Question: why carry your devices around with you when you can wear them on your face, wrist or even your fingernails instead? Well with the seemingly unstoppable phenomena that is wearable technology, you don’t have to! It’s quite clear that this emerging array of high-tech accessories is shaking up the way we do business but we’re considering whether it’s for the better or if it’s a novel case of style over substance.
We aren’t talking about Bluetooth headsets here or hands-free car technology because products like those have their justified place in safety and usability. We’re not even questioning the place of those sound-activated LED t-shirts that flash the word ‘RAVE’ at you whenever a super-speed song comes on. Even they have their purpose in festival retail. What we are pondering is the need for interactive Google Pants and a £13,000 wristwatch that does exactly the same thing as your mobile phone should you simply dedicate 10 extra seconds to extracting if from your back pocket. So let’s take a look at the advantages and disadvantages of wearable technology for the modern entrepreneur.
The big Apple
Research completed by PwC’s Consumer Intelligence Series revealed that 20% of 1000 American consumers, tech influencers and business big-wigs surveyed already own a wearable device. These statistics parallel the rate of tablet ownership in 2012. Figures are also predicting that over the next three years, the market in India for wearable technology could reach £300million. So basically, wearing your devices could be a big deal in 2015 but what are the most useful features for today’s businesspeople?
The infamous Apple Watch burst onto tech scene earlier this scene and is the latest product to be added to the growing list of wrist gadgets. A fantastic luxury for fitness fanatics should they be willing to fork out up to £339.99 on the Apple Sport edition, for monitoring heartrate and totting up steps and running distance. Equally attractive to the cosmopolitan highflyer able to splash out up to £13,000 on the 18-carat yellow cold Watch Edition that is also supported by over 4,000 apps and counting. However we have found reason to believe that this new-fangled gizmo is more than just a glorified pedometer.
Part of the new iOS update, the Apple Watch is the very first wearable product released by the company. In this bustling marketplace where time waits for no man, the ability to send emails, make calls and respond to messages much faster is more than just a modern luxury. It’s fast becoming a vital necessity. Synched to your own personal calendar, contacts and reminders, the Apple Watch can remind you who you’re meeting next, where you need to be, how to get there and even prompt you when to leave in order to arrive in good time. Time management has never been easier and we all know time organisational skills are king when it comes to business success.
Not only does this product enable super-speedy Instagram and Twitter posts to ensure your online brand visibility is on point throughout the day, it also supports many useful apps including Microsoft PowerPoint and Invoice2Go. Earlier this year Receipt Bank released its Practice Platform app, which is the Apple Watch’s first bookkeeping service. It offers “real-time, multi-channel access to accounting and bookkeeping metrics” as well as customer data transactions and submission tracking without the need for spreadsheets or paperwork. This means the ability to work on the go and around the clock (literally) is becoming a more accessible possibility.
Okay so the Apple Watch might be pretty nifty (if a tad overpriced) but is there really a place in this weird and wonderful world for interactive trousers? That’s what could be on the horizon if Google gets its way (and let’s face it, it usual does) as it announced its latest venture in partnership with Levi’s this week.
Google Pants sound like something you might dream up on a Saturday night after one too many beers but they are, in fact, one of the latest concepts from Google as it joins forces with retail giant Levi’s. Not satisfied with its Google Glass optical head-mounted display, the multinational tech company has set about creating interactive pants that will allow you to operate your devices via conductive cloth.
The creation of this conductive cloth is part of a wider initiative called Project Jacquard, which involves weaving metal threads through fabric to make it interactive. This cloth could be just the start of a whole new generation of ‘connected clothing’ which uses finger pressure recognition to enable control via external touch. Controlled by a button-sized chip, the Google Pants will run on Wi-Fi and allow the user to control features including screen brightness, volume and various media player functions.
Adidas and Ralph Lauren are also amongst the fashion brands sniffing around the concept of wearable technology as they develop ‘smart clothing’ with built-in heartrate and respiration monitors. But do we really need our clothes to be buzzing with interactive technology to communicate with our audiences? Is the concept getting a little out of hand (pardon the pun) or does today’s industry demand and modern practices indeed call for such technological advancements?
Let us know your thoughts by leaving a comment below or tweeting us @Pandlecloud from your wearable device or even just your good old smartphone.