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Wearables Are About Better Experiences, But Can They Stop Being Ugly? #MWC16

It’s not that I don’t love the idea of better experiences. In fact, I love the idea. I’ve already given all of my privacy away by choosing application after application that undoubtedly hoards my data and sells it to the highest bidder. I am after all on Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, Snapchat, Slack and so many other “Free Applications.” But then again what is it that I always say. “When the application is free, you are the product.” Have you read those terms of service agreements? Neither have I!

So it all started with applications to drive better experiences, keep us more connected to our friends, family and our work. Then something happened.  Companies realized that if we only used our computers and mobile devices to be online, there would certainly be hours lost where we would sleep, eat, exercise or partake in essentially any activity where we weren’t transmitting our data and that time would be like a black hole for optimizing experiences and leveraging the data we offer during that time to serve us with better advertisements.

In short, big data and privacy have gotten a bit of a bad rep, but in all actuality the power of big data is huge and the more our data knows about us, the better our digital experiences will be. However, to truly immerse in our lives, we need our data to be collected around the clock and with this came the explosion of wearables. Wearable technology, items such as our fitness bands, smart watches, sleep monitors and even sensor laden clothing have served as the gateway to a life connected 24×7. Being a technology lover or geek is no longer required as the wearables have given us access to things that are important to our everyday lives like how active we are, the quality of our sleep, or even just a quick glance at our incoming signals without having to pull out our extra large mobile devices or connect our laptops to the internet. Want to know how the stock market is doing or see the latest email. It can be right there on your wrist. Only one problem, wearables for the most part are ugly. Well at least they were, and I beg the question, why?

We’ve already seen technology proliferate at such a rate where powerful operating systems can be implemented into devices that fit in your hand and sensors can be embedded in anything and connected to the Internet for immediate data collection, so why are we still walking around with ugly wearables? While the early days of smart watches straight up to the Apple Watch (which I own) may have been limited by what technology and hardware is available, we have certainly come a long way. Wearing rubber bands around our wrists was barely even cool in grammar school, so why do we think this looks good today? Really it just screams out, “I’m cool, connected and I am most definitely health conscious.” Too bad if you want to slip on your best threads or a nice suit you wind up looking just kind of silly toting around what looks like a black “Livestrong” band all the time.

But there is good news on the horizon; companies like HP, Inc. are changing the game with their new smart wearables that incorporate both function and style into the mix. This week at Mobile World Congress, they showed off a series of Smart Watches designed by fashionable brands such as Titan, Isaac Mizrahi and Movado. These were wearables, you would actually want to wear, and embedded into the crown there were all the smarts you could ever want or need.

In the years to come, there is no question that we have evolved into not only loving our always connected lives, but to truly embracing our role as “Human Data Centers” and with this we will be attaching ourselves to more “Things,” many of which we will wear to make our connected experience more seamless. However, we have also evolved enough where what we wear, can be as pleasing to the eye as our favorite watches, garments or sneakers. Being connected doesn’t have to mean ugly. In fact, pretty soon wearables may be the best looking (internet of) thing you have on.

This article was brought to you in part by HP, Inc. Opinions and thoughts are those of the author. 

Daniel Newman

After 12 years of running technology companies including a CEO appointment at the age of 28, I traded the corner office for a chance to drive the discussion on how the digital economy is going to forever change how business is done. I'm an MBA, adjunct business professor and 5x author of best-selling business books including "The Millennial CEO" and "The New Rules of Customer Engagement." Pianist, soccer fan, husband and father, not in that order. Oh and for work...I'm the CEO of Broadsuite Media Group and President of V3 Broadsuite, a family of marketing and media agencies that help companies be found, seen and heard in a cluttered digital world. I also give keynote speeches around the world on the topics such as digital transformation, technology and marketing.