Do you monitor yourself closely? Heart rate, carb intake, sleeping patterns? Are you tracking your child’s whereabouts or monitoring your baby’s sleeping patterns? What about the dog, your keys or wallet?
The global market for wearables has experienced an explosion of innovation over the past few years. It is one of the fastest growing market segments in consumer electronics and according to a study by the International Data Corporation (IDC), a global provider of market intelligence for the information technology, telecommunications and consumer technology markets, between 2014 and 2018, wearable shipments will generate a 78.4 per cent compound annual growth rate, eventually hitting 111.9 million worldwide shipments in 2018 alone.
As part of the rapidly-expanding Internet of Things, where everyday objects have network connectivity allowing them to send and receive data, wearables track and monitor many aspects of our lives wherever we are, whatever we are doing in areas such as health, fitness, medicine, education, gaming and music to name a few.
Monitoring on the move
The medical world is also embracing this self-monitoring trend, given the growing clinical evidence of the value of continuous physiological data for managing chronic disease such as asthma, diabetes, heart related or post op patients.
Wearable monitors check vital signs such as heart rate, blood pressure, blood oxygen or glucose levels and respiration. According to ABI Research, by 2016 wearable wireless medical device sales will reach more than 100 million devices annually, while wearable sports and fitness-related devices are projected to reach 80 million.
Helping to develop wearables
This technology is possible through a combination of micro-electromechanical systems (MEMS) and sensors, sensor hubs, sensor fusion, low-power wireless connectivity and specialized software development platforms.
The IEC work in standardization and conformity assessment contributes significantly to this technology. Manufacturers are able to build more reliable, efficient sensors and MEMS thanks to International Standards prepared by some IEC Technical Committees (TC). IEC TC 47: Semiconductor devices and Subcommittee (SC) 47F: Microelectromechanical systems.
IEC TC 100: Audio, video and multimedia systems and equipment produce Standards which contribute to this evolving market in terms of the quality, performance and interoperability with other systems and equipment.