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The link between the cloud and wearable technology

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Technology commentator Rick Delgado finds that cloud computing is a major driving force motivating the recent trend of wearable technology.

Fuel drives pretty much everything in our world. Cars need gasoline. Televisions need electricity. Even our bodies need food and oxygen to keep us going. Without fuel, things break down and cease to function. So what does this have to do with wearable technology? There’s a major driving force that is motivating the recent trend of wearable technology. The force – or fuel, if you will – behind it is none other than cloud computing.

Without the advances in cloud computing, wearable technology wouldn’t have the chance to progress or proliferate. Even though it’s seen only recent growth, already around 18% of people in the United States and the United Kingdom use wearable technology,(Tweet This) according to research from Rackspace. As cloud computing continues to advance and become more convenient and usable, expect wearable technology to grow even more popular at the office as well as at home.

So what is cloud computing exactly? Though it has numerous applications, cloud computing basically means computing on the Internet. Connecting to the cloud represents connecting to the Internet, which nowadays is made easier through the advances in wireless technology. One can easily see how cloud computing has lead to the rapid spread of wearable technology. By helping people connect to the Internet at all points, they can have easy access to all their personal data. Think of the convenience that has been enjoyed by millions of people from using smartphones, only now computer access would be available from things we are wearing. Not only does wearable technology allow us to access data from the cloud, but we can actually generate data that is then sent to large data centres. Perhaps most impressive of all, this data access and collection can all be done in real time.

Wearable technology is convenient and climbing in popularity, but the real impact will likely be felt with the Internet of Things.

Businesses are already using the power of the cloud to make wearable technology a reality. Some you might be familiar with. Google Glass is perhaps the most prominent product being offered to select individuals. The item has a constant connection to the cloud and gives real time information to users over a display. Smart watches have also become a relatively popular item, like the Samsung Galaxy Gear or the Pebble Watch. They function much as you’d expect, alerting users of incoming emails and other messages made possible through their wireless connection. There are also health and fitness monitors, wearable cameras, and, perhaps most interesting of all, smart clothing that uses embedded sensors to monitor users’ activities and send that data to company servers. Without cloud computing, none of these products would be possible.

Wearable technology and cloud computing is all about collecting and analysing data.

Much has been talked about wearable technology’s convenience and climbing popularity, but the real impact will likely be felt with the Internet of Things (IoT). The IoT basically connects devices both to the Internet and each other. While this may provide for new and innovative ways for people to interact with everyday objects, by allowing devices to communicate with each other, businesses can fine tune them to ensure peak efficiency, particularly among factory equipment. This basic concept can even extend to connecting people like never before – essentially a human cloud. This connection has a lot of potential, in part as a way to make life easier and more informed. In the same Rackspace report, of those who use wearable technology, 82% said that it has enhanced their life. Some said wearable technology made them feel more intelligent, others said there was improvement in their personal efficiency, while others said wearable tech helped them with career development.

There are a number of hurdles wearable technology needs to address before it becomes more mainstream. Wearable technology and cloud computing is all about collecting and analysing data, but the method of data capture and analysis still needs improvement. That means equipping devices with better sensors capable of keeping track of and monitoring users’ activities over a wider spectrum. Better calculation of that data falls within the realm of cloud computing, so improving data centre processing power is a must. Companies also need to find better ways to incorporate more cloud capabilities in devices to truly connect them with the world. Considering the advances the technology has made already, it’s reasonable to think these challenges will be addressed in due time.

Cloud computing and wearable technology go hand in hand. Without cloud computing, it’s likely wearable technology wouldn’t even be possible. There are various ways wearable tech will become integrated into our daily lives in the coming years. As we become used to the idea, we’ll also know that cloud computing is the technology fuelling it. We can expect fully connected lives to an extent beyond what we have even today.