Tag Archives: wearables

Wearables for all: How the decade’s most hyped technology has found its groove

PCR Blog

There was much talk of wearable technology in the early part of this decade and in what can only be described as a media frenzy. Google launched its hotly awaited Google Glass in 2012. It was everywhere, Diane von Furstenberg used the product on the catwalk at New York Fashion Week, while Virgin Atlantic tied up with the brand for flight crew to check in passengers on selected trans-Atlantic flights. Whilst available to a selected group of subscribers, it unfortunately never made the shelves but set the pace as the pioneer.

The sale of smartwatches and trackers such as the Jawbone UP and Fitbit Flex accelerated in 2013 and things started to evolve rapidly. Then in 2015 we saw the launch of the first Apple Watch. While there has been commentary on the demise of the whole category with Jawbone already defunct, smartwatches are still the only product where we’ve seen continued sales and enhanced innovation, with luxury brands like TAG Heuer launching a range of Google Wear OS devices. According to Statista, global wearable technology sales in 2018 were 123 million units, with trackers making up 15 million and smartwatches 80 million. Watches are still growing faster than any other category and forecasted by CCS Insight to reach 142 million units worldwide in 2019 and a staggering 260 million units by 2023.

There’s little doubt we’ve come to a point where the market is less about the consumer tech and gadgets that we might see in store and rather more about the application of wearable technology – driven by trackers and smartwatches – into other fields such as health and wellbeing that are having a real and valuable impact on people’s lives.

Wearables are evolving. Motiv’s smart ring won Breakout of the Year at the Wearable Tech Awards 2018, but the jury is still out on its success. Looking at the exhibitors at 2019’s Wearable Technology Show, it indicates that there’s more than just smartwatches, but many innovations are being driven by health and wellbeing.

Looking at the impact automated insulin delivery has on patients and parents of children with severe diabetes, WELT is well documented and was one of the most talked about pieces of tech from CES 19. The new SMART belt from Samsung, launched at IFA 2018, can help tackle one of the biggest health challenges of the 21st century, rising obesity. The belt can monitor weight, walking speed, sitting duration and eating habits. Another interesting application of wearable tech is Quell 2.0. This over the device wearable from Neurometrix uses advanced neurotechnology to stimulate sensor nerves sending neural pulses to the brain and blocking pain signals. The device is designed to block multiple types and sources of pain.

Innovation in wearable technology is as big as manufacturers dare it to be and wearable tech used today has evolved to be practical and convenient to make our daily lives more efficient. For resellers it’s interesting to note that it’s claimed that one in ten wearable owners have two or more devices, with those who don’t currently own a wearable stating that they are in the market for one. Research shows that fitness devices and smartwatches are equally wanted to aid in health, detect calorie intake, assess overall fitness and provide stress measurements.

Advances in nanotechnology, batteries and microprocessors have meant the devices can be small and lightweight. It therefore looks to me like the future of wearable tech is in the sublime not the ridiculous. Tech companies that succeed will be the ones that understand consumer behaviour and are solving real world customer needs or problems, rather than just focusing on ‘what’s possible’. Linked to real time data and tapping into human needs, its potential now does seem potentially revolutionary, with applications in health being a particular game-changer for the wearables category.

This decade’s most hyped of technologies has found its groove, enabling not just athletes to monitor wellbeing and lifestyle but for all manner of consumers and in a variety of exciting form factors.

To read the full article please visit PCR.

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It’s not too late to take on wearables

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When it comes to wearables, many retailers may lack the knowledge needed to make them a success in their stores. As a developing category that’s creating a lot of interest in the media and among shoppers, expanding the knowledge base of your staff will help to develop it as a mainstay category in your store.   

Firstly, educate your staff on how wearable devices can make a positive impact on a customer’s health and lifestyle. Whether you ask a supplier to assist you with extra training, or run a training session yourself, it’s important for your staff to understand the category. Encourage your staff to use a wearable device themselves, helping them to understand wearables and become brand advocates. Their knowledge will help to improve in-store education and awareness of the category. Make it part of team building by creating store challenges on the number of steps, etc.

With your staff knowledgeable and ready to assist, educate your customers on the same health and lifestyle benefits by giving them an opportunity to see the device in action through a demonstration, using the team dashboard to aid the process.

Arming staff with a device and a synched smartphone will allow them to demonstrate the product’s functionality. Each customer will have a different reason for inquiring about a wearable device, so have your staff training focus on communication skills so they can offer tailored advice to individual shoppers.

If you’re concerned that your customers will not be interested in purchasing a wearable product, having a staff member speak passionately about how a device can help improve a customer’s health and fitness may change their perception of the category. Don’t forget the compatibility factor and ease of use, as all devices sync with almost any make of smartphone.

It’s not too late to consider ranging wearable technology. The category is continuing to grow and won’t be fading anytime soon. Get over your fears, educate your staff and start with a range that offers choice for each user at a price and functionality level that meets their needs.

Read more at http://ertonline.co.uk/opinion/smart-move/

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MWC 2015: Is It More of the Same or Change for the Sake of Change?

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Mobile brands, including carriers and social media grandees such as Mark Zuckerberg, are in Barcelona at MWC15 to announce, prophesise, and speculate on what we as consumers will want, or think we need, in the form of mobile devices and the connected landscape. It’s true to say that we are a generation that relies on our mobile devices, even to the extent that we feel naked without a device to access the web 24/7. This now extends to wearables for fitness, virtual reality, gaming, and next, our virtual wallet and transport.

Next week at its March 9th ‘Spring Forward’ event, and as ever separately to every other brand, Apple will likely launch the Apple Watch to a global audience who may just be underwhelmed considering the announcement of advances in Android-based wearables demonstrated by HTC, Huawei, LG and Sony to name a few at MWC15. Underwhelmed is perhaps unlikely based on consumer enthusiasm, but the exclusive snapshot of the Apple Watch given by Lisa Armstrong, Telegraph Fashion Editor, demonstrates that Apple is offering what every brand must deliver to its consumers — choice. Apple offers choice of styles, straps, and faces, and of course the Edition variant in 18ct rose or yellow gold for those who like their wearables with a bit of bling. One thing these new arrivals, Apple included, all have in common is that they start to transcend the chasm of tech into fashion. They look great, work effectively, and are worthy cost-effective options (with the exception of Apple) that will further ignite the wearables market.

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But who’s copying who? Fashion brands such as Guess, and luxury watch brands like Tag and Mont Blanc, have made their intentions clear and some could argue are being driven by tech brands. However, why should tech need to look traditional to enable adoption, especially if it only works when I remember to charge it? Where is the value, efficiency, and worth?

On the other hand, we may be blown away by our friends in Cupertino. We have more to digest such as those car rumours in which Google is further ahead in realising, as are some of the more forward-thinking automobile brands. Volvo, for example, is exploring connected car services and is announcing a trial launch, progressing its published plan to create a fleet of driverless cars by 2017.

It’s an obvious move to connect our devices to our transportation – our devices will soon show us how to get to our destination and then take us there in the most efficient manner. Easier said than done, as we all know the pitfalls of satellite navigation. Does a driverless car have the potential to become annoying like a cab driver who is lost, can’t drive, or drives dangerously? Without exception, any mobile or wearable device that connects with our vehicle and 3rd-party applications, like social media, are going to involve advertising, data, and subscriptions, further sacrificing the joy of a quiet and peaceful drive home.

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With connected devices creating more opportunities for brands, every manufacturer understands that they need to have a cross-category approach to devices including phones, wearables, and VR, which is evident from the announcements made at MWC15. As the technology develops, however, brands also need to create amazing, intuitive, and secure software to encourage us to part with more of our tangible assets and transactions, in order to communicate and live virtually.

Are we ready or would we rather, brands included, slow down the pace? Technology is moving so rapidly that innovations are becoming obsolete before they have a chance to become a recognised part of history. The hardware needed to operate these innovations can become redundant sooner thus creating obvious problems in disposal as we can’t indefinitely deal with it by sending it off our shores to become someone else’s problem. Our perceived need to demand more out of our devices, brands, and lifestyles compounded with being forced to update, upgrade, and adopt as a result of market forces may be what drives us to come to a full circle and look for a device that allows a simpler and more traditional private life; unlikely but not impossible.

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Luxury Brands Launch Wearable Tech as Fashion at CES2015

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You may have noticed that last week the world’s largest Consumer Electronics Show was in full swing in Vegas and whilst most mainstream technologies were announced, in and around these announcements were many new wearable tech ideas flirted by many brands that will undoubtedly come to market within the decade and change the way we view our coveted fashion brands as wearable technology. The advancement of wearables at CES 2015 as a fashion statement is potentially huge, not to be ignored and begins the brand debate.

At this year’s CES we began to see the second generation of many wearable devices, including updated reveals from traditional tech brands: Epson, Sony, LGGarmin and Fitbit to name a few. With the looming release of the unmistakably fashionable Apple Watch, many wearable makers are following suit by consciously developing fashion that conceals our technology as clothing, watches and jewellery.

For example, take a look at the Tory Burch range for Fitbit which turns your wearable fitness technology into high-end fashion jewellery. None of your friends or colleagues would know you’re counting calories or you’re on a detox. It would appear that fashion brands have realised a new category of consumers. If you like high-end watches, then why would you swap your favourite brand(s) for a rubber smart device that looks, in some instances, ugly and conspicuous.

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Wearable maker Misfit has teamed up with Swarovski to produce the “Shine,” a customisable series of fitness trackers disguised as jewellery. Hidden beneath Swarovski crystals, the Shine tracks activity such as steps, swimming strokes, and sleep via an accompanying app. It is also the first solar-charging wearable, reflecting sunlight through its crystals. The Martian developed “Guess Connect,” a Guess watch that looks like normal, but has the addition of small screen which displays caller ID and other alerts, Bluetooth connectivity, and can interact with Siri or Google Voice commands via an inbuilt microphone. Other offerings from watchmakers intending to join the wearable revolution are Tag Heuer and Mont Blanc

I suspect many more to follow once they’ve seen how it works for other luxury brands and how it fits within their own strategy, portfolio, and demographic. Rolex, Cartier, and Jaeger-LeCoultre may not be jumping on the bandwagon just yet and why should they if it doesn’t meet the brand’s ethos and heritage. Is there a need to adapt, dilute, or license the precious brand just to be in the wearable tech game? Is this another advancement the luxury watch makers & brands can’t ignore? 

As predicted, these innovations suggest just how wearables will begin to blend into existing fashion, becoming easily mistakable for a normal watch or piece of jewellery. These new wearables will suit any situation, not just the gym. Smart devices that are office-appropriate will increase the popularity of wearables for health, communication, and productivity use. Interestingly, take a look at CES winner in the “Best Offbeat Product” category, a new brand called Belty. Like Nike with its power laces, Belty is a motorised belt buckle –yes you read that correctly. It slackens and tightens to make you more comfortable, for example if you’ve eaten too much. More seriously, it has the tracking capabilities to aid diet and body shape. CES believes it’s a fun, quirky, and potentially viral product.

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Consumers will ultimately decide the limits of wearable tech and for brands this is a risk. Do luxury heritage brands risk potential ridicule or failure for the sake of changing demographics and technology or do they focus on what they do best? There’s a consumer for every heritage brand and, with the exception of some gradual, natural, and subtle advancements in technology, we should keep brands focused on their authenticity. 

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Three massive trends that came out the world’s biggest tech fair

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Daniel Todaro, MD of technology field marketing agency Gekko, reviews his highlights of CES2015

You may have noticed that last week the world’s largest consumer electronics show was in full swing in Vegas: CES 2015.

While most mainstream technologies were announced, many other new technologies were flirted with in and around these announcements – technologies that will undoubtedly come to market within the decade that could change the way we live, commute and wear our technology.

The three big stories were the Internet of Things (IoT), which includes the connected home. Also announced were advances around in-car tech, with innovation nearer than you think, and also the advancement of wearables as fashion statements.

Big commitment to Internet of Things

A large proportion of Samsung’s keynote address at CES was devoted to the Internet of Things. Samsung pledged that by 2020 all of their devices would be IoT compatible, a huge step in the right direction for tech integration. Expect other brands to make this same pledge.

As we move forward, the smart home category will continue to grow, with domestic appliances, TVs and mobile devices playing a big part in connecting devices together. Brands will need to connect their devices to one another to stay relevant enabling us to connect our entire home from one human interface.

Take a look at Hive, the UK’s connected thermostat, controlling your heating and water remotely. It’s available now and an early innovator in this category.

With all this tech, you need power. Enter centre stage the Energous WattUp, winner of the Best Connected Home Product at CES, a wireless power solution that can charge wirelessly our wearables, phones and any other battery powered device in your home. Energous believe it will have the first wave of this product available by the end of the year.

Samsung’s pledge was also important because it promised ‘open’ connectivity. By opening up its devices to other brands, Samsung is leading the way in a true Internet of Things, where all devices communicate with each other, not just those of the same brands.

If other brands take up this pledge, the Internet of Things will make much more of an impact on our everyday lives by potentially connecting all devices together.

In-car tech

Automotive tech once again made headlines at CES, especially with the Audi self-driving car’s two-day, 550 mile journey from San Francisco to Las Vegas turning heads early in the week.

Self-driving innovations took centre stage for many motor brands, with self-parking cars from Hyundai and Volkswagen demonstrating how far self-driving tech has developed in the past year. Mercedes, winner in the Best Automotive Technology category at CES, showed off the F015 Luxury in Motion concept, which the company believe is possible by 2030 – in Mercedes’ words, “our vision is the car as a salon, a lounge you drift from destination to destination in like an extension of your home.”

Undoubtedly parts of this innovation will become reality soon.

The motor category is also another battleground for Apple and Google, here with their respective CarPlay and Android Auto platforms.

Both allow car users to mirror their mobile Operating Systems in their cars, giving access to GPS maps, hands-free calls, music and other apps through the car’s existing screen. Integration opens up many avenues, for example activating car features using Siri.

Whilst some believe these innovations are a further distraction to drivers diminishing passenger/pedestrian safety, cars, like our homes are inevitably becoming smarter.

Fashionable wearables

At this year’s CES we began to see the second generation of many wearable devices, including updated reveals from Sony, LG, Garmin and Fitbit. With the looming release of the unmistakably fashionable Apple Watch, many wearable makers are following suit by developing their own fashion conscious watches and trackers.

Take a look at the Tori Birch range for Fitbit which turns your wearable fitness technology into high end fashion jewellery.

Wearable maker Misfit has teamed up with Swarovski to produce the Shine, a customisable series of fitness trackers disguised at jewellery. Hidden beneath Swarovski crystals, the Shine tracks activity such as steps, swimming strokes and sleep via an accompanying app, and is also the first solar-charging wearable, reflecting sunlight through the crystals.

The Martian-developed Guess Connect looks like a normal Guess watch, but has the addition of small screen which displays caller ID and other alerts, has Bluetooth connectivity, and can interact with Siri or Google Voice commands via an inbuilt microphone in the watch.

Other offerings from watchmakers intending to join the wearable revolution are Tag Heuer and Fossil.

As predicted, these innovations suggest just how wearables will begin to blend into existing fashion becoming easily mistakable for a normal watch or piece of jewellery. These new wearables will suit any situation, not just the gym.

Smart devices that are both useful for productivity and office-appropriate will only increase the popularity of wearables for health, communication and productivity use.

Interestingly, take a look at CES winner in the Best Offbeat Product category, Belty. Like Nike with its power laces, Belty is a motorised belt buckle – yes, you read that correctly. It slackens and tightens to make you more comfortable, if for example you’ve eaten too much. More seriously, it has tracking capabilities to aid diet and body shape. CES believes it’s a fun, quirky and potentially viral product.

Consumers will ultimately decide the limit to wearable tech and how it intrudes on our lives.

 

Read more at: http://www.londonlovesbusiness.com/business-news/tech/three-massive-trends-that-came-out-the-worlds-biggest-tech-fair/9567.article

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