Taxonomy of Wearable Devices: A Systematic Review of Literature

Taxonomy of Wearable Devices: A Systematic Review of Literature

Neena Sinha (University School of Management Studies, Guru Gobind Singh Indraprastha University, India) and Manali Gupta (University School of Management Studies, Guru Gobind Singh Indraprastha University, India)
Copyright: © 2019 |Pages: 17
DOI: 10.4018/IJTD.2019040101
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This article presents a detailed analysis of research in the field of adoption of wearable devices by taking into consideration existing literature and related theories, frameworks, research methods, type of wearable device under study, geographical distribution, type and level of analysis. A systematic review of related research has been conducted by exploring databases like Elsevier, Emerald, Springer, Sage, Taylor and Francis, the Wiley Online Library, the IEEE, etc., to find articles between 1990 and 2018. A total of 118 articles have been synthesized and reviewed for the analysis. The results show that most of the studies undertaken so far have been empirical and quantitative in nature. A majority of studies focus on more developed nations like USA and show the increasing demand of wearable devices for entertainment, healthcare and fitness purposes. The scope for future research seems to be bright as studies are showing an increasing trend of more studies from the past few years.
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Wearable technology has been in existence in many forms. Its efficacy has been acknowledged by industries, such as military and healthcare, that could manage its scale and meet the expense for its implementation effectively. In recent years, wearables are gradually and steadily finding acceptance as a mass product. In developed nations, they have emerged as the most prevalent personal care devices allowing the user to manage the health and routine chores efficiently anywhere at any time, combining the features of both fashion item and information technology product. The most common devices are fitness trackers, smartwatches, eyewear, healthcare devices etc. Wearable Technology Market will be worth USD 71.23 Billion by 2021 as per a report by Scalar Market Research (2016). As a result, competition between global wearable devices market players like Apple, Google, Fitbit, Jawbone etc. is outrageously increasing.

In the field of academic research, a few authors have conducted review of the extant literature about wearable devices. Khakurel et al published a paper recently in 2018 that identifies 23 categories of wearable devices that have been used in the work environment for activities including monitoring, augmenting, assisting, delivering and tracking based on the review of 34 selected papers (Khakurel et al, 2018). Following the similar path, a review paper by King and Majid (2017) classifies smartwatch-based healthcare applications like activity monitoring, chronic disease self-management, nursing or home-based care, and healthcare education based on selected 27 articles. Another paper reviews various applications of wearable technology for personalized construction safety monitoring (Awolusi et al., 2018). Kalantari, 2017 synthesize the literature of consumers’ adoption of wearable technologies in order to review the adoption theories and identify the influential factors in the adoption decision. A study by Vichitvanichphong et al. (2014) summarizes and categorizes the factors influencing the adoption of assistive technologies among seniors by systematically reviewing 104 selected researches. Chan et al. (2012) presented a cited report review instead of a systematic review by focusing on the current research and development of and the challenges facing (smart wearable systems) for HM (health monitoring). Despite being insightful, it has been observed that most of these studies focus on only one particular application of wearable technology like healthcare, construction etc.

The highly promising, indispensable and increasing role of wearable devices in individuals’ lives has motivated the authors to understand and investigate their current role and future prospects worldwide. The objective of the paper is to analyze and classify the literature comprehensively from varied dimensions. These dimensions include level of analysis, structure of the papers, research methodology, and geographical distribution, type of wearable device under study and application of different theories of technology acceptance. By doing so, this study will not only contribute towards comprehensive knowledge towards the field but will also encourage the practical adoption of these devices. It will also commence a new path for future studies in the related areas. The objective of this study is to study the past pattern, emerging trends and future scope in the field of wearables by filling the research gaps like lack of awareness about under-researched areas of wearable technology, limited understanding about theories, frameworks and methodologies that have been applied so far in context of wearables literature.

This paper is divided into following parts: First, this study begins with the overview of fundamentals, attributes, applications and worldwide demand of wearable devices in general. After that, it focuses on methodology: research questions, information sources and guidelines for literature classification and then it presents the findings followed by discussions and implications of the review. The conclusion and scope for future research has been discussed in the last section.

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