Wearable technology has quickly moved from a novelty reserved for early adopters and gadget aficionados to a disruptive force that will impact nearly every industry and aspect of our daily lives. Wearable is a broad category of devices that can be worn, are usually equipped with sensors, and can connect wirelessly to the internet. The most popular example at this point is the smartwatch, but what is the future of Wearables? While the Apple Watch is the best-known example, there are also offerings from companies such as Garmin and Samsung. These smartwatches are best known for their ability to track health and fitness by monitoring our steps, heart rate, and even sleep patterns. They are also becoming more useful as an extension of our smartphones, allowing us to call, text, and receive reminders without ever taking our phones out of our pockets. Wearables aren’t only reserved for the wrist. Smart eyewear and even intelligent clothing are continuing to develop and gain market share.

What many people are not familiar with is how wearable technology will impact our lives in more ways than just personal health and convenience. Wearables are now starting to gain adoption and provide benefits in industries such as healthcare, manufacturing, law enforcement, and education. In the healthcare sector, doctors and nurses are using wearables, such as smartwatches, to monitor patients remotely. Doctors are also experimenting with smart eyewear such as Google Glass, allowing them not only to live stream surgeries but also giving them handsfree access to patient information.

In manufacturing, wearable devices can be used to prevent accidents and make workers aware of potential hazards or equipment problems. The possibilities of using smart eyewear to enable augmented reality will be especially disruptive in that it can connect workers to data and information to help dramatically improve productivity. For law enforcement, wearable technology can connect officers to critical information in real-time. Wearables can also track health information and notify dispatch if an officer is in distress and needs backup.

One of the most significant areas of disruption to come from wearable technology may be in the education sector. No longer will there be a choice between in-person learning and computer-based learning. Through wearables like smart eyewear and augmented reality, instructors can add a whole new layer of interactivity, giving students access to additional information and learning tools while immersing them in the subject matter.

It is no longer a question of whether or not wearables will become a disruptive force; it is a matter of when. And, the disruptive transformation is already in progress.