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Wearable Technology – Is it really the future of personal safety?

I’d like you to imagine that you’re just about to leave the house.

You’re running late and after throwing on your jacket and your shoes, you go to pick up your ‘essentials’. 

What do these essentials look like to you?

For me, and probably for most other people, my ‘essentials’ are my phone, wallet and keys. In a rush, it’s these three things that pop into my head, particularly my phone. 

Now, let’s take a look at some other items you might need to leave the house with. You might have a name badge, or a watch, a certain piece of sentimental jewellery, your headphones, the lunch that you made and put in the fridge the night before. 

These are all a lot more likely to be forgotten in a rush than your smartphone. 

Like it or not, our phones have become intrinsically woven into our everyday lives. Businesses around the world are looking for ways to blend their products into our smartphones, not split them up. 

Benefits of the app-centric model

We’ve seen numerous examples of businesses moving over to app-centric solutions across a multitude of industries. 

A great example of this is in the hospitality industry. Hotels are accelerating the installation of mobile phone generated digital keys in order to remove the need for guests to carry around a key card. 

As well as this being convenient for guests, it also offers a great marketing opportunity for businesses. Data is king across most industries and being able to collect data in a GDPR compliant way, whilst offering your customer a more convenient solution, is the ideal scenario. 

The acceleration of the digital key model goes further to prove that the mindset in the hospitality industry is that their customers are more likely to forget their key than they are their smartphone.

Where wearable technology is frequently used

In recent research, it has been discovered that wearable tech has now reached the status of ‘essential equipment’ in the healthcare industry. They can help with the diagnosis of many illnesses by tracking sugar levels, blood pressure and heart rates as well as managing growing workforces. 

However, with an ever growing reliance on wearable technology in the healthcare sector, it doesn’t always work to the user’s advantage. The factors that play into this include:

  • unclear user operation guidance;
  • lack of training resources; 
  • multiple devices to carry 
  • lower adoption rates by less tech savvy individuals

All of which are usually address but not necessarily rectified.  

For example, in an emergency, something like a name card or a fob could be easily misplaced or accidentally picked up by somebody else. If the company is using this data to establish who has been accounted for, wrong information may be given, putting the user at greater risk. By having one holistic solution on a smartphone, this can easily be avoided.

The reliability of an app

In order for wearable technology to work, it usually needs to be connected via Bluetooth. In a lone worker situation, for example, learning that your panic button is not connected to the Bluetooth on your mobile phone could be detrimental to your safety. 

In our industry, safety is the number one priority and the quickest – and most reliable – way to ensure safety in a potentially dangerous situation is to have an app on your mobile phone. 

It’s narrow-minded to assume that there isn’t a place for wearable tech in any industry. After all, we’ve seen how well this model works in sections of the healthcare industry. 

However, in the personal safety space, it’s far more efficient to stick to the app-centric model wherever possible in a bid to keep safety at the forefront of your mind. 

Raphael Polt

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