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Wearable Devices Are Coming: Get ready for a Revolution

May 3rd, 2012

Wristband watch phoneIn a new report issued by Forrester, blogger Sarah Rotman Epps addresses an interesting platform war that is already underway: wearable devices.

Consumer product strategists in the health and fitness, social networking, media, navigation, commerce, software and gaming and apparel channels are salivating over the opportunity wearable devices will bring.

Today, companies like Nike (Nike+Fuelband) and addidas (adizero F50) have already brought products to the health and fitness market. Gadgets embedded with sensors and data display technology will become more mainstream in the coming years. In order to stay ahead of the curve, it is imperative to know what’s happening right now with the “big five” platforms – Google, Apple, Amazon, Facebook and Microsoft – and the developer communities that are fueled by the “next big thing”.

The Looking Glass

Google wearable devices

Competition only leads to deeper experimentation. Expect to see prototype’s like Google’s Project Glass feeding the wire’s insatiable appetite for all-things-Google in the coming months. The military, of course, is interested in technology that enhances a soldier’s awareness on the battlefield (an order for a prototype of dual-focus contact lenses with data display has been awarded to Innovega). Nokia has even filed a patent for what some call the “ultimate wearable” – a vibrating tattoo that could summon your attention when your best friend texts you.

In order to get the masses interested in wearable devices each of the “big 5” need to collaborate and feed the movement. Facebook has access to 800 million people’s information (like facial recognition, important for helping someone remember a name). Apple is the ultimate brand and marketer (I can picture the new end cap and in-store signage at Apple stores around the country right now: wearable accessories like the Lark sleep sensor). Google let’s developers do what they do best: extract the most from an open Android platform. Amazon is putting the big box stores out of business with more than 100 million products and buyers coming together. And Microsoft knows a thing or two about depth sensors.

Another player, WIMM Labs, is selling what it calls “the most capable wearable device” for $199.00. The WIMM One is a wrist-based companion that pairs with your smartphone. In essence, it’s a fully-connected WiFi enabled computer with a variety of Android-based Micro Apps that stores all your critical information so you can access it anywhere. Amazon sells it.

WIMM watch

The demand for information immediacy and faster, more relevant digital experiences will foster a new market. New markets bring new opportunities, especially in the world of branding. Imagine an affordable wearable device with your logo. It’s not that far off into the future.

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