Independent Thinking Blog

Why Wearable Tech Is Not a Game Changer

According to Mashable, the hot items at this year’s Consumer Electronics Show (CES) included a computer-in-a-watch and a wristband that measures sun exposure. Engadget put on its CES “best of” list a wristband that tracks your activity and reminds you to work out. As for Gizmodo? No “wearable” device registered in its top 10.

Meanwhile, Samsung has launched a huge ad campaign for its new watch phone, and the spots remind me more of the bumbling naivety of Maxwell Smart than the sophistication of James Bond.

Wearable technology is neither new nor terribly interesting.

A lot of people put “wearable” on their 2014 trends lists. Here’s the problem: it’s not a new trend. We’ve been wearing our technology for years. Think Bluetooth microphones, iPod pockets, and even my oldest Timex Ironman watch.

It’s not really about the technology.

We talk about “wearable,” but it’s more about what the technology does for us than where it is on us. When we talk about “wearable” what we really mean is connected, community, and convenience. For example, Nike’s FuelBand and Fitbit’s Force and Flex market lifestyle. Google Glass promises access and information at the blink of an eye.

It’s not about design, or sensors, or looking cool.

Today’s wearable tech is iterative technology. It’s a much better mousetrap, but it’s still a mousetrap. The bigger trap, however, is focusing on the wearable and not what the technology can do for you.

Photo by Daily Invention (Flickr).


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