Wearable technology was the focus at CES. A few curious clients asked us what we thought it meant for communications, but we didn’t have a clue. We have enthusiasts but, like everyone else, we were still finding our way, as there wasn’t the scale of consumer experience that might unlock the potential of these new watches, wristbands and headbands.
So we became our own focus group, with help from Dr Chris Brauer of Goldsmiths. Brauer is carrying out a long-term academic study into the impact of wearable technology in the workplace. Forty Mindshare guinea pigs wore three different types of technology calibrating sleep, movement, concentration and posture for four weeks. A huge exercise in self-awareness about our productivity at work, it also developed our thinking about the role wearable technology can play for brands.
Sensitivity is key for any brand looking to earn the trust they need to engage in wearable technology
So what have we learnt?
1. Wearable technology is hyper-personal, at a level way beyond anything in the mobile world to date. Each person shared more than 30GB a week, touching on some of the most personal aspects of their lives. Sensitivity is key for any brand looking to earn the trust they need to engage in this area.
2. Add value, don’t interrupt. Wearable technology is an exercise in self-awareness and self-improvement, initiating behavioural change or establishing new lifestyle patterns. Any brand or product has to make a very powerful and personal connection to individuals’ personal goals to change that person’s life for the better. Brands should only operate in this space if they can create appropriate context, relevance and very personal exchanges of value that feel genuinely one-to-one.
3. Mashable personal data: new technologies are "open" and networked – rather than "closed" – environments, so individuals can input and append information to that generated by wearable technology.
In a world where we are inventing the future of media as we go, it is only through experiencing new technology ourselves that we can create informed hypotheses for our clients – experiment today to anticipate how we will engage with larger audiences in the future.
Mark Creighton is the UK chief exeacutive at Mindshare