One of the most powerful applications of the Internet of Things (IoT) is wearable technology, carrying the potential to positively transform the way many sectors conduct business.
Smartwatches, VR headsets, and other wearable devices are already gaining significant popularity with both consumers and companies. In fact, technology analysis firm CCS Insight predicts that an impressive 96 million wearables will be sold in 2017, at a value of $10.8 billion, which will increase to 185 million devices by 2021, bringing in $16.9 billion in revenue. Apparently, interest in wearable devices is exploding rapidly, with no signs of slowing down in the coming years.
While many people are focused on consumer devices such as the Apple Watch, Fitbit, and VR headsets for gaming, like the Oculus Rift, a growing number of businesses now recognize the potential for this technology to be effectively used to enhance the customer experience and increase revenue.
An excellent example of this concept being put into practice comes from travel company Carnival. It created the “Ocean Medallion,” which is a small token that can be worn on a wristband or chain. The intention is for this device to replace smartphones and credit cards once a consumer boards one of the company’s cruise ships, as the token can be used in a multitude of ways, including checking in and paying for goods and services aboard the boat. IoT is a fundamental component of this technology, with the token alerting staff when a customer approaches the restaurant where they have pre-ordered their meal, allowing the company to correctly anticipate their arrival to provide a personalized greeting and immediate seating. Carnival also uses the device to alert the housekeeping team when guests leave their cabin, allowing staff to do their job without disturbing customers whatsoever.
And how about real estate? Some firms have embraced wearables to provide consumers with the ability to view properties from the comfort of their own home using a pair of VR goggles, truly making it feel like they are walking through the rooms without having to actually visit the property. This virtual viewing saves a massive amount of time for both interested buyers and real estate agents.
The aforementioned business applications of wearable technology are only two of many current examples. The Internet of Things is already prevalent in countless aspects of our daily lives, and wearables are the perfect companion to help immerse this technology deeper into the fabric of our world, connecting devices to objects seamlessly to improve the customer experience while increasing revenue in a broad range of industries.
Written by Igor Ilunin, head of IoT at DataArt.