Feature Story

Wearables, but make it fashion

by Stephanie Chan

Wearables, but make it fashion

From denim jackets to jewelry, wearable tech is expanding beyond just the smart watch.

Everyone loves a good smart watch, a fitness wearable—but are we, as a society, ready to embrace the connected jean jacket? Levi’s thinks so.

With 5G and Wi-Fi 6 powered wearables and sensors in the near horizon, expect even more things to become connected. We’ll be able to touch our sleeves to pick up a call, or don glasses that bring Amazon’s Alexa with you everywhere. Wearables will not only fill our closets and jewelry boxes, they will become essential tools for work, health, and play.

Let’s explore some of the newest wearables out there—the connected devices that are infiltrating fashion as we know it.  

Wearables disguised as clothes

Levi’s and Google first introduced their smart jacket back in 2017, and now they’re gearing up for its second release. While it mostly looks like a regular trucker jacket, the sleeves are outfitted with an electronic tab (the Jacquard Tag) that slips into the jacket cuff and pairs with your phone. With this new tag, users can keep their phone in their jackets, purses, and bags, and still stay connected on-the-go. By tapping on your sleeve or covering it fully with your hand, the jacket will allow you to control different things. You’ll be able to pick up phone calls, hear a traffic report, control your music selection, and more.

The jacket will launch this fall, and you can try it yourself for $198.

Amazon’s Alexa is looking to enter your closet, as well. Amazon released a bunch of new connected devices in late September, including earbuds, glasses, and a ring. “Echo Frames” are Alexa-enabled glasses that bring the home speaker with you. These prescription-ready glasses are voice-controlled—you can say, “Alexa, what’s the time?” and the smart wearable will tell you the time out of two speakers on either side of the glasses.

Echo Loop” is a thick, titanium ring that also has a built-in microphone and speakers. Like the Frames, you can speak into the device to ask questions.  You can get the Frames for $179.99 and the Loop for $129.99.

Clearly, the trend for big tech is to create wearables that blend in seamlessly with your look.

With 5G, everything is becoming connected

With the advent of 5G, we can expect more things like jackets, glasses, and rings to become connected.

VentureBeat outlines some of the things we can anticipate wth the coming of 5G, including faster smartphone speeds, 8K videos with video conferencing and low-latency games, 5G-powered AR headsets, improved 5G location services, car-to-car communication, 5G enterprise networking, and of course, more 5G wearables and sensors.

One of the biggest industries where we can expect a 5G and wearable makeover is healthcare. Smart watches and fitness wearables are already transforming the way patients and medical practitioners manage health.

Cisco’s Scott Robinson writes that these wearables are able to provide real-time information, the analytics or vital statistics like heart rate, speed, calories burned, and more. Wearables can also serve as a proxy for a care taker. While patients can often fudge the answers to questions about alcohol, drug, or food intake, wearables can monitor these levels on its own.

Learn why smart wearables are helping us get back in control of our own health by clicking here.

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