There’s more to wearables than smart watches

A week on from the launch of the Apple [i]Watch it seems the focus of wearable tech is still very much on the wrist.

Having owned a Moto360 for a few months, I’ve probably worn it a dozen times, so it hasn’t really become an essential device for me. Right now, I feel many of these devices are simply extensions of the smartphone, you mostly likely have in your pocket, and are let down by poor battery life, confusing navigation and … well, they’re just not as attractive as a traditional watch.

Nevertheless, I can see a time (excuse the pun) where all watches have some kind of embedded tech and are “smart” to varying degrees. It makes perfect sense for luxury watch makers to embed a wearable operating system, such as Android Wear, into their products, and Tag Heuer and Mont Blanc have already begun that journey.

For me, the merger of fashion and mobile technology is a really exciting one. CarlyK provides a great write up of the most popular wearable tech products, including the simply titled Ringly – a fashion ring that delivers subtle notifications.

Moving beyond jewellery, companies such as CuteCircuit and Manchester-based Smartlife are experimenting with smart fabrics to monitor health and fitness, or to create cutting-edge fashion.

Source: cutecircuit.com

So what about Google Glass?

It seems the news of it’s demise was over-exaggerated and a new version will be unveiled shortly. Plus, MINI have also announced an eyewear concept to provide an augmented driving experience.

But the impact of wearable tech could be more profound. Professor Sir Bruce Keogh, NHS England’s Medical Director, recently outlined a vision for wearable tech to have a fundamental impact on the future of the NHS. Imagine reducing waiting times in A&E by remotely assessing a potential patient before their head to the hospital.

So where does this leave us marketers? Are there really any ways to leverage wearable tech for advertising, direct marketing and consumer interaction?

For now, the opportunities seem to lie as an extension of mobile activity. Got a mobile app – can it’s functionality extend to the Apple Watch or Android Wear?

One of the more interest products I’ve been looking at recently is GoRoost, a script that enables notifications in Chrome across mobile, desktop and now android wear. Possibly the most personal time of push notification I’ve seen outside of SMS.

source: GoRoost.co

So what do you think of wearable tech – game changer or fad?

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