Wearable Technology - the Future of Wellbeing

Posted by  Helen Hill 04-Feb-2015 08:30:00

helen-hill
Helen is the Employee Engagement Manager for ERIKS Group and Communications Officer for ERIKS UK.

wearable_technologyIt is a known fact that ‘wearables’ were one of the booms of 2014 and are considered to be the future of technology.

Inspired by convenience, this type of technology provides devices you use in your everyday life but with additional functions to support your wellbeing.

Wellbeing and more...

Most of the wearable technology on the market at the moment is wrist-worn. (smartwatches, jewellery, fitness trackers, etc.) However, devices such as smart glasses and clothing are gaining popularity as well. All these are very similar to the normal gadgets but they all can help you improve quality of life by helping you manage your time better, encourage you to take more and even monitor certain aspects of health such as heart rate, blood glucose levels and calorie intake.

For instance, gadgets such as fitness trackers have become very fashionable during the past year. These devices can help you organise your workout plan better and monitor your sports activity. Fitness trackers can measure your calorie intake, the distance you’ve run and much more. Since it is proven that sports achievements and stats can motivate people to increase their physical activity, this can be the needed inspiration for doing more for your fitness!

Some medical experts also believe that wearable technology can aid not only personal fitness but ease the lives of many people with chronic conditions such as diabetes and heart conditions. It is worth taking into account that the number of people who have such conditions is relatively high and having a device that would be monitoring their heart rate, blood glucose level, etc. at their workplace could actually contribute to their wellbeing. Moreover, taking an active interest in their health at work may very well improve productivity and motivation.

So, is it possible for wearable technology to be a significant factor for employee wellbeing? Why not! Imagine a device that can, for instance, monitor your posture and notify you when you are sat in a poor position for too long which can influence back pain. Fantastic - especially when you consider that back problems are among the most common health issues within an office environment.

Or wellbeing at a cost...?

Despite the benefits of wearable technology, there are many experts who raise concerns on the new fashion. Firstly, wearable technology devices are still new to the market and are not 100% accurate – often discrepancies of between 10-25 %.  Another aspect to take into account is the interpretation of results; your device can notify you of a problem but not provide any corrective action or a suitable solution.

Some medical experts believe wearable technology - which has a direct contact with your skin - can have some health implications. Gadgets, which operate through sensor systems, can emit radio waves and static electricity that may adversely affect the body. Fortunately, no such problems have been reported yet. 

So what does the future hold for wearable technology? We don’t know...but reducing health and safety risks and expanding the wearable technology range to medicine should definitely be among the hot topics for 2015!

What is your view on the existing wearable tech? Do you use one of these gadgets now? Would you invest in such a device as part of a company wellbeing scheme? We would love to hear your views!

 

Sources: Electronic Product Design & Test, The Guardian, Wareable

 

For more tips on employee wellbeing from ERIKS, visit our Wellbeing Blog:

 ERIKS Wellbeing Blog

 

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Topics: Innovation, Electrical

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