The increase in wearable technology means it’s time for big business opportunities – that’s exactly what the University of Canterbury is working on.
Shrinking technology has paved the way for powerful computers we can hold in our hands – and now we can even wear them on the back of our wrists. “The trends suggest that we have only just begun to scratch the surface on wearable technology,” says University of Canterbury (UC) Associate Professor Annette Mills, whose research explores how technology is adopted and used.
It’s a field ripe with opportunities and at UC, students can explore one of the most exciting new industries going.
Wearables are small fashion and fitness devices that give instant feedback on our activities and collect a lot of data. Making sense of this data is the domain of big data, a growing field in information systems. “There are huge opportunities for businesses, from developing marketing campaigns based on location and shopping preferences to transforming industries like insurance and healthcare,” says Annette.
Researchers at UC’s Human Interface Technology Laboratory (HIT Lab NZ) have been leading an effort to create wearable interfaces that are effective without being distracting. Professor Rob Lindeman, the research leader at the HIT Lab NZ, and his students draw on UC expertise from psychology, physical education and digital humanities. “The most interesting problems need multiple viewpoints to come up with the best solutions, while always keeping the user in mind,” Rob says.
Creating secure and efficient ways to collect information will be important as we think of new ways to build computers into our clothing. A major in Information Systems through UC’s Bachelor of Commerce covers the skills needed to help new wearable technology businesses use information quickly and efficiently. There’s no limit to where tiny tech may go in the future.
– Mike McRae