Thursday, May 9, 2013

Ready to Grab Your Share in the Wearable Era?

We almost are sure that wearable technology is the next big thing. Projects like Google Glasses are providing you with an opportunity to make unique impacts on your high value markets. As a graduate student in Northwestern's Medill IMC marketing program, I’ve been exploring the new wearable era and its potential for business.

I found two compelling articles about what users want from wearable technologies and made three suggestions for anyone who wants to grab a share in this highly promising market.

Engadget: Wearable Computing Should Constantly Monitor Its Surroundings

Photo from engadget: [link].
By the end of last year, engadget put up a great article by  Donald Melanson and Michael Gorman: Our augmented selves: The promise of wearable computing. It summarized our shared vision of wearable technologies: thin and flexible, ability to simulate other devices, and constantly monitor its surroundings. With wearable technologies, we are shifting our focus from making “smarter things”, to become “smart people.”

All Things D: The Interfaces Are Melting

Photo from Misfit Shine: [link].
This spring, All Things D put up another inspirational article by  Liz Gannes talking about the disappearing interface. It argued that instead of all-purpose, full-focus devices, we might have a set of new tools, migrating outward, on and around our bodies, to our fingers and heads and wrists and ears, and even feet. Those interfaces melt so both inputs and outputs can adapt and be more accessible.

3 Suggestions for Investors in Wearable Technologies

From my analysis of these two articles any my work at Northwestern, here are three active items you need to consider in the wearable era.
  1. Try New Sensors
    Users don't want to "key-in" all the information by themselves with wearable technology. Both sensors that collect data about the environment and sensors that enable better voice control, gesture control, and brain control have the potential to be game changers. You definitely should try new sensors when consider investing in the wearable gadgets.
  2. Own a Category
    Users want their wearable devices to be as strong as our mobile phone, but as light as a clip. And instead of just one device, users will end up having a set of devices, blended in their lives. Choose one category and own it and you will have your place in the future of wearable technologies.
  3. Invest in Building Blocks
    Batteries and new materials will always be critical to wearable devices. Be sure to keep an eye on those building blocks. 
Forrester analyst Sarah Rotman Epps argued "in three years, wearables would matter to every product strategist" and Juniper Study predicted it would be a $1.5 billion business by 2014. So grab your share in the wearable market today before someone else steals it.

Samantha Zhang is a grad student at Northwestern University studying Integrated Marketing Communications, specialized in technology startups. Prior to grad school, she worked with several startups in China and hit No.7 in the educational section in Chinese App Store. Now she’s working on a revolutionary note-taking app: Chisel. You can get connected with her @moyicat.


    1. Good educational read, Samantha! I have a couple questions about wearable technology, especially Google Glasses. For someone who doesn't wear prescription eyeglasses nor contacts, I'm not used to nor do I like wearing glasses. I only wear sunglasses bc I have to in order to block out that piercing light. How would you convince consumers like me to wear these glasses? Additionally, eyes are sensitive. Do wearing Google Glasses have any side-effects? Possibly impact sight or cause nausea. I'm not sure how technology affects on eyes.


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