Wearable Technology: The Future is Here, but will it Stay Long?

by Jeff Wiener on February 22, 2013

Glasses that given you a heads-up display of the world around you, clothing that heats or cools you depending on the weather, a wristwatch that doubles as your smartphone; not even a decade ago these sorts of gadgets seemed like something straight out of a James Bond film, the creative imaginings of what our technological future might be. Well, its look like the future is here.

I’ll admit that although I’ve watched the slow growth of the wearable technology niche with interest for some time now, I’m still torn over whether such technology is a gimmick or really the fashion of the future. While wearable tech has taken off in the health and fitness segments, the question remains whether such advancements will ever make their way into our everyday digital existence, or whether they’ll become the next device that we’ll one day wonder how we ever lived without.


So I have to ask, with Apple patenting a flexible wrist interface, with Google poised to release its Google Glass project on the world, and with innumerable other companies looking to get in on the wearable tech game, is this a fad or really our future? Could you see yourself walking the streets of your city decked out head-to-toe in wearable gadgets and gizmos all designed to provide you with a seamless interface with Google or Apple’s latest software? I’ll admit, it seems a stretch for me.

 

As we move towards an increasingly integrated connected everything existence, I do suppose some level of wearable, easily accessibly technology is a given, particularly as the tech consuming public continue to yearn for increasing functionality on a decreasing amount of devices.

In fact, whether or not wearable technology succeeds, its arrival is inevitable. “It’s a function of time before wearable technology becomes real, and it’s closer than a lot of people think,” said Gene Munster, senior research analyst at Piper Jaffray. “Eventually, wearable technology is probably going to be your most easy access point to your technology.”

While some are convinced that wearable technology will become the next great interface form factor, there are still innumerable hurdles this new niche must overcome before any sort of mass adoption is possible. Like most burgeoning technologies, wearable gadgets struggle with battery life, are currently too bulky, too nerdy, and are far too expensive for the average consumer. Of course one would expect future iterations of these devices to solve these problems, but the question then becomes, will consumers stay interested long enough to make future advancements profitable?

Take the advent of the iPhone for instance; a date that forever changed how we view smartphones. While the original iPhone lacked the elegance and functionality of its future successors, it met a need and came with a distinct WOW factor that hooked many instantly, allowing Apple to sell future iterations of its device to that same rapid fan base. Now I have to wonder, will wearable technology have that same sort of initial boom, one that hooks consumers right away? I doubt it.

For wearable technology to succeed its going to take time, lots of time, for companies to create products that the average tech user both sees a need for and is attracted to. What I’ll be interested to see is just how many companies will have the resources and the patience to invest money into a market that will likely be a losing enterprise for many years to come.

{ 2 trackbacks }

Apple looks to Bend its Stiff iPhone Form Factor — TheTelecomBlog.com
April 4, 2013 at 5:51 am
Microsoft Wants its Share of Smart Watch Market — TheTelecomBlog.com
April 17, 2013 at 5:59 am

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