As we are in the beginning of 2015, we are still allowed to expect that this year will see a breakthrough in mobile technology. It is true that there were a lot of great developments last year, but almost every major company promised to improve and polish their innovative products in 2015. Here are some of the breakthroughs we hope to witness in the 11 months ahead.
Today Samsung’s Gear and other smartwatches make it possible to easily skip past the lock screen on a user’s smartphone when the watch is near. However, soon we will see wearables using biometrics to provide an additional level of security. Devices, such as the Nymi, will keep users authenticated to any connected device without passwords and PINs as long as they are wearing them. Toronto-based Nymi ecosystem also includes smartphones, computers, and web sites and will expand to payments in the not-so-distant future. Indeed, beyond a convenient password solution, the greatest opportunity for wearable identity is in payments. In 2015 we expect such wearable payment solutions as Apple Pay, PayPal (Samsung ) and RBC & Mastercard (Nymi). So don’t be astonished at the guy in front of you at McDonalds tapping his watch to the point-of-sale next year.
One of the most exciting features of the Apple Watch is Digital Touch, which allows the wearer to send a heartbeat, hand-drawn pic, an animated emoji or a tap. For somebody this feature may seem to be too gimmicky, but we believe this is one of the most impressive opportunities wearable tech offers. Thanks to such features as Digital Touch, wearables will usher in new ways of communication. Wearables will make us to master our voices and gestures. However, we will witness the evolution of non-verbal communication, primarily through the use of LEDs and haptics. We expect the Apple Watch will win among other smartwatches thanks to the Digital Touch, but only for a short time, because very soon other wearable companies will begin to develop similar features.
Such wearables as chest straps and running watches are not a new thing in the gym to track performance and meet goals. But soon all that cumbersome stuff can be replaced by smart fitness shirts, bras, and other apparel that offers the ability to easily track heart rate, breathing rate, and other biometric data. Today there are at least three companies dominating the smart garment space: OMSignal, Hexoskin, and Sensoria. Hexoskin’s smart shirts have already been used by Olympic athletes and space agencies. OMSignal just recently developed a line of connected shirts for Ralph Lauren at the US Open. While some companies are already shipping smart wear, more companies like Athos are ready to step into the arena with smart clothing in 2015. Keep an eye on this trend!
Have you ever heard about wearables capable of measuring our emotions? It is already a reality! For example, a smart ring from Moodmetric monitors and logs your emotional response so that you can identify patterns and calm down. It uses Galvanic Skin Response (GSR) sensors, which measure the electrical conductance of moisture level (or sweat) of your skin. The same sensor is used in a lie detector test. Today GSR sensors can be found on some of the latest fitness trackers including the Jawbone UP3 and the Microsoft Band. We believe that in the next year we will see more wearables GSR. They will be used to express our feelings to the outside world, like something additional to (or even instead of) body language. It also seems like healthcare and fitness apps will begin to add emotion tracking into the mix with steps quantity, heart rate, respiration and other biometrics.
While wearables gained the most attention last year, an increasing number of developers are exploring the potential of smart jewelry. Just a while ago, Intel joined the trend with its MICA smart bracelet. Intel managed to pack smartwatch features into an attractive snakeskin bracelet, decorated with gold accents and semi-precious stones. The MICA bracelet shows notifications from Facebook, Gmail, calendars, and displays SMS messages. Besides MICA, recent developments from other tech companies include smart pendants, brooches, earrings, and rings. Soon after the wearable craze exploded, a lot of small, crowd-funding projects for smart jewelry (with Ringly, Mota SmartRing, and Cuff among them) appeared on Indiegogo and Kickstarter.
You are welcome to share your comments below about any additional mobile devices, apps and features that you believe should be included in the list! We’ll do our best to reply to you quickly and keep the conversation moving forward.
___________February 4, 2015