The market for wearable technology is increasing steadily. Around 115 million wearables were shipped in 2017, which is 10.3 percent more compared to 2016.
Apple took the lead with Apple Watch Series 3, and doesn’t seem to let go of the gold in 2018. Together with Xiaomi, Fitbit, Garmin and Huawei, Apple makes up the majority of the market share and keeps smartwatch and fitness trackers first.
However, the trend for other wearables is more than optimistic. According to BI Intelligence, they’ll likely outrun popular wearable solutions in terms of growth rate and take a significant slice of a third of the market by 2021.
There are many features that define today’s wearables – increased functionality, lighter and less bulky hardware, seamless user experience and improved connectivity. Enhanced intelligence would probably be the number one element to define this market across different verticals.
We’ve interviewed the executives and founders of successful wearable companies to find out how AI-enabled technology takes wearables to the whole new level.
AI Assistants in Wellness and Sports
Today, many wearables rely on popular smart assistants, such as Alexa or Siri in Apple Watch. When Amazon rolled out its Mobile Accessory Kit, it became possible to insert Alexa directly into a wearable, not always successfully though. In the meantime, some wearable manufacturers decided to equip their systems with custom, intelligent assistants that excel at certain tasks instead of going all-purpose. And it paid off.
One of such examples is Sensoria Fitness. Award-winning producer and vendor of smart sport apparel, the company provides consumers with an AI in-app coaching to improve running routines using performance analytics.
According to Sensoria Fitness, “Mara artificial intelligence coach provides real-time, actionable, audio and visual feedback on metrics that help you improve performance while decreasing your likelihood of injuries. She cheers you up to keep you motivated, but also provides reminders when your running form falls outside of preset parameters. Mara will tell you not only how far and how fast, but how well you run.”
Game Your Game is another example. The company figured out how to leverage AI and enhance its GAME GOLF wearable system with Caddie – personal golf assistant available in GAME GOLF app from April, 2018. Here’s what the company’s CEO and founder John McGuire says about the upcoming feature:
“Smart Caddie uses artificial intelligence to help golfers make data-driven decisions as they play. It’s like having your own personal caddie who considers every shot you’ve ever hit, and has identified all of your tendencies, understands the course and adjusts for weather and elevation in making its recommendations.”
John McGuire points out the importance of machine learning, defying it as “the core of this product.”
“GAME GOLF has the largest dataset of on-course usage in the industry and allows us to draw knowledge from over two million rounds with users in 137 countries. That is what 60 billion GPS data points can do for you and Smart Caddie will be available to use on over 36,000 courses worldwide.
Machine learning is at the core of this product. These things can only be accurate if the data set is large enough for your machine learning algorithms to be pointed at the data set and basically be learning from the data set that we collect.”
AI Analytics in Wearable Healthcare
Connected devices and AI-enabled technology are likely to increase life expectancy and improve life quality. Wearables play a significant role in this outlook as the simplest, most convenient tools to collect health data, monitor and interact with users on the go. Here’s how medical and care wearables use AI analytics to accellerate their performance.
Take Qardio products as an example. The company produces a variety of smart health tools, such as Qardio armband, intelligent scales and medical-grade ECG trackers. Behind these devices there’s an AI-powered QardioMD platform for doctors that uses vital health data from wearables, analyzes this data and uses an algorithm to prioritize patients who need more attention.
Propeller Health, another medical wearable producer, also works with patient data analytics, but on a bigger scale. Building tracking devices attached to the inhalers for the people who suffer from asthma, the company went further than the analytics of an individual inhaler use.
Propeller Health rolled out an open API for air service that predicts the changes in asthma conditions in certain locations. The company uses machine learning to analyze data from various respiratory medication intake and environmental conditions and forecast potential asthma attacks.
AI Tools to Improve Security
Helping people lead healthier lifestyles and achieve sports goals is one thing, saving people’s lives is an entirely new level, and powered by AI.
One such compelling example is Lumenus. The company started when the founder, Jeremy Wall, was almost killed while riding his bicycle. It was this life-changing event that pushed him to create products that use technology for something meaningful—to save lives. Today, Lumenus designs and produces apparel equipped with wearable LED lights for runners, bicyclists, and motorcyclists. This is what Jeremy Wall says about the product:
“We use IoT data points from a litany of different sources: sensors, 3rd party APIs, GPS, and more to control the color, brightness, and animation of wearable LED lights. Think like the smart-lights we’re used to in homes, but instead of being screwed into a socket in one place, Lumenus makes them mobile.”
And this is how AI helps Lumenus wearables save lives:
“Our software aggregates the different information into a single source, but that’s where we take it to the next level with AI. A Lumenus user opens the app, puts in a final destination and maybe some other notes and then puts the phone away. The goal is what we refer to as Zero UI — once you start the system there is no interaction with the mobile app or even the hardware directly — every command is autonomous.
The system knows where you’re heading and automatically gives a turn signal, alerting the drivers around you. It engages the brake lights that can sense your deceleration while AI helps us know when you’re hitting the brakes and not on a hill. It uses training guidance pace lights, which understand your target training speeds and visually keeps you on pace in real-time. Moreover, it engages the flash for extra safety in danger zones like intersections or roundabouts where over 1/3 of fatal accidents occur.
Today, AI allows us to know which information is necessary and which information is just noise. Soon, we plan to connect Lumenus users directly to in-vehicle car systems and with the help of AI determine if there is a potential of a collision and predictively warn drivers.
Another safety wearable tool by Jiobit was also inspired by a real-life case when the company’s CEO and founder John Renaldi found his own kid wandered away at Millennium Park, according to TechCrunch.
Smart Jiobit trackers for children monitoring also use GPS data, however, for different purposes. The company relies on machine learning algorithms to analyze daily routes and routines of the kids who wear the device and free parents from setting manual “rules” or maps for tracking. It helps parents get a full data-driven picture of their children’s activity. By the way, Jiobit also works for pets.
AI Wearables for Everyone
Jiobit trackers are good both for people and pets. Some wearable manufacturers, in turn, focus on building smart devices for four-legged companions and also rely on AI to excel technology capabilities.
This is what Trackener system does to enable users provide utmost horse care, for example. The wearable tracks horse’s activity, location, behavior and health conditions to inform on nutrition needs, stress levels and predict and prevent anxiety.
The true gem is in the AI-powered analytics, which enables more intelligent monitoring and management. Company’s CEO and co-founder Pauline Issard explains:
“The power of Trackener lies in the data analysis we are doing. The more data our device has been collecting on a horse, the more accurate the problem detection, prediction and recommendation system will be. Trackener is all about comparing data with previous analytics from this same horse, but also with data from other similar horses (age, breed, gender, etc.).”
Other AI-powered wearable Whistle, a Fitbit for Dogs, does for dogs what Trackener does for horses, but with a 3k mile radius of location tracking. The company combined advanced cellular and GPS technology to enable this incredible coverage plus Bluetooth and WiFi connection for activity tracking. On top of that, the Whistle system relies on machine algorithm methodologies to classify dog’s activities, analyze and understand how individual activities such as walking and playing affect pet’s health and wellbeing and identify particular type of activity a dog is doing at a certain moment.
All of these examples showcase the ability of AI-enabled technology to enhance the capabilities of today’s wearable devices and analytics, regardless of industry, field and wearer. Despite occasional disappointments, this market continues growing and surprising us, and AI appears to be the means to streamline this move.