The way that technology is now a part of our daily lives is extraordinary. Who would have thought that you could have a map, a GPS tracker, pedometer and a telephone in the palm of my hand today?
The race for manufacturers to create devices that we can wear is becoming more prominent in our daily lives. When Nike teamed up with Apple 7 years ago with the Nike+ system to keep track of runs, it helped the sportswear giant develop a greater connection with their customers (pun intended) by creating products that utilised this system. It also helped Apple to tap into Nike’s market though their synergistic ties, developing apps and hardware that enabled owners to track their runs, map routes and sync their music with their workouts.
Nike further extended their adventures in technology by releasing the FuelBand and setting up the Accelerator program in 2012, aimed at leveraging their technology through their API and SDK for Nike+.
The widely reported, Kickstarter-backed Pebble watch project is another wearable device that enables you to operate certain functions of your smartphone without reaching into your pocket. The device also enables developers to create applications for the watch, ranging from fitness to…
Google are planning to gain a foothold through the creation of Google Glass, an augmented reality device worn as a pair of glasses that displays information to the user in a similar format to a smartphone, operating via voice-activated commands.
Such a device offers many application and product collaboration opportunities for Google. By marrying technology and fashion through Glass, manufacturers can create products with aesthetic appeal that target a new customer demographic, or adapt their current range of products to accommodate Glass, thus extending the lifecycle of eyewear products in developed markets.
Despite the potential possibilities that Google Glass presents, there may be some drawbacks regarding Glass’ functionality, most notably the privacy issue. The trade-off with ‘free’ internet services such as Google, Twitter and Facebook is that your input (personal data) becomes a commodity that such services use to generate advertising revenue through the creation of targeted, personalised ads.
Furthermore, being tracked using such products like Glass does raise personal security concerns about who has access to the data and how it is protected. A Fast Company article outlines a list of places that are likely to be resistant to the use of Glass in certain public and private places.
What does it mean for marketers?
Marketers need to consider whether wearable tech is relevant to their company activities. Architecture and design companies, outdoor adventure or athletics companies may find wearable tech products useful to their business, for instance, especially in terms of the different functions and options that such technology provides. Another consideration is whether wearable tech complements their target market. Such products could be seen by a company’s target demographic as pointless or a privacy infringement. Conversely, they could embrace the technology and see it as way of simplifying daily activities, perhaps even provide opportunities to discover new things they would not have thought about.
Either way, wearable technology is not going away any time soon, and I believe that if Google can strike the balance between protecting customer privacy and providing a purposeful product with numerous applications, they could make the world a much smaller place.
What are your views on wearable tech? Please comment below or tweet me @ChuxOnye