Internet of Things (also known as IoT) is changing people’s lives at many levels daily and in a different part of the world and it is gradually taking Nigeria by the storm. Every day, we see people wearing beautiful watches that ooze of sophistication. Some people go on to buy them just to have one of the “in-things.” But since we are aware we are in a technology generation, there is a need to understand the workings behind this device so that we maximize the net benefit derived from its purchase and use.
Internet of Things is an ecosystem of connected device. That is, it is basically connecting devices with a switch (on/off) to the Internet. The devices may range from mobile phones, cars, headphones, washing machines to wearables. Smartwatches fall under the wearable technology of Internet of Things.
The wearable technology is a smart electronic device with microcontrollers. These devices perform many functions such as checking time, tracking exercise, monitor heart rate and exercise. They create constant, convenient, portable and hands-free access to electronics and computers. Common examples of wearable IoT devices include smartwatches and fitness trackers. These devices generally rely on Bluetooth, WiFi, compatible software or phone connectivity to be functional.
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Most smartwatches depend on smartphones to access the maximum benefits they can provide. Common examples of smartwatches are those produced by Samsung and Apple.
Functions of Smartwatches
Smartwatches provide important functions such as:
- Health monitoring: The most common use of smartwatches is health monitoring. They monitor vital signs and can even save lives. There are several examples of people who discovered irregular heart rate or other health issues from a timely detection by their smartwatch. Earlier this year, Apple announced a new iteration of their smartwatch products that can measure health vitals like glucose levels, track blood pressure and more closely monitor heart health
- Viewing notifications at a glance
- Picking calls.
- Activity tracker during workout and daily activities.
- For mobile payment.
- Managing personal finances
- Set alarms and reminders
- Control home appliances in a smart home
- Receive updates about news, weather and sports
- Monitor baby cribs
- Provide emergency care to the elderly
- Gather continuous electronic health records to allow better healthcare services.
How Smartwatches Work
Smartwatches are embedded with sensors that are close to the body. These sensors monitor elements such as temperature, movement and pulse. This data is gotten and connected to the smartphone or home network through Bluetooth, Wi-Fi or phone connectivity. Then the information is passed to the cloud where the data is read and converted into information such as health vitals.
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Smartwatches which do not provide health information work almost the same way. Rather than being embedded with sensors to collect data from the user’s activities, the smartwatch connects directly to the smartphone through connected apps via Bluetooth or Wi-Fi. The smartwatch can then display notifications, read messages, receive phone calls and perform several other functions.
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