Google Glass. Apple Watch. Fitbit.
What are they? Wearable technologies! And in some demographic circles, they are all the rage. While they are fun and sexy, do they have the juice to run your event? Let’s take a harder look into wearable technology, how they are positioned and the truth about their applicability for attendees in 2015 and beyond.
What Wearable Technology Has to Offer
- Their main strength is the ability to track and measure activity and record such activity with video (in the case of Google Glass).
- Sleek designs are meant to appeal to different individuals. Depending on the manufacturer and product, they have a variety of color schemes as well.
- Many offer phone support through Bluetooth and are compatible with certain versions of the manufacturer’s smartphone line.
- Depending on the system, they are waterproof.
- The battery life lasts multiple days.
- Some have voice recognition and can use the speakerphone option.
What Wearable Tech Is Lacking
The major thing wearable technology is lacking is the variety and depth of applications any attendee would want while at a conference. In addition, most apps are not hardware agnostic – meaning the ability to be used on multiple vendor platforms – which is a problem developers need to address pronto if wearables of any kind are going to be accepted in the event industry.
Bridget Carey, a senior editor at CNET stated, “Fitness bands track steps, smartwatches buzz with missed tweets, and wearable cameras capture every waking moment. But none of this fits together.” In fact, most testers of this technology agree that right now, unless you are interested in one or two specific apps for the wearable, this device is just a distraction.
Ben Bajarin, a principal analyst at Creative Strategies stated, “The wearable market has been challenged. Consumers buy them, the experience is novel, but after time the devices fail to add any real value.”
Wearables Will Eventually Get There
According to a report from Transparency Market Research, sales from wearable devices are expected to reach $5.8 billion in 2018. Last September, MarketsandMarkets published a report predicting this market will have sales of $11.6 billion by 2020.
What Should You Do For Your Attendees in the Meantime?
While HTR will be keeping their eye on wearables in the future, I believe wearable technology has a long way to go before they will be totally accepted in the event industry. Google Glass has the most applicability for training, but even this product struggles for acceptance due to privacy issues.
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