First there were desktop computers, then the world went mobile and now it seems that our inevitable future is wearable tech. Raise your hand if you own a fit-wrist / a Smartwatch or, god forbid – Google Glass? If you own one of these devices, ask yourself – did they actually make your life better and more productive? Studies suggest that the answer to that question for most people is yes. But wait, there’s a “but”.
It mostly refers to professional productivity, and luckily for us – there’s more to life than career. And here comes what might be the problem with wearable tech, it still doesn’t fit most people’s daily needs.
Most of the wearable devices related to fitness basically count the steps walked, the calories burnt and the heart rate. Another type of wearable tech are smartwatches which offer options based on that smartphone in your pocket but a ‘smaller-screen-limited-options-experience’. Then there’s the functionality question – smartphones basically eliminated the need for a watch and the launch of Motorola, Samsung, LG and Apple’s devices almost seems like a questionable comeback for watches. Not to mention the more advanced wearable tech accessories -i.e. Google Glass- are pricy, offer questionable privacy and don’t even get me started on the design. Fashion and trends have the tendency to return once in a while, but once they do they need to offer some sort of evolution. Cutting the wireless cords from the actual smartphone would be a good innovative start (Right, Apple?).
Then there’s the other side of the curtain – marketers and developers.
If done right, wearable tech might be the end of the smartphone. Marketers and developers need to read themselves to a completely different world. Developers need to consider smaller screen sizes as opposed to the ever growing smartphone screens (trust me, you won’t wear an 8’ watch), develop designated apps, and so on. Marketers need to find a way to benefit from the potential data they will get from the wearable tech. If and when the privacy issues will be sorted out, marketers will find themselves targeting an audience which might actually listen. That’s due to the fact that they will have precise, more reliable data which essentially should be an advantage for both the advertiser and the consumer.
When considering the challenges, wearable tech has to overcome quite a few; it seems that the current catalog of wearables isn’t fit for more than early adopters.
Developers will adjust themselves, but what about the rest? Prices need to drop, battery life needs to improve, privacy issues need to be regulated and most importantly, actual functionality has to be central. One way could be closing the gap between technology and fashion, something that some major companies are already looking into.
Only then wearable tech will finally go mainstream and only then marketers will enjoy better data that will open the door for a more personal marketing experience.
Boris Shurp is Marketing Executive at dmg