Smart Wear

by AmazeRealise

The advent of smartwatches, Google Glass and other wearable technology has sparked a debate about how intimate we want our relationship with technology to be. We chat to Tunde Cockshott at Amaze about the impact of wearable tech and ask how it could affect the way we create and consume content.

The tipping point – the moment when wearable technology ceases to be a niche concern and enters the mainstream – may not yet have been reached. But it isn’t far off. And when it does happen it is likely to change both how we consume and create content. With content top of many brands’ list of concerns in 2014, what could this mean for marketers?

Tunde Cockshott, Creative Consultant at Amaze, predicts that wearable technology will have an impact on the type of content we interact with.

“We know content is moving from lengthy articles to smaller consumable chunks: Pinterest is a prime example. For younger generations, SMS and Twitter are preferred over email. The small screens of wearables are well-suited to scanning micro-content units but users are still likely to use their smartphones to consume larger or longer content items. I may get a headline on my iWatch, for example, but if I want to go beyond the synopsis I will likely use a larger screen. Video may have a place on our wrists, but, again it will be short. So with wearables, we will see the continuation of the trend for micro-content, but alongside the deeper content consumed on other devices.” Tunde Cockshott, Creative Consultant, Amaze

So what do marketers have to do to ensure their ‘glanceable’ bite-size content reaches consumers?

“If a brand wishes to establish itself on a wearable device it needs to focus on providing utility and context,” says Cockshott. “A useful location-aware or context aware application that aids the user, supplied by a brand is one way to market on these devices.”

If wearable technology takes off in the way we expect it to, it will also lead to a massive increase in the amount of content we create documenting our own lives. Digital glasses will be able to film continuously throughout the day; users can effectively direct the movie of their own lives. They can edit and share the footage they’ve captured over weeks, months and maybe even years.

So, wearable technology is likely to expand the horizon of available content – literally, in the case of Google Glass. How users feel about having such an intimate relationship with digital hardware remains to be seen. Privacy issues are likely to become significantly more complex, and not just in the field of user data; how will wearers of smartspecs be received at private or ticketed events such as concerts or in public places like cafes?

For some, the technology heralds a glorious semicyborg future. For others, this is an issue to be approached with caution. Despite the fact that smart glasses aren’t expected to be widely available for sometime yet, there’ve already been a number of well reported spats between wearers and those who deem the device intrusive.

What is certain is that a new frontier in technology is opening up and with it come a raft of social, business, creative and ethical implications we may not have anticipated yet.

Devices

Glasses

Augmented reality glasses allow users to read data displayed in their field of vision, record footage, take pictures, search and translate on the go.

Advocates claim these headsets have the potential to radically change how we shop. Consumers wearing them will be able to use their devices to load virtual store plans, receive additional promotional offers and scan for in-depth product information simply by looking at an item’s barcode.

Loic Le Meur on Google Glass, Loic Le Meur, 1 May 2013, flickr.com (Some rights reserved)

Products: Google Glass, Meta Space glasses.

Fitness Trackers

These wearable bands collect and display data on a range of user activities including how many steps a person takes per day, their heart rate, how many hours they sleep per night and the number of calories they burn.

The quantified self-improvement trend proves that it’s not just marketers that are hungry for data and the benefits it can yield.

Products: The Fitbit Force, Nike+ Fuelband, Jawbone UP.

Watches

Smartwatches are equipped with a range of apps which also display texts, social media notifications and emails.

They are easier to access, and are more lightweight, than smartphones. There is the potential for smartwatches to be used for everything from mobile payments to data harvesting.

Products: Samsung Galaxy Gear, Sony SmartWatch 2 SW2.

Article by Eilidh Wagstaff and Jon Fortgang

This article appears in Issue 20 of Figaro Digital magazine – January/February 2014.