This is the second part of our three-part series on wearable technology | Read the first one here.
Based on where wearable technology is equipped on the human body, we’re able to see all sorts of different actions and opportunities each wearable tech type provides.
Smart Glasses. Smart Glasses project and overlay digital images over the user’s eyes creating a heads up display that provides additional context to the wearer’s surrounding environment like Google Maps directions via Google Glass. Or even projected speeds, distance, and heart rate for athletes and cyclists who use Recon Jet
Virtual Reality. It’s still early for the technology to take off, as the cost of tech components needs to drop for VR to be attainable by the masses. But between Mark Zuckerberg’s $2 billion investment to acquire Oculus Rift earlier this year and brand campaigns like Marriott Hotel’s #GetTeleported taking advantage of the technology, it’s definitely an area to keep on your radar
Headphones. Headphones are going beyond just music streaming. The Intelligent Headset provides the wearer with a 3D audio experience that delivers sounds just like you would hear in real life from ahead, behind, above, and below based on your location and head movement. These devices also can track heart rate and other biometrics like The Dash by Bragi
Smart Apparel. Smart apparel makers like Athos and OMSignal embed biometrics into fabrics that can track muscle movement giving deeper access to your body movement than a personal trainer can provide.
Watches. Now with the announcement of the Apple Watch comes the advent of the watch movement with devices like the Moto 360 and Samsung Gear Fit. The smart watch gives us the ability to keep our mobile devices in our pockets and a screen on our wrists that provides alerts, communication, health notifications, and with a swipe of our wrist at a store, the ability to make commerce transactions
Trackers. Trackers are any objects that can be clipped to any part of the body like our feet, appear as jewelry, or act as additional wristwear that measures our daily activities or reacts to the environments around us. Ringly, a ring tracker, glows different colors when your mobile device receives a phone call, text or email.
The entire body can be outfitted with wearables. This gives us unprecedented access to information to understand ourselves like never before. But in return for this access we have to give up parts of personal space like privacy.
This is where consumers in the wearable tech space start to get a bit skeptical and weigh the values of the technology against data privacy concerns. In a recent PwC study, “The Wearable Future”, the top three consumer concerns are that wearables will…
“…make us vulnerable to security breaches”
“…invade my privacy”
“…hurt our ability to relate to other humans”
As brands, we have to be extremely sensitive to our consumers as we enter this space. We have to be as buttoned up and secure as the wearable tech providers. And since we’re playing so close to the consumer’s personal space, we have to maintain a balance of respect and not inundate our audience with useless messaging and meaningless call to actions.
Let’s go back in time and see why we started adopting wearable technology in the first. You know, before data privacy concerns were a thing. Clearly something triggered people to adopt technologies which in effect changed their behaviors.
So who wore it first? Was body armour the first piece of wearable technology? It comes close. So let’s start there.
WEARABLES INCREASE STRENGTH
Body armor was an ingenious solution that we can trace back to about 1300 B.C. found in a Mycenaean tomb during The Bronze Age in Greece. It was a full suit of armor made of various rings of bronze that protected the body from the knees up to the neck. A bronze helmet was attached at the neck that was also outfitted with slices of boar’s tusk for further protection.
Body armor increased the strengths of its wearer by protecting our vulnerable nature of being human when exposed to the weaponry of battle.
Today, our wearables are able to protect us by forming insights based on the data our bodies create showing us weaknesses into ourselves and providing ways in which we can become stronger as a result.
How will your brand increase the strength of a wearable tech users? What strengths can you provide that will strengthen their adapted behaviors?
WEARABLES SHIFT PERCEPTION
Then the watch came into existence.
It is believed that Peter Heinlen of Nuremberg, Germany created the first “clock-watch” in 1510. Heinlen was known for making small, portable, ornamental spring-powered brass clocks worn as either a pendant or attached to clothing. The clock was was about three inches long and much bigger than a pocket watch (that wouldn’t appear until a century later).
The watch shifted our perception of time and space around us. The months, weeks, days, hours, minutes, and seconds that we lived could now be documented to the exact moments we needed to be somewhere or meet someone, making us all accountable individuals.
Your brand’s wearable tech idea should help shift the perception of the world around your consumer and as a result put in place a standardization that users can adopt as the norm, similar to how we standardized time around the world once it become widely accepted.
WEARABLES ADD ABILITIES
Google Glass came out in April 2013 and has changed the conversation about eyewear ever since. But eyewear isn’t anything new.
The first eyeglasses were supposedly created in the 13th century by a an Italian named Salvino D’Armati. Which recently has been called out as a hoax. Regardless! The bigger takeaway is that minds were curious as to how magnifying glass could give people the ability to see.
If you wear glasses or contacts today, what would life be like if you weren’t able to see? Through the invention of eyewear we increased users’ behaviors by adding abilities that they might have never acquired and indirectly gave them the opportunity to learn skills they might have never been proficient in. We no longer need the luck of our genes to be naturally bestowed with opportunities.
You might even be able to argue that the industrial revolution might not have occurred without wearables like eyewear, as these technologies increased the available labor pool which made for a more efficient society for the revolution to tap into.