Wearable Technology: Do or Don’t?

July 29, 2015

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Apple Watch

Wearable: (noun) an item that can be worn – examples include smart watches, fitness trackers, glasses and jewelry.  Whether you’re a technology early-adopter or prefer to wait until your grandkids are old enough to teach you how to use it (also referred to as a “late-adopter”), you’ve probably heard this term tossed around over the past few years. It’s a buzzword that’s been at the center of many debates – specifically the argument that we rely too heavily on gadgets and technology. So much so that we neglect human interactions and experiences. And now companies like Apple and FitBit want us to wear them too?

 

After the much-anticipated release of Google Glass and its (how do we put this lightly?) subsequent flop, there has been some major skepticism around the concept of wearable technology and whether it’s worthy of a place in our day-to-day lives. We asked two of our resident tech gurus to give us their thoughts.

 

Bob Deininger, Media Director:

The concept of wearables is fairly new, and because of that, the industry doesn’t have an agreed upon methodology for sizing the market.  There is one estimate that it will be a 135 million device market in 2018 and another estimate that it will be a 330 million device market in 2018 of smartwatches alone.

 

As of today, ownership is still low. The whole point of wearables is to provide easy utility and a good user experience, and the technology thus far hasn’t proven to have killer application…. That is until the Apple Watch? It’s still fairly new, but seems to be getting good reviews due to the in-store payment option. According to research from Stratos, more than two-thirds of US smartphone owners said they would prefer to use a wearable device over a mobile phone to make in-store payments. We are a media agency, so from a media standpoint, paid advertising through wearables is still to be determined. Under Armour and Zappos have tested a joint marketing program through fitness tracking apps, but it is still uncharted territory. That being said, make no mistake that marketers will leverage data collected from wearables to target consumers.

 

Greg Angland, Media Director:

I’ve had the Apple Watch for nearly two months, and to be honest I initially struggled to understand why I needed it (aside from the fact that I’m an early adopter of technology, and Apple products specifically.) I originally purchased the watch for its fitness tracking, but the longer I have it the more interesting its application becomes on a day-to-day basis. To Bob’s point, I don’t think there’s a “must-have killer application” yet, although there are a lot of good perks—for example, Siri works really well and is fully integrated. I have quickly gotten used to not having to pull my phone out to check text messages, or to be sure I don’t miss a call or skip a song. Maps is great too, especially for walking. There is no more staring at your phone while you aimlessly walk down the street looking like you don’t know where you’re going.

 

The tactic wrist response is also a very cool technological aspect to the Apple Watch. It is almost like someone is tapping your wrist very subtly.  It notifies you when you have alerts, texts, phone calls, etc. and you can set the strength of it and what actions you’re notified for. Because the screen is so small, I’m not sure of media application from an advertising perspective, but the data and usage applications seem endless.  You definitely don’t “need” an Apple Watch, but it’s pretty darn cool and as I recall it wasn’t too many years ago when people said you don’t “need” an iPhone; we know how that turned out…

 

What are your thoughts on wearbles? Tweet us @Norbella to share.