Recent statistics report that the market for wearable technology is growing at a fast rate. Smart glasses, smart watches, and fitness bands will reach sales of approximately $3 billion for 2014. In addition, experts predict that worldwide spending on wearable technology will reach $1.4 billion by 2016.
Staggering numbers, indeed, but how many of these wearables will be used in the workplace as a life-saving measure, not just for recreation or for monitoring one’s fitness and health? The percentage is probably low or non-existent at the moment. However, Robert Griffin, the new Deputy Undersecretary For The Department Of Homeland Security’s Science And Technology Directorate, has a vision that will ultimately lead to saving lives.
In a recent FedScoop article, Griffin outlined Homeland Security’s multimillion-dollar research and development project that will help create public-safety-grade wearables from existing technology over the next three to five years.
“What we’re looking for is not government-off-the-shelf products, but commercial-off-the-shelf products,” Griffin said. “What wearable technology can we adapt that already exists to realize the dream we laid out.”
This project coincides with the relaunch of S&T’s website on November 17th, which DHS expects to help further a national conversation about the next generation of first responders. The new website will feature meetups, hackathons, webinars and challenges all geared toward new S&T directives.
The wearables project is one part of what DHS sees as a larger vision that could span decades into the future.
“The long-term vision is that fully aware, fully connected, fully integrated responder,” Griffin says. “We recognize that it could take us 20 to 30 years, maybe longer to get there. It’s not just a technology issue, it’s usage, it’s operating procedures, it’s governance, training. It’s part of the whole continuum we need to think about.”
For more information about DHS’ vision for wearable technology, read the full FedScoop article.