June 05, 2013
SAN ANTONIO, Texas, June 5 -- Rackspace Hosting today 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 per cent of UK and US respondents have actually used wearable technology, 82 per cent of those users in America and 71 per cent in Britain believe that these cloud-powered devices have enhanced their lives.
“We are at the beginning of massive mainstream uptake of wearable devices, with the launch of Google Glass set to further boost adoption.”
The study, “The Human Cloud: Wearable Technology from Novelty to Productivity,” 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 behaviour regarding wearable technology among 4,000 UK and US adults.
Key findings from the survey respondents who have used wearable technology include:
“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, analysed and made readily accessible whenever users need it.”
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 which can be used to enhance public services.
“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 personalised 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 capitalise 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 US, 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.”
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 over half (51 per cent) of respondents citing it as a barrier to adoption. Almost two thirds (62 per cent) think Google Glass and other wearable devices should be regulated in some form, while one in five (20 per cent) are calling for these devices to be banned entirely.
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 epicentre, 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.
26 participants were interviewed between 6 and 17 May. 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 13 and 17 May.
Employees in a company that gives devices for everyday wear were interviewed but wish to remain anonymous.
About Rackspace Hosting
Rackspace 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. For more information, visit www.rackspace.com.
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