Wearable Tech Drives Rise of Human Cloud

SAN ANTONIO, TX /BUSINESS WIRE/ -- Rackspace Hosting announced findings of an in-depth study into the use of wearable technology and its impact on consumers and businesses. The research finds that, although only 18% UK and U.S. respondents have actually used wearable technology, 82% of those users in America and 71% in Britain believe that these cloud-powered devices have enhanced their lives.

The "The Human Cloud: Wearable Technology from Novelty to Productivity" study was commissioned by Rackspace in association with the Centre for Creative and Social Technology (CAST) at Goldsmiths, University of London. The exploration was supported by quantitative research into attitudes and behavior regarding wearable technology among 4,000 UK and U.S. adults.

Key findings from the survey respondents who have used wearable technology include:

  • 63% of UK and 71% of American respondents stated that wearable tech has improved their health and fitness.
  • One in three respondents in the UK and U.S. believe that wearable tech has helped their career development.
  • 39% of UK respondents and 53% of U.S. respondents say that wearable tech has made them feel more intelligent.
  • Wearable tech has boosted self-confidence for 46% of respondents in the UK and 54% in the U.S.
  • 53% of respondents from the UK and 60% of those from the U.S. believe that wearable tech helps them feel more in control of their lives.
  • 27% of UK respondents and 36% of U.S. respondents use wearable tech to enhance their love lives.

"We are at the beginning of massive mainstream uptake of wearable devices, with the launch of Google Glass set to further boost adoption," said Robert Scoble, Startup Liaison Officer and Technology Evangelist at Rackspace. "However, it is important to note that wearable technology and the cloud go hand in hand—together they provide the rich data insights that help users better manage many aspects of their lives. Cloud computing is powering the wearable technology revolution. It allows the data generated by wearable devices to be captured, analyzed, and made readily accessible whenever users need it."

Crowd-Sourced Public Service Improvements
Wearable technology will enable crowd-sourced public service improvements. With adoption becoming mainstream, wearable technology will form an integral part of the Internet of Things—a growing network of devices—from wearable tech and smartphones to road traffic sensors—that connect to the Internet to share data in real time. The research revealed that citizens may be willing to share the data generated by wearable technology with central or local government, enabling authorities to crowd-source insights that can be used to enhance public services.

  • 19% of Brits and 22% of Americans would be willing to use a wearable device that monitors location for central government activity.
  • One in three British and American citizens would be willing to use a wearable health and fitness monitor that shares personal data with the NHS or a healthcare provider.

"The rich data created by wearable tech will drive the rise of the 'human cloud' of personal data," said Chris Brauer, Co-Director of CAST at Goldsmiths, University of London. "With this comes countless opportunities to tap into this data, whether it's connecting with third parties to provide more tailored and personalized services or working closer with healthcare institutions to get a better understanding of their patients. We are already seeing wearable technology being used in the private sector with health insurance firms encouraging members to use wearable fitness devices to earn rewards for maintaining a healthier lifestyle. It is likely that the public sector will look to capitalize on the wearable technology trend with a view to boosting telehealth and smart city programs."

With such a strong emphasis being placed on establishing a healthier lifestyle across the UK and U.S., adoption of wearable technology among health-conscious consumers is on the rise.

"The growth of wearable technology devices tailored for the health and fitness market is exploding and is a trend we expect to continue. With 16 million registered members and more than 200,000 health and fitness activities being logged daily by MapMyFitness users, our ability to effectively manage this data is critical," said Robin Thurston, CEO of MapMyFitness. "By leveraging Rackspace's Hybrid Cloud solutions, we're able to capture and process this data in real time, while also analyzing trends in a way that helps drive value back to our business and deliver a more compelling user experience."

Privacy Concerns
One in five think Google Glass should be banned due to privacy concerns. Despite the many benefits that wearable technology is set to deliver for both consumers and governments, there remain serious concerns about privacy, with 51% of respondents citing it as a barrier to adoption. Almost two thirds (62%) think Google Glass and other wearable devices should be regulated in some form, with 20% calling for these devices to be banned entirely.

For more information on the study, please the organization's Web site.

For full copies of the study, interviews with experts, and case studies please contact [email protected].

About the Research
The CAST research team was immersed for three weeks in online and offline social spaces (digital ethnography) while using multiple and mixed methods to acquire data (Radial Research). As a method of digital ethnography, Radial Research is a unique approach designed by CAST researchers to rapidly obtain credible and transparent findings. Starting from an epicenter, in this case wearable technology and/or wearable computing, the researchers follow lines of possibility found through trend analysis, crowdsourcing, interviews, and online interactions to make visible spaces and subjects using wearable technology. Each site is distinct but interacts and intersects with others. From these sources, participants were identified for interviews or to participate in logging their daily use of devices in a private blog (experience sampling). Some of these participants used their own device, while others were given a device to trial for a specified duration.

Twenty-six participants were interviewed between May 6–17. One year five and one year six primary school students were given Jawbone Ups to use for a day at school and interviewed throughout the day. Nine participants wore a device and blogged about their experiences between May 13–17.

Employees in a company that gives devices for everyday wear were interviewed but wish to remain anonymous.

About Rackspace
Rackspace Hosting is the open cloud company and founder of OpenStack, the standard open-source operating system for cloud computing. Headquartered in San Antonio, Rackspace delivers its renowned Fanatical Support to more than 200,000 business customers, from data centers on four continents. Rackspace is a leading provider of hybrid clouds, which enable businesses to run their workloads where they run most effectively, whether on the public cloud, a private cloud, dedicated servers, or a combination of these platforms. Rackspace has been recognized by Bloomberg BusinessWeek as a Top 100 Performing Technology Company and is featured on Fortune's list of 100 Best Companies to Work For.

Suggested Articles

Power management is critical for many products. One expert advises pushing complexity to areas where energy is less of a concern.

HP leads the pack, but Apple sees 36% surge in notebooks, desktops compared to a year ago

New York City residents moving upstate will give hundreds of towns extra tax revenue to invest in new streetlights with IoT sensors, NYPA foresees