Innovative use cases for wearable tech

Use Cases for Wearable TechOver the past several weeks, I’ve seen some really interesting use cases for wearable tech. This is an exciting development, as the wearable tech moved beyond simple wristbands that were used for access control at events and evolved in form, function and fashion.   My blog has covered stories on exciting new applications enabled by NFC where I talked about pilot programs in healthcare and patient safety leveraging NFC wristbands.  I covered the Internet of Things (IOT) and NFC at Connected World Conference at the Chicago Auto Show.  I even covered how to capture special moments with NFC-enabled jewelry.   These and other use cases are covered in my latest book, NFC for Dummies.

And these recent news stories have only affirmed my conviction that near field communication incorporated into wearable items is here to stay. Here are some of the latest rollouts, pilots, and just plain cool stuff in the wonderful world of wearable tech.

Mobile Pays

According to a recent article at Samsung Business Insights,  wearable payments may have started slowly, but retailers shouldn’t be caught off guard. While some industry experts expect smartphones to always dominate the mobile payments process, Frost & Sullivan believes that wearables will match (and maybe even leapfrog) smartphones as a strong payment modality by 2020. Case in point, Gemalto and Visa are working together to provide contactless payment wristbands to visitors at the 2016 Eurovision Song Contest this month. These wristbands can be used to make payments at any Visa ready contactless POS terminal in the world, and attendees will be able to continue using the wristbands for payments for the next six months — long after the event is over. While this is a more “traditional” use of an NFC-enabled wearable — event management and mobile payments — the ability to leverage the payment capability AFTER the event is innovative and a great way to build adoption.

Safety First

NFC used with Big Data can keep people informed in the event of an emergency, and VeepWorks set out to do just that. In the aftermath of the shooting at the Sandy Hook elementary school in 2012, many people had no idea what was occurring around them or where they should go in the days after the event. VeepWorks built a platform to alert individuals of an emergency in a specific location regardless of where they are. VeepWorks uses NFC to access multiple data sources. It can leverage IoT infrastructure to identify gunshots, which in turn sets off a cascading series of alerts to the individuals in that area. By feeding all those alerts into a Big Data analytics application, it can provide individuals with much more information about their particular situation than they might be able to get from traditional sources like newscasts.

Gun safety is a huge topic of discussion in today’s society. And regardless of where one falls on the guns debate, there are solutions to make firearms safer. Jonathan Mossberg, whose family is known for its premier line of firearms, is leading the way with a simple piece of jewelry — an NFC enabled ring. The ring “talks” to a circuit board embedded in a firearm to let it know the user is authorized. The ring must be within centimeters of the gun for the gun to fire.

L’Oreal cares about your skin.  As the world’s leading beauty company and a huge proponent of research and innovation, it is currently testing an adhesive patch — no thinner than a human hair — that helps consumers track their sun exposure. The skin patch uses NFC and photosensitive dye that helps users track their exposure to the sun’s ultraviolet radiation. Currently in beta testing, L’Oreal expects to make the tattoo-like devices available at dermatologist offices, select retailers and the Women’s Dermatological Society skin-check events.

Fashion Trends

Sports apparel company Adidas is making Climacool Smart Suits for racing drivers smarter. The suits can be authenticated as meeting strict FIA regulations when scanned with an NFC-capable smartphone or device. Smarter still, it stores driver identification details and, potentially the medial details of the wearer in case of a crash.  Think of the possibility of providing medics vital information immediately at the scene of an accident.

Tap a tee with an NFC smartphone and learn more about Nikola Tesla. The T-shirt, now available in the MIT campus museum, connects you to a special video and other content about once of the most under-represented men of modern science. While not haute couture, this is a really cool, educational use of NFC in wearables, and I expect to see Sheldon Cooper wearing it in a new episode of big Bang Theory.


About The Author

Robert Sabella, author of NFC for Dummies

Robert Sabella

Robert Sabella brings more than 20 years of legal and entrepreneurial experience to Interact Ventures and is considered one of the most innovative leaders in developing and bringing new technologies to market. Mr. Sabella is an entrepreneur, investor, inventor, innovator and author. He started several companies, invested in a few more and invented a few products along the way with two current patent-pending applications. He authored two books, RFID+ Cram Exam and NFC for Dummies™. He is passionate about start-ups, both as an entrepreneur and an investor. Mr. Sabella’s focus is on all things related to mobile proximity, specifically RFID, NFC, BLE and mobile apps.

Mr. Sabella created and co-founded the proximity ID technology focused accelerator program, AccelerateNFC, as well as co-organized the global hackathon series TrackHack™: The Proximity ID Hackathon. He continues to train people and organizations around the world on proximity technologies and the solutions they enable through the NFC Bootcamps.

Mr. Sabella earned a bachelor’s and a master’s degree in philosophy and a Juris Doctor from Boston College and is a member of the New York and Massachusetts bar.

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