We are not lacking in options when it comes to wearables. Hundreds of companies are racing to be part of the wearable technology industry, all keen to produce the next big thing.
But the fact is all these businesses are rushing in head first without taking the time to understand what consumers want, to provide a truly desirable product that fills a gap in the already saturated technology market. “Me-too” devices are flooding in with fitness wristbands and clunky smart watches, most of which don’t offer any features the smartphone sat in our pocket isn’t capable of.
Fitness tracking arm bands have experienced a high rate of abandonment, after all, for most of us knowing our heart rate from minute to minute is only interesting for so long. The fact is we all want more than a basic heart monitor or pedometer.
Much like marketing campaigns, people want technology that specifically applies to their needs. Smartphones give us apps which mean we can adapt the device to our particular interests and needs, as and when they arise. The same needs to be possible for wearable devices, whether it’s a different device for different sports, or downloadable apps that allow users to customise their device and the information it provides.
We’ve been talking about wearables for several years now, but adoption is still low. The opinion of many seems to be that too many of these new products still look like prototypes.
The feeling seems to be that everyone is watching and waiting for the technology to be taken to the next level, for both features and design to advance, much like when the iPhone was released and smartphone adoption exploded.
Fashion and aesthetics play a huge part in the buying decision. Wearable technology needs to be, well, wearable. We want our accessories to look on trend! This is why Misfit, the activity-tracker company have teamed up with Swarovski to create a product that’s both functional and fashionable.
For those of you keeping an eye out, it’s important to know that there are some great companies out there with innovative ways of thinking. For example, FitLinxx, creators of the AmpStrip, a rechargeable plaster-like device which can be stuck to the user’s chest for seven days, providing heart rate information, argue that:
‘We are not going to win the wearables war or be successful unless the product is invisible and kind of fades into your life’.
America’s fastest growing photography company, GoPro have a similar hypothesis, providing harnesses which allow users to attach the camera to the chest or helmets, allowing memories to be caught on camera without restricting or interrupting the wearer. Check out our GoPro blog for more information.
Also, thinking outside the box is the Mota SmartRing which displays your latest app notifications, such as Facebook and text messages on a small screen. The concept is that people can be up-to-date without having to remove their phone from their handbag or pocket.
The market for wearables is a work in progress – but we all know there is a lot of potential. According to the Consumer Electronics Association (CEA) there is an expected growth of 358 percent with a total of 10.8m sales in the US from 2014 to 2015.
Watch this space…