Did the Wearable Tech Expo deliver the goods?

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Last week saw London’s Olympia host the UK’s first ever Wearable Technology Conference and Expo, dedicated to showcasing the latest developments in smartwatches, wristbands and other wearable devices. With speakers from Microsoft, Google, Samsung and Intel, the show promised a lot, but did it live up to the hype?

The show floor at Olympia reflected an industry that is still in its infancy with a clear split between sport and leisure wearable gadgets. The most commercially successful wearable tech category so far is that of sports-focused devices, and the plethora of health and fitness-trackers on display at the show underlined the consumer demand for these products.

Wearable tech innovations are helping athletes – both amateur and professional – to improve their performances by creating data while they train, allowing the user to identify areas that require improvement and extra focus. The recent Winter Olympics highlighted these developments as we saw athletes from around the globe trying out a variety of devices in an attempt to gain an edge over the competition. Users of sport-based gadgets certainly know what they want from their devices.

On the other side of the coin, the majority of leisure-focused wearable gadgets like Google Glass and Vrase have not yet hit the open market. This category of devices needs to be refined and defined for the consumer before it penetrates the market, a point which was very evident at the show. The battle for domination in the wearable tech industry is heating up with the major announcement from Google last week about its plans to establish a bigger presence in the industry. The search giant announced Android Wear, a version of its operating system designed specifically for wearable devices. The effects of this move by Google will be felt across the sector by chip makers, electronics firms and fashion labels working on wearable gadgets this year.

All of this is taking place against a backdrop of privacy and security concerns among UK consumers. The market share remains firmly up for grabs and the next twelve months will tell an interesting tale.

In order to thrive in the wearable tech industry brands need to place more emphasis on the quality of the design of the products, with much more input from the creative and design side required. Brands will also need to explore more effective ways for users to interact with the devices. Whether this will be achieved by taking voice activation or recognition to the next level, or through an entirely different approach remains to be seen. We can expect a different state of affairs at London’s Wearable Tech Show 2015. Watch this space.

Rupert Cook is business development director at field marketing agency Gekko
Read more: http://wallblog.co.uk/2014/03/25/did-the-wearable-tech-expo-deliver-the-goods/#ixzz2wzshjKXd

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