Wearable computing is evolving into separate niche markets. The ‘old’ days of cramming every function into one product has gone. At CES 2015 new offerings are targeted at specific user profiles – such as wearables with storage for maps and GPS targeted at cross-country hikers. This specialisation reflects the fact that many wearables are often discarded by consumers within a year of purchase.
The customer with a high appreciation of aesthetic value forms a specific user profile. According to The Cassandra Report: DIGITAL only around a quarter of 14- to 34-year-olds agree that wearables match their aesthetic standards. There’s a perception that these devices look more at home in the gym than in everyday life. For most brands the only nod to style has been custom colours.
Now ‘smart jewellery’ is targeting a more aesthetically demanding audience, one that is predominantly female. Visual appeal is no longer relegated to an after-thought for extending the market but is becoming a core feature of the product. These devices have the sophisticated styles of conventional jewellery. They typically offer features that go beyond the health and fitness mainstays of wearables, with functions such as alerts for phones and security alarms.
The tech brand Misfit has always been at the forefront of aesthetic appeal in fitness trackers. Now Misfit has partnered with Swarovski to bring bling to wearable computing. The Swarovski Shine smart jewellery collection includes two wearable devices and nine accessories, so providing connectivity to suit all occasions, from work to evening wear. The collection is only available on pre-order in the US, Hong Kong and China but it is fully compatible with the currently available Misfit Shine.
The face of wearable computing…
For several years the customer has seen Google Glass as the face of wearable computing. Google Glass may have disappeared from the market, but it’s unlikely to be gone for good. Smart glasses technology is still progressing with other manufacturers who are learning from the conditions faced by Google. The most promising examples look more like conventional glasses, which as the trend for smart jewellery shows is key to adoption by ordinary consumers.
We’re seeing an unstoppable future where the human body blends with computational power. The market is responding head-on to the style issue that computing has never needed to face – the stylistic refinements over the years by Apple are nothing compared to the importance of fashion that the market now demands.
You can discover more developments in how people access computers in the menu category Internet of Things. For a broad description of the whole area see the article 10 ways you can use the Internet of Things now.