Wearable technology has been a buzzword for a while now. And up until now the hype has been unmet in reality.
However, it’s starting to feel like we are reaching a turning point. The adoption of the Apple Watch, although slow, has been the most successful introduction of proper smart technology. For example Google Glass was not fit for the wider consumer market.
Apple made a smart move by getting a large group of famous and influential individuals to wear an Apple Watch (over their probably more expensive timepieces) before launch. They chose people from all industries and age groups. It was actually pretty subtle. And it definitely worked. Around 3.6 million units were sold in 2014. Small compared to the iPhone, yes, but these numbers are likely to rise in the coming years. For example, the first iPhone launched in 2007, had sales units of only 1.2 million, and the first launch of the iPad brought around 3.4 million in sales.
The Fitbit is another wearable – or more specifically ‘wristable’ – that has almost ‘made it’ as a complete wearable success. The thin band is used to track activity that allows the user to understand how many calories they are burning, their sleep cycle etc. The Fitbit is probably the most widely adopted gadget in this market segment.
Wearables need to be more incorporated into our lives. This is arguably why google glass didn’t work – it was almost too futuristic to push beyond early adopters into the wider consumer market.
So something like wearable contactless payment in the form of bPay is probably going to become even more common, because it feels instinctive. People won’t have to work out how to use it, or question why it would be useful to them – it just makes sense.
Similarly, Under Armour have announced that they are going to beat the tech giants like Google to creating Smart Clothing.
“If we believe that our future is going to be defined by these hard pieces of glass or plastic that sit in our back pockets, you’re crazy. It is going to convert into apparel,” – Kevin Plank, CEO, Under Armour
If the predictions surrounding the Internet of Things arise, there can be no doubt that wearables will be the dominant facilitator of this. What this means for marketers is that they need to think ahead. If you don’t have in the back of your mind a strategy for how your brand is going to look when wearables are the norm then you should probably start having a think. Even just hypothetically.
Of course it’s not going to be applicable to absolutely all brands, and it depends what your overall objectives are, but you can probably count on it becoming a big part of peoples lives.
“Marketers are salivating at the prospect of pushing wearables advertising to you around the clock. As ad revenues dwindle on TV and newspaper formats, next generation devices offer a new opportunity for brands to target people like we’ve never seen before.” – Wired
Rest assured it’s not going to be easy. If you want your brand to have integrity and not become the junk mail of wearables then your strategy better be good, because I’m pretty sure someone can invent an ad blocker for their wristables as much as they can for an iPhone.