Each Friday, Points North gives a senior media figure a platform to air their views on a topical or relevant issue.
This week it’s Andrew Daniels, managing director of Degree 53. He explains why he has changed his mind about the point of wearable technology.
With the Apple Watch, Android Wear and Google Glass, there’s little doubt we’re now entering the era of wearable technology. It’s becoming a part of our everyday lives. A key question for me is why do people want to wear technology?
We’ve just seen the rise in smartwatches. A few months ago I thought the idea of wearable technology would be a gimmick and I couldn’t see why I would want a smartwatch when it’s just as easy to take out my phone and check notifications.
But smartwatches offer something subtly different. The aim isn’t to draw the user in and monopolise their time; with wearables the objective is to deliver information with a glance, let the user action something with a micro-interaction and get out of the way.
Instead of reducing social interaction, wearables will hopefully reduce the amount of time people spend as ‘phone zombies’. When an email notification appears on a smartwatch you can check the subject and swipe it away in a few seconds, then carry on with your business in the real world. You don’t need get your phone out of your pocket and become drawn into that digital world.
It might not sound like a huge deal but micro interactions really do reduce the amount of time you spend staring at your phones; email and other services stop being a time-wasting distraction.
How often have you taken your phone out of your pocket when you hear a notification, then proceed to check Facebook, Twitter or LinkedIn? Wearables, and in particular the subtlety of smartwatches, reduce this potentially compulsive and unhealthy behaviour.
But what’s next?
I think wearable technology is the next phase of mobile technology. Before we know it, everyone will have one. The ease with which we can manage notifications is only the first and most obvious application. The bigger question is – what then?
People are using advances in technology to continue developing more technological products that continue to become more advanced (and smaller) than before. I think we’re going to see a lot more ways people can integrate technology into their daily routines and wearables are quickly going to become the norm.