July 30, 2014

The problem with wearable technology is aesthetic

Written By Martin Sandhu
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So far, despite the level of talk and hype surrounding wearable technology it’s yet to take off with the masses. 2014 was geared up to be the year of wearable tech, but when was the last time you saw someone walking down the high street with Google Glasses on instead of their head buried in a smartphone?

While it’s by no means a disaster, in order for wearable technology and the internet of things to have as big an impact on the world as smartphones did, changes need to be made.

It’s all in the aesthetics

Image is arguably more important than ever before, in the age of the selfie and when everyone carries a camera in their pocket (in the form of a mobile) and when pictures can be shared to the world within seconds, it’s easy to understand why. But wearable technology doesn’t seem to have grasped this yet.

Google Glass is a great example. Many people would describe its look as something out of a space film and are reluctant to wear them in public, despite their curiosity – where they’re likely to get most use from them.

So far, the most popular wearable technology by far are sport wristbands such as Nike FuelBand or FitBit – although Nike recently announced it is ceasing production of the FuelBand. The discreet pieces of equipment are a multi-million pound industry with a wide variety of brands available on the market. Their popularity is likely down to both affordable pricing and subtlety of wear.

The solution

Obviously cost will be an issue with wearable technology until mass appeal brings prices down. But in order to do that the image problem needs to be overcome.

‘Invisible’ devices are developing into a popular choice for e-health providers, offering users a inconspicuous way to monitor or treat health conditions – for example moulded earbuds or skin patches.

These work for the medical market but they could prove more difficult for wider fields. Many people are already concerned over the moral and legal implications of Google Glass, and invisible wearable technology may only add to this worry of invaded privacy.

Conclusion

The opportunity and excitement surrounding wearable technology is too much to ignore, however as with all new technology there are clearly teething problems. Image conscious consumers, concerned over privacy are yet to be convinced.