The Human Side of Digital

Wearable Tech: Wow or Woe?

Posted on 27 Jan 2015 in NXT\ Connects | 0 comments Twitter icon Facebook icon

By Tarah Darge: Google glass with facial recognition, ear pieces that wirelessly stream audio, smart socks, and of course, fitness trackers that monitor nearly every aspect of your health: wearable tech is making waves in the tech industry; and with established giants and start-ups alike rapidly increasing their offerings, this is one trend that looks like it’s here to stay.

Fitness Trackers Remain King

While wearable tech includes everything from eyewear, to ear pieces, smart watches to intelligent garments, fitness and health trackers remain front of the pack with big brands like Nike and FitBit dominating about 90% of wearables sales (Accenture).

However, with over 56 fitness tracker options to choose from (all available for testing at CES 2015), there is no single brand running away with the market quite yet. Other prominent choices include the Jawbone, MisFit, Nike Fuelband, Sony Smartband, Garmin Vivofit, Polar Loop, Withings Pulse, and of course the much anticipated Apple watch.

But, while about 70% of the market is aware of wearables, with roughly a half of that number indicating intent to buy; only 8% currently own a device. (Neilsen)

Success then, it seems, will largely be determined by a few key factors:

-Price point: Most research done on the industry thus far indicates that price is the biggest hurdle for wearables. Some 55% of consumers think wearable technology is too expensive, while 24% of consumers believe that they already have too many devices to invest in yet another (TNS).

-Look and Feel: Wearables need to feel comfortable and non-invasive. There is also a concern from the more fashion conscious market: not everyone wants to wear a rubber band. Smart reactors like FitBit have reacted by creating limited edition bracelets that are more akin to jewellery than overtly sporty. This has also opened the door for fashion designers to get involved in the design process. Haute coutech anyone?

-Does It Play Nicely? Consumers want wearable devices that automatically sync (minimal manual updating please) and pair well with their existing mobile devices or apps, as well as their operating systems. Nobody wants to walk around with 10 different devices, so simplicity and open source software is the key here.

So the tech is here, what about the content?

So we’re quantifying our health, our wellness and almost every aspect of our life. Essentially we’re living in augmented or enhanced reality. But where is the real value added? If we’re still spending eight or more hours of our day behind our desks, we need our technology and the supporting content to impact the way we work. Research has increasingly indicated that sitting is the new smoking with reference to the drastic negative effects it has on our health; and with that in mind, we need the content and programmes that sync with our wearable tech to improve our everyday lives in a real and tangible manner.

As leaders in the digital innovation field, NXT\ has recognised the need to create credible content that leverages off the data generated by wearable tech devices, and is in the process of developing exciting and contextual programmes that will add value to both companies and individuals alike.

To find out more, contact NXT now.


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