Real Time Communications Featured Article

Wearable Technology Takes Real Time Communications to the Next Level

May 30, 2014

Wearable technology is one of the hottest new trends, merging fashion and technology, improving performance for athletes and bringing futuristic clothing to the present. Whether it’s rain boots that charge your phone, GPS-enabled shoes, smart fabric powering connected fitness shirts or photovoltaic apparel, wearable technology is taking real time communications and data to the next level.

In a recent CIO2CMO post, Brad Bush, CMO at GENBAND, goes over some apparel and developments in wearable technology that go beyond the smart watch, eye gear or arm band.

The key to the Internet of Things, and in turn, wearable technology, is the ability to transmit data in real time. Athletes can wear connected shirts and fitness bands to track performance, which can be immediately transmitted to a coach’s tablet to customize practice, trainings and workouts based on athlete performance and goals. Healthcare professionals can track patients remotely, and receive alerts immediately if any readings go outside normal measures or any other abnormal activity happens.

This goes on to apply to most other industries – the IoT is set to impact and disrupt every part of our personal and work lives. This growing trend of real time communications is driven by technologies like machine to machine (M2M), WebRTC and mobility.

WebRTC is an interesting part of the vast real time communications space. It’s taking online communications to the next level by eliminating barriers like plugins and downloads, and making peer-to-peer communication more accessible and seamless.

There are basically two different angles when looking at the relationship between wearable technology and WebRTC: The first is incorporating WebRTC a la Plantronics, which enhances its Concept series for gesture-based movement and contextual data. Joe Burton, Plantronics’ CEO, explained that WebRTC opens up a whole new world of communications options, which makes it an ideal environment for wearable capabilities. The second is the growth of the Internet of Things – smart TVs, security systems, toothbrushes and more are starting to join this connected trend – and how the browser will adapt to that in wearable form factors.

According to IHS, the global wearable technology market is predicted to reach $30 billion in 2018, up from about $10 billion at the end of 2013. Included in this market are health and fitness devices, remote patient monitoring solutions and connected eyewear. At the same time, ABI Research forecasts 4.7 billion mobile WebRTC devices by 2018. As both markets continue to grow, will there ever be a meeting point?

Want to learn more about the latest in wearable technology? Be sure to attend Wearable Tech Expo, July 23 & 24 at the Javits Convention Center in New York City.  Stay in touch with everything happening at the event -- follow us on Twitter.

Edited by Maurice Nagle

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