App Builder Appy Pie, March 21, 2018: The advent of the wearables has managed to open up an entire section in the market that was essentially non-existent. The technology has managed to open up a whole new world of possibilities and opportunities and as the situation stands today, the wearable technology has become way more advanced than the hand-held technology. This is so because it provides sensory and scanning features that are usually missing in mobiles and laptops. The technology has multitude of benefits and have the potential to disrupt numerous domains including but not limited to healthcare, fitness, disabilities, education, transportation, fashion, media, finance, tourism, music, gaming, and more. In each one of these domains, the intent of the wearable technology is to solve the day-to-day problems that people often encounter by incorporating in their daily lives, electronic devices that are functional and portable.

In this blog post we are going to talk about wearables, how they differ from smartphone apps, and then list down ways in which the wearables would bring about a change in the mobile apps of the future.

What are wearables?

Some of the popular examples of wearables or wearable devices would be the Apple Watch, Google Glass, a pedometer, heart monitor, a VR headset, and so many more devices that you have seen or used in your own life as well.

So, what is it that makes these gadgets ‘wearables’?

  • These devices are meant to be worn on the body.
  • These gadgets have the ability to connect with the internet.
  • They have the ability to detect, receive, and/or transmit data.
  • Though you might not be able to see it physically, the devices work with an application.
  • These gadgets work in tandem with a number of other devices and send real-time data on an astounding scale.

A desktop PC stays put in one place wherever they are installed, a mobile device can accompany you wherever you want it to but doesn’t really have to. Wearables that have been planted on your arms in your eyes or in your internal organs stay with you, no matter where you are headed. There are humungous amounts of data that these devices collect, transmit, and perform actions on.

How are wearable devices & apps different from smartphones & mobile apps?

There are a number of significant ways in which a wearable device is different from the smartphone.

Size: the most obvious one here is the disparity in the sizes. The screen sizes (assuming that your wearable has one) are smaller for the wearables when compared to the smartphones and the whole size of the device too is smaller than a good old smartphone today.

Function: the functionality or usefulness of the wearable is generally quite restricted. Most of the functionality of the wearable device includes communication with the mobile device. Like we discussed earlier the wearables are smaller in size, which means all the hardware on it is small too, and less powerful. Hence the apps that are used on the wearables are either mobile phone apps that have really limited functionality, or customized wearable apps that again have a restricted assortment of uses.

Customer Interaction: here too, there is a constricted scope and opportunity as the customer experience is quite restrictive. For example, a fitness band would only have a few capacities that would further require little to no input from the customer and a Smartwatch which is a poor man’s Smartphone in terms of UX.

Platform: A mobile app has the ability to operate on a tablet or a smartphone. A wearable app however is created in order to communicate with apps on a mobile device and cannot work on either the tablet or the smartphone. The device may no even have a screen and only send and receive data by connecting with other devices. Also, the mobile apps that have been built for the smartphones or tablets would not work on the wearables either.

In what ways would the wearables change mobile apps of the future?

As the wearables are gaining popularity in every possible domain and industry, there is a definite surge in demand for custom mobile apps for these new age gadgets. Apart from this, the advent of the wearables is pushing the developers today to make numerous improvements and changes in the development of new mobile applications.

1) A change in the size of the screens

This is one of the most obvious points. The mobile applications of the future would have to be designed keeping in mind the shrinking screen sizes. The mobile apps would have to be created in a way that it suits the wearable tech ecosystem, presenting accurate, highly relevant information via dynamic changes in the size of the screens. Thus, information design would become a lot more pervasive and user friendly.

2) Cloud, Data & Security

As mobile app developers prepare for the future and the rise of the wearables, the cloud would assume the role of the primary data center as far as the storage of the data is concerned. The cloud would be acting both as the storing and allocating place for the massive amount of data that the wearables would be dabbling with. In this scenario, the aspect of security has also assumed a greater importance, hence it would become necessary to ensure that security standards are employed efficiently by the mobile app in order to protect the user data. This aspect assumes special importance in context of the apps that would deal with confidential user data in an open source standard environment. In such cases having a comprehensive security protocol is an essential for the users. Additionally, with features like biometric and voice recognition techniques, access to user data in the cloud and in the app can be expedited without compromising on security.

3) Feather Light & Quick

The mobile apps that would be built for this ecosystem would have to take in to account the limitations of the wearables in terms of size and power. These applications would have to be developed to be quite lightweight so that they load with speed and respond to the commands, taps and clicks of the customers promptly. This aspect is already being looked into, by the developers quite sincerely as they are working to develop feather light apps that are highly responsive. When the mobile apps of the future for the wearables run in a seamless manner, the prospective customers would be encouraged and inclined to adopt more wearables in their lives.

4) Artificial Intelligence

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Artificial Intelligence is the most booming trend in context of mobile app development, wearables, and probably every other industry under the sun. As more and more mobile apps would be developed for wearables, they would have to pay heed to this iconic trend and have to make use of artificial intelligence algorithms that would use big data technologies. This integration would allow the mobile apps to predict user behavior and offer them the opportunity to make modifications in own execution. This means that these mobile applications will improve and personalize the user experience of wearable devices.

5) Lesser Consumption of Energy

The wearable devices are typically built and intended for continuous use so that the users can easily move around without having to worry about charging the device. It is because of their real-time usage that the mobile apps of the future that would be designed for the wearable devices would have to have the provision for lesser energy consumption so as not to drain out the device. The users can then use the mobile apps with the wearable devices for longer periods of time without having to go hunting for a charging point or device as they are on the fly.

6) Real-time Communication

The real power of the wearable devices and apps lies in their ability for real time communication. This power can only be optimally harnessed when the new age mobile apps take into account the feature of real-time communication which would allow the users especially the professionals like healthcare etc. to have a real-time status of patients or other users. This feature also gives the enterprises an ability to receive real time tracking information about the instructions that have been delegated to the employees in the organization.

7) Ergonomically Suitable UI/UX

Ergonomics is a form of applied science pertaining to the design and arrangement of the things that people use so that the interaction between them comfortable and safe. Hence when it comes to wearables (which are planted in or on the human body) ergonomics take on quite an importance. But the physical ergonomics are not the only ones that need to be considered here! The ergonomics of the user interface are equally (if not more) important. The user interface of the mobile applications designed for the wearables must be quipped with highly relevant and accurate features. The guides, tutorials, or instructions within the app would have to be crisp and the multiple tabs would have to be assembled in an ergonomic fashion for ease of access by the users.

8) Smooth Transmission of Data

The foundation for any wearable device to function according to the expectations of the users lies in the enormous data that it collects and transmits to other smart devices that it is connected to. When we have this enormous data set in front of us there is a need for the mobile apps to be developed in a manner that would allow speedy and smooth transmission of this data between different smart devices. Bluetooth smart technology enabled apps are a great example of this. Today, some of the industry giants across varied verticals are basing their entire wearable strategy on Bluetooth & Wi-Fi.

9) Augmented Reality

Augmented Reality is the Hot Cake that everyone would like to get a piece of! The wearables are one of the greatest ways to get a taste of this new-age technology and to complete the whole experience there is a need to evolve the mobile apps to suit it. The mobile apps of the future that would be designed for the wearables would incorporate some of the most interesting augmented reality techniques that would be designed to enhance the human sensory experiences including sight, hearing, touch & smell. Some of the most relatable examples here would be the possibility to magnify the voice commands, expand data pertaining to health, and improvise the navigation with the help of maps.

10) Biometrics & Semantics

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Biometrics is essentially a technical term for body measurements and calculations and refers to the metrics that are related to human characteristics. Semantics, however is the linguistic and philosophical study of meaning. The new mobile applications for wearables allows the integration of software that is based on the biometrics and semantics and have the ability to help interpret emotions, track progress, and detect biopotential. One of the most relevant examples for this case are the sensors for multi-axis accelerometer. This affords the developers with a host of opportunities and possibility for greater innovation and create interesting and ground-breaking applications equipped with interesting gesture detection.

11) Computing Capabilities

Customers or users begin using wearable devices with the expectation that they would enable real-time communication, where data can be input in a prompt manner and outputs are offered in real-time. For this, the mobile applications would have to be really fast in terms of the computational skills. One crucial thing to remember is that some of the inputs would come in the form of big data files. In order to be able to process such big data inputs there would be a need for a whole lot of processing, which can only be accomplished through sophisticated algorithms.

Concluding Note

We cannot deny the disruption brought in by the advent of wearable devices including watches, glasses, contact lenses, fitness trackers, clothing, jewelry, other accessories, and more. This development would warrant the need for more sophisticated and advanced mobile applications. These applications would have the potential to smoothen the interface between humans and the devices. In future the mobile applications developed for the wearables would need to have a set of features uniquely designed according to the specific industry that the wearable is targeted to serve.

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