Imagine the future of wearable technology
Despite the onslaught of product launches and analyst reports, only 3% of consumers currently own a wearable. If you subscribe to the Diffusion of Innovation theory, this means the market is just now entering the “early adopter” phase. And, considering a third of consumers have indicated intent to purchase a wearable, most notably male millennials, it would appear that wearables are more than just a flash in the pan. But, what functionalities will wearables gain as as they transition into the early majority? Perhaps they will track the health of an unborn child. Or maybe they’ll create a “cone of silence” garment able to block other connected devices? Perhaps something truly revolutionary unlike anything that’s come before?
We wanted to know what the future could look like. So, we gathered some Revelers for a workshop, split them into pairs and had them ask each other, “How might we improve our lives through wearable technology?”
The pairs got busy right away. The partners took turns interviewing each other to understand and gain insight into how the other partner uses technology. What are their goals, motivations and fears around technology? How do they use it to make their lives easier? More importantly, what information they currently don’t have access to would be most helpful to know?
After the lively conversations, they took some time to work independently to synthesize the information they gathered in their interview. Then, they reframed the challenge statement specifically for their partner. Many people needed a way to stay at their peak performance level all day. Some desired simplicity and wanted only one device to manage. One person wanted to monitor how her eating habits effected her throughout the day.
With their new challenges at hand, the group rapidly sketched as many ideas as they could in five minutes. This rapid extraction of ideas enabled them to quickly test and gather feedback to see if their insights were on track. After gathering feedback from their sketches, they refined one of the concepts and then set out to build a low-resolution prototype for their partner to try out. Some of the prototypes which were built included a pipe cleaner nutrition measuring fork (complete with built in sanitizer) and a clay model of a Tiffany bracelet which suggests taking breaks when stress levels are too high by measuring physical and emotional levels.
Interestingly, the fun and simple prototypes revolved around a common theme; no matter the device, the gender or the age of the person there was a hunger for analysis of the data being collected by the device. What does the data actually mean beyond just numbers or percentages? The group unanimously wanted an easy way to interpret and learn from the information their device was displaying.
What will the future of wearables technology be? It’s anyone’s guess. But, the market is poised to explode in the next five years and it’s going to be an interesting ride. A connected, quantified, gamified and monetized ride.