Products like Nike+ FuelBand and Nike+ FuelBand hint at the future of wearable technology. It looks pretty exciting, especially for entrepreneurs already planning to implement it in their own businesses and products.
But as cool as innovations like Google Glass seem from the consumer point of view, it’s hard to imagine how wearable technology will become part of our lives (and the lives of our customers).
A panel of successful founders shares how they predict wearable tech will change their lives as business owners and members of the tech startup community at large.
1. Augmented reality will become accessible.
Augmented reality is a superficial novelty at the moment, since it’s cumbersome to take out your phone, load an app and then finally view the item that features augmented reality. However, with wearable technology such as Google Glass on the horizon, augmented reality will be much more accessible. Imagine going to conferences and networking events and having a floating LinkedIn button accessible above the head of each person at the event. Imagine searching for an office suite and easily looking at a building to see which spaces are available, along with rental fees. Augmented reality has the power to make life easier and more productive for every entrepreneur.
2. Tech will become an extension of ourselves.
It’s already happening. Smartphones quickly became extensions of our bodies. Now people notice their smartphones are missing before their wallets. The qualifier “wearable” on new technology will soon be outdated, much like the word “mobile” is already dying off. Because the members of the tech community are the early adopters, they’ll be the first to try it, the first to hack it and the first to improve upon it.
3. The startup community will operate more efficiently.
Wearable technology should help the tech startup community save an immense amount of time. Whether it’s a smart watch, Google Glass or even a shirt that charges a smartphone, these devices will allow tech startups to operate more efficiently.
4. Wearable technology will lead to more customization.
We’ve already seen elements of how technology can impact fashion, in Diana Eng’s work — see the Blogging in Motion project, in particular. Its goal is to make technology a more important part of fashion and offer new ways to customize what you wear. A watch that updates you on the news is only the first step. Clothes that adapt themselves to the weather forecast, outfits that tweak themselves based on what you’re promoting, and even ways to control other parts of your apparel from one garment will exist. Everyone will use their wearable technology in different ways, just as there are thousands of different ways to use a smartphone.
5. Design and fashion awareness will be resurrected.
As wearable technology becomes more prominent, people who used to have their heads down, looking at a computer, will now have their heads up, scoping out the latest tech gear. The tech startup community will have to become more aware of fashion. The tech startup community will need to understand the physical needs of their customers in order to make products that fit. It will be interesting to see if this technology brings about a new form of empathy and awareness of consumer preference.
Smartphones provide an analogous case study. In the beginning, the benefit of the smartphone was more its functionality. As time has passed, the functional differences between leading smartphones, like Apple and Samsung, have disappeared, and the aesthetic differences have become almost as meaningful.
6. Wearable technology will unlock big data.
Wearable technology will unlock a massive amount of new, personal data. As consumers wear technology — whether Google Glass, FitBit or other devices — there will be a tremendous influx of big data in real time. Some of these data types may be entirely different than what is available today. Other data streams’ volume will be multiplied. This data deluge will provide unprecedented opportunities for the tech startup community in the form of new methods, inputs and applications. This change also presents new challenges for the tech startup community, including how to reconcile diverse data sources. In these challenges is an immense value waiting to be delivered to both consumers and businesses.
7. Wearable tech will open APIs.
The best part of wearable technologies, or the even more exciting concept of a “sixth sense,” is that outside creative minds will be able to piggyback off the technology to create even more unique experiences. If wearable technology allows external developers to program features on top of it, we’ll see a wave of new tech startups entering the market to improve the human experience. This could come in many forms. The sky is the limit when you think about how we interact with data every day. Wearable technology could very well become the apex of technology that will help guide our happiness and improve our economy through increased opportunities.
8. Products and services will rapidly improve with knowledge.
With so much technology in our pockets or on our wrists at all times, startups can more easily access real-time data about their users. This will increase the depth and breadth of data collected and will help accelerate the improvement of products or services. This is currently happening. The intersection of these trends, with the ability for rapid iteration, makes this an amazing time to be a tech startup.