Rahul Raj
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Consumers are enthusiastically embracing wearables to track their health and how they sleep or eat. International Data Corporation (IDC) predicts that by 2019, wearable device shipments worldwide will reach 173.4 million units, which indicates a five-year compound annual growth rate (CAGR) of 22.9%. This growth is being spurred by the arrival of low power radio chips, new sensors, and hands-free information retrieval system. While the technology is still in its infancy, it is poised to take wireless connectivity to a whole new level – akin to the smartphone revolution.

So what does this mean for your business? Wearable devices are a natural extension of smart phones and tablets, designed to collect data in a more organic manner. The data generated from these devices gives you intimate and contextual consumer intelligence, allowing you to build deeper, always-on relationships with your customers. Here’s a look at how wearables technology is helping companies create a greater impact in three different industries.

Deliver patient-centric healthcare

Companies like Apple, Fitbit, Nike, Jawbone, and Samsung are making huge strides in the healthcare domain. From fitness watches to flexible patches, wearable devices allow consumers to continuously monitor their health by tracking their sleeping habits, heart rates, temperature, fitness activities, and so on. Consumers can choose to share alarming signs with family members, physicians, or hospitals. This can particularly impact patient care during emergency situations, allowing responders to act on time and make life-saving decisions.

A platform for wearables driven by analytics has the potential to transform the healthcare ecosystem. On a micro level, it can help you gain useful insights and offer real-time personalized recommendations, drastically improving patient outcomes. At a macro level, the data can be analyzed to uncover correlations, trends, and patterns to enhance clinical delivery and population health management.

Optimizing insurance

Thanks to the growing personal health related data that these devices generate, wearable technology is already taking on a bigger role within the insurance industry. Insurers are beginning to use the data to improve risk and injury claims management, underwriting, and marketing to help contain rising costs. Typically, insurers interact with customers when the premium is due or a claim is made. Wearable devices can open a world of opportunities through on-going interaction, allowing you to execute better, frequent, and personalized customer engagement strategies.

In fact, many insurers are starting to incentivize their customers to encourage them to wear these devices. And they are offering discounts for healthy behavior. Manulife Financial Corporation, the largest life insurer in Canada, has partnered with Vitality group, a wellness program provider, to reenergize their customer relationship. Using wearables and data analytics, they track their customers’ fitness levels and reward those that take measures to improve their health.

Personalize experiences in retail

Retailers like The Container Store have been using wearable technology to improve in-store communications among employees, and streamline collaboration. But retailers can connect to consumers’ wearables as well.

As an increasing number of stores start to sync with shoppers’ wearable devices, you will be able to bridge the gap between an individual’s pre-store and in-store behavior, by correlating purchase history, and psychographic and demographic information with social data. Using wearable technology data, you can send real time and targeted deals, ongoing offers, coupons, and any relevant promotions to customer devices as they walk into or near the store.

With wearable technology, you can align customer experience strategy with evolving expectations and deliver hyper personalized messages. Wearables can also be used to transform retail operations. Line-of-sight wearables help trace customers’ eye movements and browsing patterns. This insight into customer behavior can help you visualize and enhance store layouts, and optimize space utilization to maximize footfall and sales.

Prepare for the next digital frontier

Wearable technology is set to disrupt customer engagement, business models, and market dynamics. The true potential of wearable technology lies in data analytics. Integrating wearables with Big Data and analytics can provide the insights necessary to drive powerful customer engagement, optimize business performance, and capture larger market share. With wearables steadily making their way into everyday life, this is the right time for you to consider its impact and devise business-aligned strategies to leverage the technology for better outcomes.


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