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Blog / Internet of Things, IoT Explained, Wearables / IoT Wearables: Internet of Things Explained

IoT Wearables: Internet of Things Explained

Feb. 16, 2024
13 min
Nathan Robinson
Nathan Robinson
Product Owner
Nathan is a product leader with proven success in defining and building B2B, B2C, and B2B2C mobile, web, and wearable products. These products are used by millions and available in numerous languages and countries. Following his time at IBM Watson, he 's focused on developing products that leverage artificial intelligence and machine learning, earning accolades such as Forbes' Tech to Watch and TechCrunch's Top AI Products.

The Internet of Things (IoT) is a concept that refers to the interconnection of everyday objects via the internet, enabling them to send and receive data. This revolutionary technology has found its way into various sectors, including healthcare, agriculture, and transportation. However, one of the most prominent applications of IoT is in the field of modern wearable technology. This article delves into the intricate world of IoT wearables, providing a comprehensive understanding of this fascinating subject.

IoT wearables, as the name suggests, are wearable smart devices such as wearable AI, smartwatches, fitness trackers, and smart clothing that are connected to the internet. These devices collect data from their surroundings or the user’s body, process this data, and then provide useful insights to the user. For instance, a fitness tracker can monitor a user’s heart rate and sleep patterns, providing them with information that can help improve their health and well-being.

History of Wearable IoT Devices

The concept of IoT wearables is not as new as one might think. The history of these devices can be traced back to the 1960s, when Edward O. Thorp and Claude Shannon developed the first wearable computer to predict roulette wheels. However, it was not until the 21st century that IoT wearables started gaining mainstream popularity, thanks to advancements in technology and the proliferation of the internet.

One of the earliest examples of modern IoT wearables is the Bluetooth headset, which was introduced in the early 2000s. This was followed by the launch of fitness tracking devices like Fitbit in 2009, which marked the beginning of the health and fitness wearables trend. The introduction of smartwatches, such as the Pebble Watch in 2012 and the Apple Watch in 2015, further propelled the growth of the IoT wearables market.

Early Challenges

Despite the potential of IoT wearables, their adoption has faced challenges. In the early stages of this technology, one of the main issues was the lack of consumer awareness and understanding of these devices. Many people were skeptical about the need for such devices, and there were concerns about privacy and data security. Additionally, the high cost of these devices also deterred many potential users.

Another significant challenge was the technological limitations of the time. Early IoT wearables often suffered from poor battery life, limited processing power, and lack of robust connectivity options. These devices were often bulky and not very user-friendly, which further hindered their adoption.

Overcoming the Challenges

Over the years, manufacturers have made significant strides in addressing the challenges faced by IoT wearables. Advances in technology have led to the development of more powerful, energy-efficient chips, which have improved the performance and battery life of these devices. The design of IoT wearables has also evolved, with a greater emphasis on aesthetics and user comfort.

On the consumer side, there has been a growing awareness and acceptance of IoT wearables. This has been driven in part by the increasing focus on health and fitness, as well as the convenience offered by these devices. Manufacturers have also taken steps to address privacy and security concerns, implementing stronger data encryption and giving users more control over their data.

Types of IoT Wearables

The world of IoT wearables is vast and varied, with different devices designed for different purposes. These can be broadly categorized into health and fitness trackers, smartwatches, smart glasses, and specialized wearables. 

Health & Fitness Trackers

Health and fitness trackers are perhaps the most common type of IoT wearables and are designed to monitor various aspects of a user’s health, such as heart rate, sleep patterns, and physical activity. These devices typically come in the form of wristbands, rings, or clips that can be attached to clothing. They use sensors to collect data and then analyze and present it to the user in an easy-to-understand format, often through a companion app on a smartphone

One of the key benefits of health and fitness trackers is that they provide users with a wealth of information about their health, which can help them make informed decisions about their lifestyle. For instance, a user can track their sleep patterns and make adjustments to their sleep schedule if necessary. Similarly, by monitoring their physical activity, users can ensure that they are getting enough exercise and can easily set and track fitness goals.


Smartwatches are essentially miniaturized computers that are worn on the wrist. They offer a wide range of features including time display, fitness tracking, notifications, and call capabilities. Some smartwatches also come with built-in GPS, allowing users to track their location and movement. Many smartwatches are compatible with a variety of apps, allowing users to customize their device to suit their needs. 

One of the main advantages of smartwatches is the convenience they offer. By having a device on their wrist, users can easily access important information and features without having to reach for their smartphone. Additionally, smartwatches can also serve as a fashion accessory, with many manufacturers offering a variety of styles and customization options.

Smart Glasses

Smart glasses are a relatively new entrant in the IoT wearables market. These devices incorporate a display within the user’s field of vision, allowing them to view information without looking at a separate screen. Some smart glasses also come with built-in cameras, microphones, and speakers, enabling users to take photos, make calls, and listen to audio.

While smart glasses have not yet gained widespread acceptance, they offer a unique hands-free experience that could prove beneficial in various scenarios. For instance, they could be used in professional settings to provide workers with real-time information, or in personal settings to enhance experiences such as gaming or sightseeing on vacation.

Applications of IoT Wearables

IoT wearables have a wide range of applications, from health and fitness to professional use cases.

Health & Fitness Wearable Devices

One of the most prominent applications of IoT wearables is in the field of health and fitness. These devices can help individuals monitor various aspects of their health, providing them with valuable insights that can help them improve their well-being, stay fit, and even manage chronic conditions. For instance, a fitness tracker can help a user monitor their physical activity and set fitness goals, while a smartwatch can provide reminders to take medication or stay hydrated.

Healthcare Wearable Devices

In the healthcare industry, wearable medical devices play a crucial role in monitoring patient health and facilitating personalized care. Remote patient monitoring devices allow medical and healthcare professionals to remotely monitor vital signs, such as heart rate, blood pressure, and oxygen saturation. This capability helps healthcare providers better evaluate patient health data and collect essential patient data, improving the quality and efficiency of healthcare delivery.

Wearable technology is key to helping individuals effectively manage chronic conditions. For instance, people with diabetes can use wearable devices to monitor their glucose levels and receive timely alerts if these levels deviate from their normal ranges. This proactive approach to health management allows for immediate adjustments in treatment plans, reducing the risk of complications associated with poorly managed chronic conditions.

Additionally, healthcare wearable technologies help health organizations collaborate remotely. These devices allow specialists from various fields to come together, analyzing health data remotely to overcome geographical barriers. This method enhances the quality of patient care by offering a more comprehensive perspective on the patient’s health and facilitating the creation of coordinated care plans.

Workplace Productivity Wearable Devices

For instance, employees in a retail environment can use wearable devices to monitor their customer service interactions and receive real-time feedback. This helps them improve their communication skills, enhance customer satisfaction, and reduce the risk of service-related errors. Additionally, employees can use wearable devices to communicate with each other and access product information quickly.

IoT wearables can also improve safety in the workplace. For instance, workers in hazardous environments can use wearable devices to monitor their exposure to harmful substances or conditions. These devices can also track workers’ locations and send alerts in case of emergencies.

Future of IoT Wearables

The future of IoT wearables looks promising, with advancements in technology and growing consumer acceptance driving the market’s growth. Future IoT wearables are expected to be more powerful, more efficient, and more user-friendly, offering a wider range of features and applications.

In the global healthcare wearable market, we anticipate the introduction of advanced IoT wearable biosensors designed to monitor vital signs and key biomarkers for the early detection of conditions like heart disease and diabetes. IoT wearable neurotechnology devices are also expected to open new paths for monitoring and treating neurological disorders. These devices will use sensors to track brain activity, offering potential ways to treat conditions such as epilepsy and depression.

One of the key trends in the future of IoT wearables is the integration of artificial intelligence (AI) and machine learning. These technologies can analyze the vast amounts of data collected by wearable devices, providing users with more accurate and personalized insights. For instance, an AI-powered fitness tracker could predict a user’s future health risks based on their current lifestyle and health data, helping them make proactive changes to their lifestyle.

Technological Advancements

Technological advancements in battery technology could lead to longer battery life, making these devices more convenient for users. Similarly, improvements in sensor technology could enable more accurate data collection, leading to more precise insights.

Advancements in connectivity technologies, such as 5G, could enable faster data transfer and real-time insights, enhancing the user experience. Additionally, the development of more powerful and energy-efficient chips could lead to more powerful IoT wearables, enabling more complex applications and features.

Consumer Trends

As consumers become more comfortable with technology and more aware of the benefits of IoT wearables, the adoption of these devices is expected to increase. There is also a growing demand for personalized experiences, which IoT wearables can provide. By collecting and analyzing personal data, these devices can provide insights and recommendations tailored to each user’s needs and preferences. This can enhance the user experience and increase user engagement, driving the growth of the IoT wearables market.


IoT wearables represent a significant advancement in technology, offering a wide range of benefits to users. From monitoring health and fitness data to enhancing productivity and safety in the workplace, these devices are transforming the way we live and work. As technology continues to evolve and consumer acceptance grows, the future of IoT wearables looks promising.

However, it is important to note that, like any technology, IoT wearables also come with challenges. Issues such as privacy and data security need to be addressed to ensure the safe and ethical use of these devices. As these devices become more powerful and complex, there is also a need for clear and user-friendly interfaces to ensure that users can make the most of their IoT wearables.


  • What are IoT wearables?
    Toggle question
    IoT wearables are electronic devices that incorporate Internet of Things (IoT) technology, enabling them to connect to the internet, collect and exchange data, and provide personalized experiences. Examples include smartwatches, fitness trackers, and health monitoring devices.
  • How do IoT wearables enhance health monitoring?
    Toggle question
    IoT wearables use sensors to monitor various health metrics, such as heart rate, sleep patterns, and physical activity. This data is then analyzed to provide insights into the user's health, facilitate early detection of illnesses, and support personalized wellness plans.
  • How are security and privacy concerns addressed in IoT wearables?
    Toggle question
    Security and privacy are addressed in IoT wearables through encryption, secure data transmission protocols, and user authentication measures. Additionally, manufacturers implement privacy settings to give users control over the data shared by their devices.
  • Can IoT wearables be used in industries beyond health and fitness?
    Toggle question
    Yes, IoT wearables find applications in diverse industries, such as manufacturing, logistics, and retail. In manufacturing, they can enhance worker safety, while in logistics, they enable real-time tracking of goods. In retail, IoT wearables can offer personalized shopping experiences.
  • What challenges are associated with the widespread adoption of IoT wearables?
    Toggle question
    Challenges include concerns about data security, the need for interoperability standards among different devices, and ensuring that users can easily understand and manage the privacy settings of their IoT wearables.
  • Are all smartwatches considered IoT wearables?
    Toggle question
    While smartwatches are a common example of IoT wearables, not all smartwatches may fall under the category of IoT wearables. The distinction lies in the device's ability to connect to the internet, exchange data, and contribute to the broader IoT ecosystem.
  • Can IoT wearables be integrated into workplace environments?
    Toggle question
    Yes, IoT wearables can be integrated into workplace environments for applications such as employee health monitoring, access control, and enhancing overall workplace safety.
  • Do all IoT wearables require a constant internet connection?
    Toggle question
    Not necessarily. While many IoT wearables benefit from a continuous internet connection for real-time data exchange, some devices can function offline and sync data when a connection is available. The connectivity requirements depend on the specific use case and functionality of the wearable.
Nathan Robinson
Nathan Robinson
Product Owner
Nathan is a product leader with proven success in defining and building B2B, B2C, and B2B2C mobile, web, and wearable products. These products are used by millions and available in numerous languages and countries. Following his time at IBM Watson, he 's focused on developing products that leverage artificial intelligence and machine learning, earning accolades such as Forbes' Tech to Watch and TechCrunch's Top AI Products.


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