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The development of 5G technology has resulted in positive impacts and brought about great waves of innovation throughout the Asia-Pacific region in recent years. The advanced network has enhanced performance and operations among industries. This has inspired industry leaders to develop more technology using the 5G network, such as the integration of wearable technologies.

5G wearables’ capabilities (including low-latency network, connectivity and its ability to process real-time data) can be used to improve business operations. The integration of 5G and AI into wearable tech, such as AR glasses, smartwatches, and other devices with sensors can be a huge upgrade for companies undergoing digitalization.

Integration of 5G into Wearable Technology

One significant benefit of 5G wearable technology is its ability to utilize real-time data analytics in everyday business operations. For example, manufacturing plants equipped with wearable technology which are connected to 5G networks are able to receive real-time updates on production metrics, machine status, and quality control information. This real-time feedback loop enables quick decision-making, which in turn reduces downtime and maximizes the efficiency of production.

Using 5G wearables in manufacturing and logistics not only ensures operational efficiency but can also improve safety. Industrial wearables can be used to maximize safety protocols that are already in place.  Wearables with built-in sensors can track employees’ vitals in real time, allowing companies to better protect their employees from risks. These devices actively help to create a safer workplace by integrating gas detectors, radiation detectors, and environmental sensors.

Meanwhile, wearable technology can also be beneficial in healthcare. 5G can potentially transform telemedicine, allowing immediate communication between wearables and healthcare providers, as well as real-time remote patient monitoring.

Studies project that the wearable medical devices market in the Asia-Pacific region will increase from USD 10.60 billion in 2024 to USD 22.27 billion in 2029, with a compound annual growth rate (CAGR) of 16.01%. The growth will mainly be driven by the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic and the increasing priority of prevention and long-term patient care.

Japan’s healthcare sector has reportedly been a leader in deploying 5G-powered wearables. Smartwatches equipped with health monitoring sensors that are connected to 5G networks enable real-time monitoring of patients' vital signs. Healthcare providers can remotely track patients’ conditions, ensuring timely interventions, while reducing the strain on healthcare facilities. This not only improves patient outcomes but also contributes to the overall efficiency of the healthcare system.

In December 2021, Huawei launched the Huawei Watch D— a smartwatch that functions as a wrist-based blood pressure monitor— signifying Huawei's entry into the wearable medical devices market, which is a segment that reflects the evolution of the industry towards the incorporation of advanced health-monitoring features into everyday technology. The Chinese Drug Administration has classified this product as a Class II medical device.

The Future of 5G Wearables

There is no doubt that 5G wearables offer multiple benefits , however, challenges may hinder the expansion of these technologies, including data privacy and security concerns, as well as high investments associated with implementing these technologies.

The need for robust and resilient cybersecurity measures should be prioritized as businesses become more dependent on devices that are connected to one another and the exchange of data in real time. In order to prevent unauthorized access and data breaches, it is essential to secure sensitive information that is transmitted between wearable devices and backend systems. Stringent regulatory frameworks should be put in place to safeguard the privacy of users and establish guidelines for the responsible utilization of the data collected by these technologies.

Companies should also be willing to invest a substantial amount of infrastructure to facilitate the widespread adoption of 5G wearables in the region. The deployment of 5G networks across Asian countries needs to be accelerated, and comprehensive coverage needs to be ensured, in order for countries to fully benefit from these technologies.

The integration of 5G into wearable technologies has the potential to redefine the capabilities of devices used for businesses. Adopting the opportunities offered by these technologies can empower businesses and position them at the forefront of the digital revolution across the region.

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