Apparently you can get wearables for pets. No, I’m not talking about tutus for dogs and raincoats for cats. I’m talking about wearable technology, a phenomenon set to cement itself in our daily lives (and perhaps our dogs’ lives too).
Perhaps you wear a piece of wearable technology already? MedCityNews states that wearable health devices are already on par with mobile tablet usage. But what are they exactly?
Essentially, wearables are pieces of clothing or fashion accessories that incorporate electronic technologies. Their raison d’être? To help improve our day to day lives by enabling us to have instant access to any information we require. Oh, and some can supposedly improve our health too.
Fitbit’s Flex is a wearable health device that can be worn as a wristband. Its purpose? To enable the individual to record their steps and sleep patterns so that the wearer is able to monitor their health on the go. The FitBit can even act as your alarm, waking you at your desired time but gradually and according to your personal sleep pattern. No more groggy mornings or family members dragging you out of bed by the heels! These health devices can even been synced to your phone and computer so that you can access your stats any time you desire.
The Apple Watch, set to launch in 2015, acts, not only as a wearable health device, but also incorporates many other features such as Apple’s apps, an email service and maps. The watch can even be used to pay for goods and services.
But how beneficial are these wearable devices really, and could they even be detrimental to society? Wearables can, in a sense, act as an extension of ourselves, but does that have the potential to lead to a generation of cyborgs?
According to MedCityNews, the data from these wearable health devices could help to shape our health economy, with data available to be used by insurers, employers and healthcare professionals. But possible risks to this include data privacy; how much do we really want others to know about us? And ironically, what about the risks to our health? What if you were knocked over by a car whilst jogging because you were fixated on your wristwatch? That wouldn’t be quite so healthy.
With the take up of wearable technology set to increase in the next 6 months, how can marketers use our desire to become healthier for their benefit? With information being consumed in an even more immediate, fleeting way, marketing messages will need to engage with an audience who may only steal three seconds to glance at their Apple watches whilst out for a morning jog. Location will also be a huge consideration for marketers, who can use these devices to create location-specific marketing messages, as permissible in NFC. Even emotion could play its part; as these wearable technologies become more advanced, sensors incorporated into these technologies could enable marketers to read our emotional state in order target messages accordingly and time specifically. Peckish? Perhaps further advancements could see gadgets such as the FitBit direct a hungry health fanatic to the nearest health food restaurant?
It’s slightly alarming to see how technology is able to delve into our psyches and physiologies, and how marketers can capitalise on this. Whilst this may be good for the economy, could a fixation on wearable health devices cause unnecessary worry over the occasional indulgence? There are so many factors to consider when it comes to wearables, although they certainly have their merits. At least FitBark dog equivalent will help me save on my veterinary bills.