The most recent wave of wearable technology is showing vast improvements in its development since the first products. Many of the first attempts such as Fitbit had high prices for products that sometimes were lacking in accuracy and were not discrete in terms of blending with the user’s day to day appearance.
Recently, there has been a push for improvements that make wearable technology more desirable and useful. An attractive feature of wearable tech is whether it can be ‘invisible’; a lot of the recent innovations are becoming smaller yet gaining efficiency due to increased power. Wearables now are more intertwined with fashion as users in the past were likely to not wear devices due to them standing out. Jewelry is seen as a way of keeping the technology on the user every day; for example, future innovations could have the technology in a thin film under something as small as a ring.
A product that is due to be on the market soon is the eagerly anticipated Apple Watch. The new Apple product is designed to make the best of smartphone technology available on your wrist. The watch will enable the user to see notifications, messages, GPS systems and all the useful tools from a smartphone without having to get out your mobile device. The watch comes in many different designs so that the consumer can have something stylish as well as practical. The device most importantly has the potential to manage your money. You’ll soon be able to manage your bills, make transfers, check statements and pay with it.
Many wearable technologies are focused around health and fitness; however one company is involving the technology that senses bodily functions to be involved with payment systems. The Nymi band recognizes the unique rhythm of the user’s heart to act as a way authenticating your identity. It can be linked to devices to use instead of having to type in pin codes, passwords and soon for payments.
Seamless integration of wearable technology to other devices has been identified as being very important in the future of the products. The most common are fitness devices that link with smart devices such as phones, tablets and laptops to track health information that now can include things such as BMI, blood alcohol level and even a posture coach. Other technology goes past just human use to now having collars that can monitor your dog’s vitals to help check for illness and can be shared directly with the vet.
The future of wearable technology is becoming ever more efficient and informative. Products are more fashion conscious and interconnected with other devices to make them more desirable for everyday use for customers. The question in my mind is how long until wearables connect with home devices? Will we soon get home and your heart monitor unlocks the front door, your wearable fitness device will tell the fridge to pour you a cool glass of water as your hydration levels are low and the air conditioning comes on because your body temperature is found to be slightly high. The rate at which the technology is developing means it may not be too far off.
About the Author: Harry Kempe, a marketing intern at IIR USA, who works on various aspects of the industry including social media, marketing analysis and media. He is a recent graduate of Newcastle University who previously worked for EMAP Ltd. and WGSN as a marketing assistant on events such as the World Architecture Festival, World Retail Congress and Global Fashion Awards. He can be reached at hkempe@IIRUSA.com.