Over the past few years, an entirely new form of technology has entered the market, and is taking the world by storm. Smart watches, such as the Apple Watch or Samsung Gear, fitness trackers, such as Fitbit, and other wearable devices have opened up new ways and means for consumers to connect and communicate with the world around them. Recent studies published at PHYS.org have predicted that by the year 2019 (just two years away), shipments of wearable technology will reach 173.4 million units, which will see a growth rate of around 23% over the next five years. With such rapid advancements in wearable technology, businesses really have to be asking themselves how they can adapt to this changing market, and how they can take advantage of what this technology can offer to both the industry and to consumers in order to maximise revenue.
It’s now not just mobile phones that can complete mobile and contactless payments; smart watches, including the new Apple Watch, allow for consumers to pay to items directly from their wrist with high levels of security. Not only this, but smart watches create a whole new world of mobile technology that businesses can use to their advantage. As more and more companies develop smart wearable tech, many other businesses are developing applications that have fully integrated support for these devices, allowing them to cover almost all of the digital market, drastically increasing brand exposure and profits. Although uptake of wearable devices has been slower than expected, it is forecast to have a significant boost in 2017 and beyond with the introduction of new features that are exclusive to smart watches.
The attraction of wearable devices to modern businesses is obvious, but many are still unsure as to what wearable tech can offer their business and why they should adopt a whole new method of communication. Below are just a few of the points that should be taken into consideration when deciding on whether or not to include wearable technology as a new market venue:
Often businesses struggle to gather data on their customers, whether it be medical data, or even just accurate usage data. Smart watches and other wearable devices have changed this, allowing businesses, no matter what industry, to get reliable insights into their customers. Medical research companies have been producing their own wearable tech for years, collecting data of a period of time, and then having to return the device for the data to be analysed. This has all been changed with the advancement of medical development kits on smart watches. Devices such as the Apple Watch can gather data such as heart rate, motion, and even sleeping patterns from their users and upload this data directly to the cloud to be accessed on a variety of other devices, as well as sending this data directly to medical professionals to gain valuable insights into the health and wellbeing of patients. Other businesses have made use of most smart watches having an in-built GPS to be able to track the location of their users and the actions they are performing. Previously, data collected from apps and websites gave a rough estimate of the location of the user, but now, businesses are see extremely accurate geographic data surrounding the use of their wearable tech so that they can better optimise the devices and their services for the locations where they are used most, and can gain a better understanding of where they could improve the use of their devices.
With all of these different uses, it can often become quite confusing as to what information to display and what information isn’t necessary. Because of the generally smaller display sizes on wearable technology, information has to be displayed to the user in a way that is concise and easy to read. Although the displays on most wearable tech have rich colour and high pixels density, content that is displayed should be extremely visual and be able to be seen at arm’s length. Built-in applications illustrate this concept exceptionally well, relying on bold infographics, graphs and very short descriptions with the ability to scroll to reveal more information or more detail about given data. Building and designing a smart watch app especially is often it is slightly more difficult than just scaling down the smart phone application or website onto a smaller screen. This is again due to the content rich displays that mobile phones and tablets use to give users all the information they need, but when on an even smaller device, it is best to only display the content that is absolutely necessary, then at the expense of some functionality, which can be reintroduced through a variety of finger gestures and movements that these smart devices can detect.
Smart wearable devices are described by most major technology companies as an extension of one’s self, and so they should be. They should be easy to use and should do the job. More then this, they should also be able to extend the devices that the user already owns, such as a mobile phone, tablet, laptop, or desktop computer. Many apps are being built so that they synchronise across all of the user’s devices, and wearable technology should be no different. It is important to consider this when thinking about entering the wearable tech market, as it often involves a lot more resources then many initially consider. Although the costs of entering this new market can be great, the benefits can most definitely outweigh the costs, allowing you to attract new customers, excited existing customers and ultimately drive revenue and profits.