As someone who still revels in his mediocre former running glories (in my head at least) I have always kept an interest in sports advancement from the Reebok basketball shoe pump that made you jump a bit higher to the Nike+, and in more recent years, fuelband. So, I note with interest that today and tomorrow in London will be Europe’s biggest dedicated wearable technology event.
A topic that has already had a bit of mention at today’s AD:TECH in Sydney.
Other than the pure nerd value, it’s interesting for a few reasons:
1. It has already got big really quickly. At the London event, Intel, Reebok, McLaren, Google, Samsung and Microsoft are all present along with over 300 exhibitors and 100 speakers. It only feels like the last couple of years that wearable technology has even entered the vocabulary, yet Deloitte Consulting predict that 10m products will be sold with a market size of US$3bn in 2014.
2. It won’t just have one winner. No-one is exactly sure in which guise but be it Google Glass, Fuelband, Apple Watches (watch this space) or chips built into the clothes themselves such as those worn by the International Rugby Teams – it’s going to happen and will go mainstream, so probably a combination of all of the above at least to start with.
3. It will change both consumer and corporate behaviour.
a) CONSUMER: The quantified self – where we each seek enlightenment (or can’t help ourselves but compare) through our own numbers be that speed, heart rate, etc etc.. to the average or the best will not change, but only occur more often with greater data sets. There will be a plethora of apps that will look to use this data – again reinforcing a further growing trend of “productisation of digital” – where new utility products are created from data.
b) CORPORATE: Given the changes in the Australian Privacy Laws last week, it will be interesting who owns, can see and can use this data, as the data from it is likely to change health insurance fund premiums in an obvious way but less so is the usage of the data in a very different way – for example retailers could tell how often people have worn the garment before replacing it and even more so for FMCG is how often is it washed in its lifetime for the detergent manufacturer.
Speaking to someone last week, it’s not all about the fuelband as when built into clothing, it will be designed specific to sports type – cycling cadence is different to a runner’s gait etc, hence the difference in the data collected, as it is all about the context of what’s its used for when collecting, but that’s just humans…
Taking it even further… and I kid you not (although I said it as a joke), I asked whether they could be built for greyhounds and horses (my dad loves a punt) and the answer was yes they already are. Compression suits are already made for when horses travel internationally to ensure biometrics are back to normal prior to performing. If such data is able to be used in gambling it could potentially change how odds are calculated.
Crazy world and it’s only going to get crazier!
If you are interested amongst the lots of stuff written about wearables – this is good. It’s part of the Deloitte Top10 2014 Tech Trends. http://dupress.com/articles/2014-tech-trends-wearables/