So just how did wearable tech get such a large seat at the table recently? For someone who has been tracking the wearable arena for the last couple of years, it’s great to finally see so much discussion about the current state and potential of wearable tech. Thing is, so much of the conversation is not very holistic or far reaching; and, therefore, the real forecast is being missed.
For example, I just recently read an article that essentially says that the problem with wearables, even though projected to be a $50 billion dollar industry in just 3 years, is that they don’t seem to appeal to people who need them the most (i.e. those who might do well to monitor their weight, keep a check on their heart, etc). This is the myopic view of wearables. Let me tell you, the scene is way bigger than just counting footsteps and heartbeats.
First, we need to keep in mind that we are in the nascent stages of wearable tech, but the pace is moving so fast that everyone needs to prepare. Yes, the wrist bands and glasses we see may not yet have scalable adoption, but the fascination and potential with these devices is what is continuing to capture public imagination and consideration. Consumers are ready to be seduced, ready to be dazzled once the offer provides enough value. However, this phenomenon is not just about a hard piece of technology, but rather the possibility of extending one’s very own being via technology. That’s the take away. It’s what I call, the neo-human – the desire and capability to be stronger, faster, existing in several places at once, all thanks to tech. We’ve seen it via the mobile phone which enables to now do so many things via a single swipe of an app that Wonder Woman had best look out. Sure heart rate might not be enough to lure tons of sales today, but as these devices offer more seductive elements, there will be a growing response tomorrow. As such items as removable, wearable tattoo-like skins that enable the user to monitor sunscreen limitations and more, and as clothing extends our sensory information via smart fabrics; there will be further adoption. In fact, according to a new report by market analysts Beecham Research, the fashion-led wearable tech market alone could hit US$9.3 billion by 2018. Why? Because the algorithms will work better on a 3D style vector rather than just on a small area like, say, the wrist. But this will be about more than big data, ladies and gentleman.
This will be about status; the new logo, if you will; edge, customization; and more, that will make this smart-fabric/smart clothing arena pop. Those early to the party will always get the best seats. So current nay-sayers, beware. But in order to throw the right party, the best hosts will understand that different items will appeal to the different, fragmented of demos today. A one-size-fits-all approach (pun intended) will be sudden death – and loss of capital – to companies that do not match cultural behavior to the the device, not the other way around. This is not about the gifted engineer and techie driving the scene, which is kinda still what’s happening at the moment. Much like the rest of disruption in society, this is about a bottom-up approach, if success is to be had at all. The consumer, we, the individual; will drive desire, scope, look, feel, and even price. And it better come in solutions that fit various lifestyles. Those best connected to that pulse of the street, will be able to create organic magic. This will occur, partially, as a result of partners from various sectors coming together for the first time to create something completely new and coveted. We are witnessing the extremely early stages of this. It will expand.
So use distance vision when looking at the wearable tech game and potential opportunities. Things have only just begun. How are you preparing?