The New Question for Wearables: Quis Custodiet Ipsos Data?

POSTED BY James Moar

Juniper’s recently published Smart Wearable Devices research highlights the use cases that will drive up adoption of the devices, which have had a lacklustre start, but are showing promise in spaces from activity tracking to the workplace.

Wearable technology is not yet mainstream. There is, as yet, no ‘killer app’ that makes smartwatches or smart glasses relevant to more consumers, but the market’s focus has changed over the past few months. The emphasis is now on expanding the range of devices, understanding how they can be best used and what business models they enable. One of the key emerging uses is that of quantified others.

Quantified Others: Separating Data Generation from Interpretation
The quantified self is limited by the engagement and knowledge of the user. The key to quantified others is that it passes the data gathered by wearables to someone with the knowledge or desire to use that information effectively.

Most professional uses are based on healthcare or fitness professionals having access to data. Healthcare professionals would analyse it and advise patients on the best course of action to take, while professional athletes and sportspeople would wear clothing that relays their location and/or biometrics to a coach or audience, as the NFL is currently doing in the Superbowl.

Zebra Technologies’ RFID Transmitters in NFL Padding

.Various location-based wearables, such as Filip and Tinitell, provide monitoring capabilities for family members. This is typically used to track the location and status of dependents, such as children and the elderly.

One of the main benefits of the quantified other use case is that it substitutes the software-based analysis of the quantified self with human judgement, which is more likely to drive engagement. The implications of this are discussed further in Juniper’s whitepaper, Wearables ~ The Heartbeat on Your Sleeve, and more use cases are considered in the research itself.