The "Information and Stakeholders' Day on Wearables" attracted hundreds of participants and thousands of internet interactions and followers, proving a high level of interest in wearables and the presence of a committed stakeholder base in Europe.
Smart wearables occupy a position between the digital and the human world. They are held to have the potential to transform the way society functions within the near future. They support immediate, real-world actions and decisions by providing directly relevant, contextual information and performing tasks precisely at the point of decision-making, causing the boundaries between the physical and the virtual world to blur further.
The main event conclusions were that:
- The solution set for smart wearables comprises a platform, specific technologies and functionality to address the requirements of chosen application areas.
- For application areas, a clear focus is needed on how to use the solution – actionability- and what people/society can learn as a result of system use.
- A "black box" approach - the provision of devices without interconnectivity to a linked back end system - is now redundant.
- Despite bullish projections for future market growth, there have been false dawns already. The potential for economically sustainable industrialisation of smart wearables in Europe has yet to be realised.
- An eco-system in Europe needs to be built-up, comprising equipment providers, platform or network operators, content and app providers and the end user/final consumer. The interactions between these actors within an eco-system are complex and need to be clearly understood in order to create value.
- Europe is well positioned to scope and exploit the potential from smart wearables. EU funding is available to support R & D and piloting of solutions. Opportunities exist in a number of sectors including health, sports, household, textiles, personal protective equipment, construction, manufacturing, logistics and other services.