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Michael Ash
Michael Ash 30 December 2015
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Why Wearables Continue To Be Important In 2016

As smartphone manufacturers push for wearables to increase profit margins, I urge us to leverage an even bigger incentive - stress reduction.

The Reality of Wearables

My friend Scott Eggertsen put together a terrific SlideShare called, ’The State of Wearables,’ which suggests 2016 will be the year of wearables.

 

Again. Whilst acknowledging that the world wasn’t quite ready for Google Glass, or other novelties, Eggertsen points to the success of Apple Watch, the fusion of fashion and technology in other areas, as well advancements in the health and wellness sector as positive indicators of where the market is headed. According to CCS Insight ’Smartwatches are [the] most valuable segment, taking 60% of market value [of wearables], but fitness trackers remain most popular, accounting for more than half of all wearables shipments in 2015.’

 

As smartphone manufacturers push for wearables to increase profit margins, I urge us to leverage an even bigger incentive – stress reduction. Consider this, Amy Cuddy’s research suggests we need to push for wearable technologies because humans were never meant to sit behind a laptop, or hunch over a smartphone over long durations. The impact? Possibly, increased stress, induced by posture, facilitated by our evolutionary makeup. Cuddy is most famous for her research on ’Power Posing’ however, at The Art of Leadership in Toronto she spoke about studies that gauge the assertiveness of individuals following the usage of various devices ranging from an iPhone to a desktop computer.

 

 

It seems prolonged postures that negatively correlate to weak primate stances (or less expansive postures) can and do affect our psyches for the worse. To me, the implications of Cuddy’s studies have various ripple effects ranging from cyberbullying to the mental health of employees.

 

 

Wearables have the capability to tilt us towards a higher degree of presence, but I am not romanticising that brands should be in it for ethical reasons alone. Somewhere down the line, wearables such as Apple Watch will dominate our industry and we’ll all try to wrap our minds around how to engage consumers on tiny screens. When you boil down the essence of some of our inbound efforts, whether it’s in attracting, converting, closing or delighting, event triggers may get out of hand. No one is dying to read a promotional email on their iPhone, so what makes us think a smartwatch will pose a smaller challenge? Granted, Apple Watch can only display plain text and research from the University of Stockholm suggests users spend an average of 6.69 seconds on the device with the majority of attention going towards the watchface app, and the least amount of attention going towards mail app. For now.

 

When we look at the finalists of Apple’s 2015 design awards, a pattern does emerge though - ’minimalism.’ Which begs the question... In an age where companies are insecure about the ROI of a fragment digital landscape, do we have the courage to remove an extra logo, provide utility over promotion and to give value beyond automation? Having a device mounted on the body means our postures will vary, and we’ll gradually rely less on both of our hands to interact. Should your brand be privileged enough to tackle Apple Watch as a touchpoint for a new campaign, I strongly recommend you consider Eggertsen’s wearable takeaways.

 

1. Provide context: provide device-agnostic information centered around location and relevance
2. Provide utility: develop a user experience that goes beyond `marketing as interruption’
3. Be informative or entertaining: offer glanceable content that allows users to get snapshots of entertainment

What about you? What are your tips for making wearables work for your campaigns in 2016? You can view Scott Eggertsen’s presentation here:
http://www.slideshare.net/ScottEggertsen/wearable-tech-trends-for-2016

 

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