Wearable Technology: a flash in the pan, or the next big thing?

(Image credit: blog.memoto.com)

Increasingly consumers are being told that wearable technology will change the way they connect with the world and how they go about our daily lives. Whether it be the recently launched Samsung Galaxy Gear watch, or Google Glass eyewear, technology seems to be creeping ever closer to full integration with our bodies. But how do these devices measure up to expectations and the media buzz, and how ultimately, will consumers respond?
Since the launch of Samsung Gear, there have been a number of related reviews regarding its appearance, functionality, capability and potential. According to some of the more critical feedback, there are doubts and debates regarding the seamless connectivity to smartphones and the small screen size. Smartwatches are not attempting to replace smartphones by any means; instead they champion constant accessibility and aim to become another interactive mobile medium. Through wearable technology, there are opportunities to strengthen long-term relationships between brands and consumers, by providing a useful service and a seamless interface, for example.
Nissan, one of the world’s largest automotive brands, was one of the first to enter this arena. Recently it unveiled an initial concept for the NISMO smartwatch, leveraging wearable technology in the automotive industry, a whole new level of engagement. Unlike other smartwatches, drivers are not only able to interact with their smartphones, but also connect with their Nissan cars on-board computer system to obtain real-time information. This seamless integration means that all vital driving statistics are accessible at a quick glance, such as average driver biometrics, car performance, average speed, and fuel consumption, as well as warning messages if the car requires maintenance. Furthermore, NISMO becomes a translator, making complicated mechanics a lot easier to understand. While NISMO is just an initial concept, Nissan is now ahead of the game by empowering consumers and building a smart bridge between people and their cars.
Besides amplifying the brand experience there is one significant, but perhaps overlooked point, that marketers should take into account, the database. User databases are extremely precious and by analysing this data on consumer behavior and lifestyle, brands will gain valuable insight. The more data gained, assumingly, the better the brand experience.
These days, consumers are extremely active when it comes to engaging with brands. They love to participate and make suggestions, both of which drive product innovation, and if it’s a two-way conversation, brand loyalty. Wearable technology strongly encourages consumers to constantly engage and interact, by integrating the online community, social media, apps and other digital devices. But to what extent will we want to be constantly distracted and updated? While there are currently a few teething issues, with the inevitable development of augmented reality technology and gesture sensibility, for some the smartwatch will be an invaluable asset to their daily lives.

Written by Zoe Leung, Design Intern


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