CES 2016 -- Wearable Technology Fitness, Fashion, and the Future of Marketing
Wearable Technology was so hot this year in
CES that it had its own market place that covered one floor stretching over
three halls. It covered everything from
jewellery to pet monitoring gear, the rather old fashioned blue tooth to cloud
computing. It seems that everything from your mood to activity can be measured,
you can be placed and tracked on a map or just enjoy yourself with lights and
The fitness market is probably the most
mature with the likes of Fitbit and Jawbone fighting off new comers such as the
In CES 2016 there were two clear camps –
the functional wearable tech and the "fashtech" or more fashionable
wearables – the fashion tech art.
However even the functional tech was a pleasure to wear, hiding its
functionality well. Verreos even hosted
a fashion show to demonstrate this fact.
Fitness was the hands down winner of
wearable tech themes with many different ways of wearing the tech as well as
its depth of functionality. One of the stranger offerings came from Billie
Whitehouse of Wearable Experiments who launched a yoga fitness set of tights
that monitors movement, connected to an encouraging app. Perhaps, worth a giggle, is the OMSignal
smart bra that detects a range of biometrics encouraging a greater level of
fitness. Not sure what the gentleman do to receive the same support!
Perhaps the next largest section of
wearable tech was travel wear, ranging from rucksacks to boots. Wrist wear was
also a hotly fought area with the market leaders Fitbit launching a smart
fitness based watch and the leading watch company Fossil promising no fewer
than 100 different connected wearables.
The problem with fitness-based wearables is
that they are connected to the good intentions of the potential wearers. Not so those wearables such as running shoes,
aimed at the more dedicated such as those from iFit that use sensors to provide
feedback on running styles, fitness and progress. However those dedicated to their fitness can
do no worse than look at the Masimo range of monitors. Masimo specialise in hospital monitors and
have parlayed this experience to the serious athlete's market who require much
more detailed and accurate information than the likes of Fitbit can provide.
For those that jump upwards rather than run forwards Vert showcased a jump
monitor – basketball anyone?
So what does this mean to the business
owner? Wearable technology is cited to be the next big disruptive technology.
Just as mobile phones and tablets have demanded changes in marketing, wearable
technology will be the new baby insisting upon constant monitoring and
responsiveness. When mobile phones first
arrived they were looked upon as status symbols and now they are necessities, and from the point-of-view of a business owner, not marketing on mobile phones is a disaster. The
thought of viewing the internet, answering emails and purchasing via our
mobiles was not considered of and was certainly impossible. How long will it be until purchasing from our
wearable technology becomes common place – it will be a few short years until
the seemingly impossible becomes possible and companies need to take this into
consideration when planning their marketing.
Wearables are upon us and no longer only possible in Star
Wars and Star Trek. Some forward looking companies such as Ocoos have accounted for this shift, but most of the current industry is still catching up to mobile phones.
believes that the standout wearable tech products, and those to watch, in the CES 2016 show are:
Best fitness wrist based wearable
tech: Fitbit still
going strong after a few years at the top, many challengers not least from the
mighty Apple and a recent lawsuit launched in the USA. Perhaps its simplicity
and the options of regularly changing its wrist strap are its winning
strategies. Whatever it is, it seems that even the most exercise shy user is
spurred on by its easy to use app and simple notification system of vibration
Weirdest wearable tech that probably
will not catch on: there were several contestants but most of
them fell into the underwear section. Be they male of female, bra, pants or
socks, it was hard to believe that people would actually ask for them in a
shop, no matter wear them. And how on earth does a wearer keep them clean and
Showing most promise:
reading through reviews, Samsung's TipTalk wearable smart watch seems to
have garnered most positive reviews.
Wearable tech showing most
must surely go to the in ear wearing Bragi Dash. This kick starter funded invention not only
measures the usual heart rates steps etc. but also are soon to have swimming
and cycling option. Combined with these uses these wireless earbuds can also
store and playback 1,000 songs AND make phone calls. Previewed at the show, it
is no wonder this $299 package is expected to fly off the shelves when it is
For the serious athlete: there were many fitness and routine
measurement kits available but the Hexoskin Smart smart shirt came out on top due to its convenience and
range of activities that could be measured. Not only can it measure the usual
stuff but also recovery rates, calories exerted, exercise intensity and fatigue
levels. It also has blue tooth enabling
it to match with other such devices if a fitness measurement you want is not
Most attractive, useful wearable
tech: aimed at
those that do not want swathes of plastic and rubber adorning their wrists, the
MisFit Ray fitness tracker is for you.
Aimed principally at the fairer sex for now, it adorns the wrist with
Most innovative wearable tech: has to be the Gemio friendship
bracelet styled, social interaction piece of kit, that uses LED lights to
produce various patterns and messages to other Gemio bracelets. Aimed squarely
at those born this century it is sure to be a "pester buy" once it
becomes established in one school yard.
Loved by the press award: various authority sites have the
Casio WSD-F10 smart
watch featuring high in their awards. Aimed at the outdoor enthusiast it
features numerous tracking and monitoring devices. However at an estimated $500
it is unlikely to trouble many wallets and purses when it becomes available
within the US.
Whatever you want from your wearable tech it seems that the CES 2016 has something for you – you just need to wait until they are available on the mainstream retail websites, and then head over to Frugaa for your voucher.