Wearables in Events

What exactly is considered a Wearable?

Wearable technology is slowly but steadily becoming a revolution in the event industry. It has been around for quite some time, but has been explored into many new applications as of late. Wearable technology has been already offering applications for consumer, business, emergency service and military users. However, developers are now looking for new applications and ideas that incorporate smart wearable devices that can serve a mass majority. Wearable incorporates high-tech information with simple and convenient design.

Types of Wearables in Events

Implantable

Implantable, also referred to as embeddable,  is the technology that refers to a class of objects that can be inserted directly into the human body. For events purposes, this type of wearable is rarely used. However, huge advancements in this area of technology have been developed particularly to assist in the medical field.

Smart-Watches

A smartwatch is a wearable computing device that closely resembles a normal wrist-watch. In additional to telling time, smartwatches are capable of Bluetooth technology and can serve a multitude of applications almost similar to that of a smartphone. Wearers can use the watch’s interface to initiate and answer phone calls from their mobile phone, read email and text messages, get a weather report, listen to music, dictate email or text messages.

Smartwatches have become popular over the years due to the advancements in technology. Apple and Google have both created their own versions of smartwatches that is compatible with their operating systems. Smartwatches essentially serves the function of a smartphone but with greater convenience.

Head-Mounted Displays

As the name suggest, head mounted displays are mounted over the head. The functions are similar to smartwatches, it displays involve a wide range of features and functions that is similar to an iPhone.

Features Include

  1. Notifications and texts
  2. Activity Tracking
  3. News update
  4. Phone call
  5. Email
  6. Viewing of photos and videos
  7. GPS/Navigation
  8. Remote control for music
  9. Home Automation (Connecting items such as lights and aircon to the smartwatch or head-mounted display)

Fitness/Activity Tracker

These are all about measuring how much you move in a day: steps, distance, calories burnt. They focus purely on exercise and health related data.

Smart Clothing

Working in a similar way to activity trackers, these are pieces of clothing that have the technology built in. With sensors closer to your skin, they can pick up the more subtle cues of your movement, heart rate, and breathing patterns than activity trackers.

Key Technology of Wearables

NFC

Near Field Communication (NFC) is defined as a short range communication between compatible devices. There is at least one transmitting device, and another device that receives the signal. They can be classified under Passive or Active devices.

Passive  NFC Devices

Devices include tags, and other small transmitters, that can send information to other NFC devices without the need for a power source of their own. However, they don’t really process any information sent from other sources, and can’t connect to other passive components.  These often take the form of interactive signs on walls or advertisements.

Active NFC devices

Devices are able to both send and receive data, and can communicate with each other as well as with passive devices. Smartphones are by far the most common form of active NFC device. Public transport card readers and touch payment terminals are also good examples of the technology.

Features of NFC

Similar to Bluetooth or Wifi, NFC works on the principle of sending information over radio waves. However, NFC has a whole different standard for wireless transmission, requiring devices to comply with certain specifications in order to communicate with one another.

NFC’s data transmission frequency is about 13.56 MHz. Passive devices send data at 106, 212, or 424 kilobits per second (Kbps). Therefore, it is fast enough to cater to transfer of contact details, media and photos. There are typically 3 standards of operation for NFC.

RFID

Radio Frequency Identification (RFID) consists of three components, an RFID tag or smart label, an RFID reader, and an antenna. RFID tags contain an integrated circuit and antennas, which are used to transmit data to the RFID reader (also called an interrogator). The reader then converts the radio waves to a more usable form of data. Information collected from the tags is then transferred through a communications interface to a host computer system, where the data can be stored in a database and analysed at a later time. This is done by digital data encoded in RFID tags or smart labels are captured by a reader through radio waves. RFID is similar to barcoding in that data from a tag or label are captured by a device that stores the data in a database. However, RFID is capable of being read outside the line-of-sight whereas barcodes must be aligned with an optimal scanner. Should the scanner be faulty, RFID tags that provide name/photo or any other easily verifiable information, it can still be partially useful for access control.

RFID belongs to a group of technologies referred to as Automatic Identification and Data Capture (AIDC). AIDC technology leverages on automation and identifies objects, related data and transfers the data directly into computer systems without the need for any human intervention.

Gyroscope

Gyroscope is defined as a device that measures orientation based on the principle of rotation; taking into account weight, shape and speed. Wearable with gyroscope can help determine key data especially pertaining to exercises and health related areas.

GPS

GPS stands for Global Positioning System. It provides information such as time and location in all weather conditions, anywhere on Earth where there is unobstructed sight to GPS satellites. GPS receivers are able to use the mathematical principle of trilateration to pinpoint your location. With the addition of computing power and data stored in memory such as road maps, points of interest, topographic information, and much more, GPS receivers are able to convert location, speed, and time information into a useful display format.

iBeacon

Beacon is a protocol developed by Apple and introduced at the Apple Worldwide Developers Conference in 2013. Beacons are a class of Bluetooth but with significantly lower power consumption. With this new beacon technology, iBeacon have also become widely popular, with many vendors having made iBeacon compatible hardware transmitters. This technology has enabled smartphones, tablets and other devices to perform actions when in close proximity to an iBeacon.

How iBeacon Works

An iBeacon uses Bluetooth low energy proximity sensing by transmitting a universally unique identifier which can be picked up by a compatible app or operating system. The identifier when in proximity to the transmitter can be used to determine the device’s physical location, track customers, or trigger a location-based action on the device such as a check-in on social media or a push notification.

iBeacon can also be used for indoor purposes. With the use of iBeacon, a smartphone’s software can approximately find its relative location to an iBeacon in a store. Mobile advertisements or special deals can be transmitted this way, with a further customization to cater to the user’s needs and preference. It can also facilitate payment through point of sale systems. Traditional brick and motor retail stores benefit from this aspect of iBeacon which can generate a large amount of convenience for both buyers and sellers.

iBeacon differs from some other location-based technologies as the broadcasting device (beacon) is only a 1-way transmitter to the receiving smartphone or receiving device, and necessitates a specific app installed on the device to interact with the beacons. This ensures that only the installed app (not the iBeacon transmitter) can track users, potentially against their will, as they passively walk around the transmitters.

iBeacon compatible transmitters come in a variety of form factors, including small coin cell devices, USB sticks, and generic Bluetooth 4.0 capable USB dongles.

Bluetooth

Bluetooth removes the need for user intervention and at the same time keeps transmission power low to save battery power.

Bluetooth networking transmits data via low-power radio waves. It communicates on a frequency of 2.45 gigahertz (actually between 2.402 GHz and 2.480 GHz, to be exact). This frequency band has been set aside by international agreement for the use of industrial, scientific and medical devices (ISM).

Many devices have already been using Bluetooth for specific applications. Examples are baby monitors and garage door openers.

One important aspect is to ensure that Bluetooth devices do not interfere with other systems when they are transmitting. The key feature of Bluetooth is that it sends out signals that are strong enough to be received by another Bluetooth incorporated receiver, but is weak enough to not mess with other systems too far away. The low power limits the range of a Bluetooth device to about 10 meters (32 feet), cutting the chances of interference between your computer system and your portable telephone or television. Even with the low power, Bluetooth doesn’t require line of sight between communicating devices. The walls in your house won’t stop a Bluetooth signal, making the standard useful for controlling several devices in different rooms.

Popular Wearables & Manufacturer

Apple: Apple Series 3 Watch

The Series 3 watch includes cellular data, letting you make calls without solely depending on a Wi-Fi connection and phone app. This smartwatch also works with Siri, so you can ask for directions to a destination without grabbing your phone.

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Samsung: Samsung Gear Sport

Designed for fitness enthusiasts or people who want to start living better, the Samsung Gear Sport features a calorie tracker that alerts you whether you’re over or under your intake goals. It also sends up to 60 workouts to your mobile device and gives suggestions about staying fit even if you can’t avoid being sedentary, such as when you’re on a long flight.

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Garmin: The Garmin Fenix 5

This rugged smartwatch features durable components, such as a rear case and bezel made of stainless steel. The Garmin Fenix 5 also measures your pulse via a wrist sensor. Use the performance widget to find out if your hard workouts are paying off, and track progress. Also, enjoy how this gadget offers up to two weeks of battery life in the smartwatch mode.

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Fossil: The Fossil Q Explorist

The built-in fitness tracker helps you stay mindful of activity levels. The watch also has an estimated 24-hour battery life, making it easy to charge the gadget while you sleep. This device works with Bluetooth technology to seamlessly send you notifications. Once one arrives, you’ll feel a light buzzing sensation. You can even use the smartwatch to control music that’s streaming from your iPhone, whether iTunes, Spotify or another service is your preferred platform.

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Motorola: The Motorola Moto 360

One of the handiest features of the Motorola Moto 360 smartwatch is how it responds to voice commands, allowing you to take care of tasks like setting reminders and sending texts hands-free. There’s also a battery-saving ambient mode that shows fewer graphics on the screen, while still allowing you to access information in seconds.

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MyKronoz: The MyKronoz ZeRound 2

The built-in microphone and speaker let you answer or turn down incoming calls by speaking. This gadget also syncs with Siri, making it possible to modify settings on your iPhone via the ZeRound2. In addition to an activity tracker, this smartwatch has a sleep tracker. If you’ve been curious about why you wake up feeling refreshed on some days of the week and feel lethargic in other cases, the data it collects while you slumber might provide much-needed clues.

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LG: The LG Watch Sport

This watch also has a NumberSync that connects to Wi-Fi networks using your primary mobile number. Browse the Internet, send texts and make calls quickly using Google-powered voice recognition technology.

If you spend a significant amount of time outdoors in bright sunlight and are concerned about having to squint and shade the watch face to read the display, the designers had that common scenario in mind while making the LG Watch Sport. This device features a high-tech P-OLED display. It’s easy to read no matter if you’re indoors or outdoors.

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