I consider myself an early adopter when it comes to technology. There is something exciting about being among the first to try new technology products and services. So why have I not gotten on the bandwagon when it comes to wearable technology?
I’m active and would enjoy the benefits of a Nike fuel band. The concept of wearing Google glasses would allow me to see and interact with information in a smartphone-like, hands-free format and sounds intriguing. And while I probably wouldn’t read a murder novel while wearing MIT’s Sensory Fiction vest, the thought of being able to experience a characters’ emotions and physical state through discrete tangible feedback is amazing.
According to market analysis by Juniper Research, wearable technology is on track to hit $19 billion in revenue by 2019 from an estimated $1.4 billion in 2013. While all this technology is cool and very state-of-the-art, some of it also has the potential to invade one’s privacy. I am fine with giving up a bit of privacy when surfing the Internet or logging on to my social media accounts but I do have a problem speaking to someone wearing Google glasses because I have no idea if the conversation is being recorded. It’s not that I think I’ll say something that shouldn’t be repeated; it’s just out of principal.
Most wearable devices also aren’t fashionable and some are even ugly and bulky. If wearable technology is to catch on, companies have to consider how the average person would routinely wear such a device on a daily basis with their current wardrobe as to not attract unwanted attention because they look like a freak. I commend Tory Burch for designing a line for Fitbit, as this may be one device I will purchase and proudly wear. And the Apple Watch is beautiful and sleek, but I’m not sure I want to purchase an expensive watch that has the same functionality as my smartphone.
Can wearable devices be helpful? Absolutely! Certain types of wearable devices will gain traction, particularly in the medical/health-related markets, but there are cons as well. My overall fear is that wearable technology will continue to change the way we interact with each other, and not necessarily for the better.
It all boils down to whether we use these devices to focus and augment our activities or to distract. It is up to us to be mindful that while we are connecting online and via these devices it should never replace offline relationships, as face-to-face communication is essential.
How do you feel about wearable technology? Will it become a functioning part of our everyday lives? Do you think it has the potential to change the current way you communicate with someone?