The wearable industry has seen significant strides in adoption and development — and it is only expected to grow bigger. According to market estimates, there will be about 411 million wearables sold this year. And next year, more than 550 million units are forecast to be purchased.
There are various functions associated with wearables, as well as different types. These include:
- Smart watches, which handle everything from issuing alert notifications for calls and messages to tracking your fitness activity.
- Fitness trackers, which logs and tracks information on everything from steps to biological markers such as heart rate and blood pressure.
- Patches, which are typically used to supplement healthcare functions outside the hospital, such as checking insulin levels.
- Head-mounted displays, which deliver virtual information to users.
However, for all their potential, wearables still have significant challenges that need to be overcome to ensure that they can be harnessed to their full functionality. Of these challenges, security and power are the most significant.
Many wearables come with rather significant security risks, by virtue of their design. For instance, almost all of these devices come with Internet connectivity, which opens up the potential for data breaches and other vulnerabilities. Fitness trackers, among others, provide real-time geolocation data to the cloud, and other wearables are equipped with data aggregation and analytics models that can be compromised.
Similarly, some wearables are not built with security in mind. Some IoT devices, for instance, share a network with many computing devices without proper security measures in place. This can result in anything from compliance lapses (especially in handling medical information) to exposing enterprise data to potential attacks.
Another common issue associated with wearables is their insufficient battery life. Because of the variety of functions they deliver, many wearables require frequent recharging.
Similarly, design factors into the resulting battery life in most wearables. Some wearables are equipped with sensors that consume more power than others. How they are used is also instrumental to their longevity; some devices have continuously running sensors, which naturally depletes their batteries sooner.
In order for wearables to provide a truly positive user experience, manufacturers must design their products with both security and power in mind. Some best practices are as follows.
Understanding Security Risks
Wearable manufacturers must design their devices with security in mind, as it is important to prevent, mitigate, and even resolve security risks. To prepare, consider what the FDA recommends of medical devices:
- Prevent unauthorized use
- Ensure trusted content by maintaining code, data, and execution integrity
- Maintain confidentiality of data
- Design the device to detect cybersecurity threats in a timely fashion
- Design the device to respond to and contain the impact of a potential cyber security incident
- Design the device to recover capabilities or services that were impaired due to a cyber security incident
Establishing Security Protocols
Your team must adhere to standardized protocols throughout the whole design phase. These should cover various critical points for security, such as:
- User roles
- Data backup
- Cloud security
- Multi-factor authentication
- Disaster recovery plans
Employing Holistic Design Assessments
Finally, assess design principles according to holistic key metrics. For instance, if you wish to extend battery life for your wearables, choose the right sensors, and define their exact uses. Similarly, invest in power saving mechanisms, as well as low bandwidth, long distance transmission protocols.
Voler Systems draws from more than three decades of experience in delivering on-time, on-budget, and easy to manufacture devices. We follow a comprehensive design plan to identify your requirements, project schedule and budget estimates, and assess project results, all while coordinating with senior engineers. Got a product in mind? We’ll help you bring it to life. Visit www.volersystems.com to learn more.