Smartphones have extended our conception of connectivity creating an appetite and an expectation of 24/7 digital contact. Mobiles without internet now seem like the dumb terminals of the pre-internet computer age; dead ends with limited functionality.
We’ve grown used to being able to communicate with friends and family at most points of the day – even surreptitiously in meetings and we won’t talk about throne surfing, but you get my point.
The next logical step in the process is the inevitable miniaturisation that seems to follows any technological innovation. Think TVs, Walkmans, computer storage and the list goes on.
So now it’s the beginning of an exciting new phase – wearables. These ultra-portable wearable devices are actually morphing from a technology device to functional items that integrate more easily into our everyday accessories. So much so that the world of fashion has been coopted early in the process to ensure a smoother entry to consumer land and thereby reduce the shock of the new.
Appearance is one thing but functionality and unobtrusiveness will be paramount for mass uptake. As will the price. Don’t expect many entry level price points this technology is just too new but in time this will surely change.
Today we have Google Glass, Apple Watch and Moto 360 smartwatch. That’s just the vanguard. You can bet there will be a lot more to follow along with a wide range of accessories.
Beyond the aesthetics there may be changes ahead to the way the underlying communications are delivered. Perhaps the way SMS networks work today will fade away in favour of the cloud and messaging platforms. It’s too early to tell.
And voice recognition will probably become more sophisticated and will build on the ground made by Apple’s Siri. Different players in this space may emerge from business applications and take centre stage in the consumer space such as Dragon Naturally Speaking. It’s a new frontier and it represents a huge conceptual step change that offers a lot of possibilities not only for our social lives but for business.
What will wearables mean for SMEs? Overtime it may follow the trajectory of social media where a consumer or socially-based platform is applied by business for business due mainly to its sheer popularity.
In short, watch this space.