I was joking with a client the other day that I had dusted down some PowerPoint presentations from about 18 months ago from a conference were I spoke about new trends in customer behaviour, and was a little embarrassed about my attempt at looking into a crystal ball at the time with me espousing ‘Tablet’s & Phablets will be huge’ style revelations.
And yet this process is something that businesses continually have to do to ensure that they keep up with customer demands. We are constantly working with our clients to assist in defining their strategy in relation to customers and which new technologies and ideas to embrace, and what to put in the pending tray.
It’s a very interesting or difficult time (depending on how you look at it!) at the moment – things are moving quickly, very quickly in some cases, and it’s hard to know where to prioritise your new product development effort. This prioritisation exercise is not just in terms of committed work, but also in terms of exploration – what areas do we need a presence in, where can we wait to see what happens?
On the whole, companies have got the importance of putting in place a mobile/ responsive solution, and are at least in an evolutionary process to deliver it, so the question now is ‘what else can we do’ to gain some competitive advantage; the topic of Wearables is No1 on many people’s hit list at the moment.
What I like about the subject of Wearables is how accessible it is as a technology concept – there is something inherently understandable about it in a way that I think some elements of mobile/digital/social/big data still struggle to be understood with many people and clients.
So should you as a company prioritise having a Wearables strategy? At the risk of sounding too much like a consultant (but I am so hey what can you do!), I would say its relative priority for you does depends on your industry sector, but one of the primary reasons Wearables is getting so much coverage is that its multiple use cases are relevant to something most Enterprises do; for example scenarios and just plain fun possibilities for this technology are being developed – Connected smart health devices, watches, fabrics, cars, services, and of course the ‘conscious home’ that Google’s acquisition of Nest for $3.2bn has further shifted into the spotlight.
In terms of Wearables technology available right now, Google Glass was big news last year and is just now getting Apps and ideas to really release its potential; major vendors like Samsung ‘s wearable devices were also launched to work with other Galaxy products and can be programmed to notify the wearer of incoming messages, such as calls, texts, emails and alerts, and shows a preview on the screen.
This year has also seen the likes of the Oculus Rift – a next-generation virtual reality headset designed for an immersive gaming experience while you shoot zombies and explore new worlds. Meta’s Space Glasses also show what is possible with unbelievable Minority Report meets Tony Stark Iron Man Holographic craziness (for more go to – possibly the best website I’ve ever seen (and I’ve seen a LOT!)https://www.spaceglasses.com/. )
The buzz around Wearables in terms of applications in fabrics and clothing is also going crazy. The absolutely unbelievable company Cute Circuit have been delivering innovation in this area for ages – check out the following even if you are not a secret Katy Perry fan – https://cutecircuit.com/collections/katy-perry-at-met-ball/ . Other people, such as Dutch fashion designer Pauline van Dongen, are producing garments that reveal solar panels enabling the wearer to become a walking mobile phone charger.
However, it’s not all hot news and warm feeling – a recent article in Stuff Magazine claims that the UK government may want to ban drivers from using Google’s augmented reality eyewear ahead of the 2014 release, amid safety concerns, that wearing Google’s Glass headset whilst driving would be a dangerous distraction.
It’s clear to see why the general buzz around the possibilities presented by Wearable and their place in the “Internet of Everything” is happening for a reason – but what are you going to do about the idea and all of the data this will create and you can potentially use? My advice is to, at the very least, the following:
- Table the issue of Wearables at a management team session soon – look at some of the links in this article, discuss the technology and get a general feel for it if it’s been on your must do list for a while – don’t wait any longer as this is very much happening now!
- Gauge if there is an appetite for understanding of how it might apply to your business – if there is a clear desire, task a team with coming up with some initial ideas for a practical application for your business. If there is lack of understanding, task the team anyway!
- If something has got legs as a proposition, commission a pilot project to test it out – don’t be afraid to fail fast on it.
- Test Review and learn!
I’ll continue to publish more on this topic over the course of this year, but if I can help you develop your strategy in this area, why not get in touch for a coffee and a chat?
Find me on Twitter @drgeraintevans_