You are what you wear, 2.0

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Wearable smart devices are rapidly changing the face of technology in the 21st century, and the MENA is no stranger to that evolution. Companies in this region are increasingly investing in wearable technology, and though there remain many obstacles to overcome, analysts predict that wearable devices will proliferate over the next few years.

According to the International Data Corporation (IDC), the wearable device market will experience a growth of almost 21 percent in the Middle East and Africa in 2017.

Wearable app development companies are already seeing a great surge in demand on the part of health, travel, and other businesses in the Middle East and beyond.

What they are and what they do

Wearables come in all shapes and sizes, and serve different purposes. The design of a wearable has much to do with its function, as well as ensuring optimal compatibility with the software it uses. Fashion may play a secondary role, especially when it comes to the device’s appearance. This year, it is expected that wearables including a new range of upgraded smart watches, a virtual reality headsets, and vibrating connected jeans will all surface in the Middle East. Consumer technology, from mobile technology to robotics, VR to sports wearables, will be showcased in GITEX Future Stars event, running from October 8 till 12 in Dubai. The event is being held in collaboration with Wamda, and applications are still open.

Wearable devices help keep people connected even while on the go. For this reason, they have proven especially popular among members of Generation Y. They are not only attractive, but lightweight and convenient to carry. Moreover, they’re great for multitasking, as they free up your hands.

They improve employees’ productivity

There is anecdotal evidence that wearable devices are improving productivity and customer comfort in the commercial sectors of the Middle East. For instance, a company invests in augmented reality (AR) glasses so that its employees can better sift through mail orders. Another outfit introduces wearable scanners so that employees don’t have to use their hands for the task. Certain hotel chains begin dispensing wristbands that allow guests to enter their rooms without the use of a key or card, and even enable them to add expenses (meals, for example) to their overall tab.

Employees who get their wearables to the office
are more productive. (Image via Pixabay)

Other companies have adopted a somewhat different track, permitting and even encouraging employees to pursue a BYOD, or bring your own device, strategy.  You bring your own wearable and, if possible, connect it to the company’s network. Ideally, this increases efficiency and helps build a smart environment. It also enables the company to determine the flexibility and limitations of its IT structure.

Challenges and successes

Developing an app that’s appropriate for wearable devices, one that is user-friendly and secure, continues to elude the Middle East and North Africa. As always, it is of utmost importance for companies to protect their IT systems and erect a solid firewall to keep their data safe. Nevertheless, and despite massive smartphone penetration, wearable app development is still in its early stages in the region.

One major success story when it comes to wearable devices is that of the Dubai police force in the UAE. In October 2015, Dubai police introduced the use of Google Glass to identify motorists subject to outstanding arrest warrants or fines. Additionally, the ‘Dubai Police Smart Services Plan’ envisages smart police stations across the emirate by 2018.

Sectors that will adopt this tech

The future of the wearable device is extremely bright in the MENA. Some of the sectors in which wearable technology will probably prove most useful are healthcare, aviation, banking, real estate, and construction. With new innovations hitting the market every few months, wearable gadgets may well soon adorn people working in virtually every field.

Feature image via Stockvault.

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