QTOOTH was lucky enough to be able to attend this past week’s Wearable Technology Expo in Los Angeles this past week. Primarily sponsored by Plantronics and held at the Hilton Universal near Universal Studios, the event gave great insights not only into wearable tech but also into the future of all wireless devices. There’s a lot of ground to cover and we will be posting more updates over the next few weeks so that we can relay all of the news for those of you who couldn’t be there.
Expertly hosted by Tony Rizzo and the friendly folks over at TMC.NET, we were on information overload by the time all was said and done. In no particular order, here are a few of the top takeaways that seemed most significant to us:
- Analysts seem to agree that the hype that the wearable tech market is experiencing is probably close to peaking. This initial hype will probably go through a bit of a “cooling-off” phase before experiencing consistent growth. However, over time, the market should grow to a sustainable $50 billion a year industry.
- As visible and as hyped as consumer wearable tech is right now in the news, mass adoption and proliferation will most likely come from the enterprise (business to business) sector of the market. Most consumers still feel, “That’s cool, but I don’t need it” whereas in business, if wearable tech demonstrates itself as an immediately useful tool to increase productivity and profits, companies will say, “We’ll take them, and as many as you can spare for our overseas operations.”
- Most profitable part of the wearable tech market might be in the big data that is generated and not in the hardware and software that creates it.
- Even if they make measurements as accurate as any medical device, bio-sensor companies need to be careful not to make health claims that are not approved by the FDA or they may suffer severe legal consequences.
- People are aware of the fact that social media is collecting all of their data, however users feel that the benefits to using these social media platforms outweigh any tradeoff to the loss of privacy. In the same way, the adoption by the general public of wearable tech will depend on whether those devices are adding more perceived value to people’s lives than they might sacrifice in loss of privacy by using these products.
- Bio-sensors and the gathering of data points is meaningless to the average consumer unless there are specific analytics that prove useful to their daily lives. To encourage consistent use, they must be able to make sense of this data and be provided with an actionable plan.
- Ideally the monitoring of people’s health and behavior must be as non-invasive as possible. This should provide even more accurate and reliable data results than those taken in the typically unnatural setting of a clinical trial.
- Are activity and health trackers effective when it comes to modifying people’s behaviors? Only if coupled with realistic expectations that overwhelm the user. Small steps and small victories are a more sure road to make sure users don’t abandon the platform.
- Even though they weren’t the first of their kind, having tech giants Google introduce Glass and Samsung release their Galaxy Gear Smartwatch has really helped all manufacturers of those devices gain visibility and acceptance in the marketplace.
- The wearable tech dilemma continues: Should wearable tech devices work in a standalone mode where all of their functionality and data processing is built-in to the device itself? Or should the device only monitor/sense/communicate/etc… and let bigger machines in the cloud take care of all of the functionality and data? Of course this varies depending on the device and its application, but almost all wearable tech developers face that choice or need to find the proper balance between the two.
- Fashion designers need to be involved earlier in the design process for wearable tech products to achieve mass acceptance. It’s not just what a product does, but how it makes the user feel. It can’t appeal just intellectually but also emotionally.
- Proven: Use of a viewfinder, like on traditional cameras and smartphones, make us forget the details of the actual event we are recording. Better? Use a POV (point of view), hands-free camera, like a smart glass, to record while still being able to engage fully in the event.
- Contextual data, otherwise known as information that comes from the immediate surroundings of the wearer, will help popularize the use of wearable technology.
So, that’s what we’ve got for now. In the next week or so we’ll be taking a more detailed look at some of the more interesting products and sub-categories that were presented at the Wearable Tech Expo. From fitness to smartwatches, to the real uses of smart glasses and the creative role of wearable tech in fashion and movie-making. Stay tuned!