you haven’t got a wearable under your tree this year, you most likely will have next year.
Liz Bark is the founder of Optimised Learning, an industry leader with extensive knowledge in instructional design and creative thinking. Her knowledge through Neuro Linguistic Programs has enabled her to drive her business towards new learning techniques that require creative engaging skills. She is the Creative Director and Founder at Optimised Learning. Follow her onLinkedIn.