The Pros and Cons of Wearable Technology

While it may seem as though wearable technology and personal lifestyle applications have been around for a long time, it’s only recently that its popularity has exploded. Smartwatches, fitness trackers, smart jewellery, game simulators, and other health monitoring devices have evolved into everyday essentials for most end users, regardless of their technical know-how.

Wearable technology aims to seamlessly integrate data and metrics into improving our health and well-being. The rise of this trend has seen millions of people wax lyrical about seeing improved cardiovascular fitness and weight loss, to name but a few. Brands like Fitbit, Apple Watch, and Google Glass, among others, have become synonymous with products that are inherently built to improve the lifestyles of those who wear them.

The global wearable technology market is set to register a compound annual growth rate (CAGR) of roughly 17.6% over a forecast period of 2022 to 2027. The market itself is, at the time of writing, approximately worth $186.48 billion, and is expected to reach $493.26 billion by 2029. This suggests that the market is prime for even more opportunities, and especially with sustainability proving a key focus for many industries, seeing the greater seamless intertwining of fashion and technology seems likely sooner rather than later.

However, while wearable devices possess plenty of advantages and should rightfully be celebrated as a cause for good, there are some potential considerations to bear in mind. This article explores the main benefits and drawbacks of adopting wearable tech and how to mindfully adopt it for the right reasons.


Smartglasses, watches, and other clothing items are emerging as innovative trends that accomplish both the goals of elevating a person’s lifestyle and contributing to a greener future. Many products are manufactured using eco-friendly and biodegradable materials, and given their expected lifespan, they are less likely to contribute to e-waste once discarded and no longer fit for purpose.

Sustainable smart wearables – much like immersive sports simulation systems and virtual reality tech – often have energy-efficiency features and biometric sensors that help users reduce energy consumption and make informed choices about exercise and lifestyle.

That said, there are undoubtedly upfront costs associated with their widespread adoption, meaning those on a tight budget may be less fortunate to acquire one. The cost can range from the hundreds to the thousands, depending on the brand and features. Many may view the price as an investment in their health and future, rather than an expense, but it will fall out of many users’ budgets to start with.

Health Data

Wearables can accurately and autonomously monitor metrics like steps, calories burned, heart rate, sleep status, and other patterns pivotal to our daily health. From this, we can make informed choices about when or how we exercise or rest, but fundamentally, the data is there to empower users to become more in tune with their health. Many wearables come with other built-in features like mindfulness, meditation, and more, some of which may only be accessible to users with premium, elevated memberships.

There have been concerns raised about the accuracy of the collected health data by wearable devices. Inaccurate or falsified metrics could mislead users about their fitness levels, which can have a profound impact on mental as well as physical health. Data privacy and security are also prominent concerns if health wearables collect personal or location information that gets shared with third parties.


Wearables are making helpful capabilities more accessible to people, whether that’s in the form of aids for those with hearing difficulties, glucose monitoring for people suffering from diabetes, or fall detection systems for elderly users, to name just a few. These accessibility use cases demonstrate the value of wearables in assisting people with additional needs. However, going a step further, wearables enable easier access to important treatments for patients, and also for doctors to monitor patients remotely while empowering them to be more proactive about their own health.

One caveat in this regard is that wearable technology can be prone to exploitation and hacking, meaning that vulnerable groups could be more susceptible. Whether users lack the correct technical knowledge to protect personal information, or they suffer from physical impairments that make threat detection difficult, their privacy must be safeguarded.

Workplace Wellness

Employers are encouraging the widespread use of fitness technology – including wearables – to promote healthy behaviours among their workforce. Gamification elements that reward employees for reaching activity goals have shown good engagement. In turn, this drives positive lifestyle changes and encourages a greater sense of community among teams, contributing significantly to overall workplace enthusiasm, engagement and morale.

However, there is a risk that mandatory workplace wellness schemes are too invasive on an employee’s personal or professional time. Certain employees would not be comfortable sharing health data with those outside of a workplace’s HR department. Therefore, if you’re considering deploying a workplace wellness scheme, ensure you have complete buy-in from employees and use any desires or concerns to influence how that should look.


Many people invest in wearable technology as a means to increase productivity and efficiency, both in their personal and professional lives. Wearable tech can help them achieve that goal by keeping them connected even while going about their daily business and on-the-go. In a world of instant gratification, wearable tech gives users the ability to access information and data without having to use phones or laptops all the time, something which, in a workplace context, can be seen as poor workplace etiquette.

In light of that, wearable technology can be viewed as unnecessarily distracting, particularly devices that access the Internet and divulge real-time notifications. Pings and alerts throughout the day can mirror those on any smartphone, meaning that users have to carefully balance their usage without developing an overreliance on the devices. Mindfulness is key.

Guidance for Users

With careful evaluation of pros and cons – and a people-first approach – we can harness wearables as a positive force among employees and customers.

Here is some guidance for us all to build better relationships with wearable technology that many often take for granted:

    • Define appropriate usage limits each day
    • Establish how a device could provide vital disability assistance
    • Set clear goals related to habits and lifestyle; if unattainable, adjust them
    • Be discreet when using them during professional activities
    • Budget accordingly – some high-end models may offer way more than what some users need

With a thoughtful and ethical approach, wearable technology offers immense potential as a positive force enabling healthier, more informed lifestyles. However, ‌considerations around privacy, accuracy, and overreliance also require ongoing evaluation.


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