Being a writer for a company site such as We Are Technology forces me to be on the constant lookout for new topics and old topics to write about concerning technology. I have to ask myself what does our audience want to hear about? And what do they need to know about? These are important questions since as the company writer, I want to serve our clients, company followers, as well as the company itself. And in the past we have discussed wearable technology and I think it has a future, but my question is….how soon is that future?
So I started asking myself how often have I seen people in everyday life wearing and using wearable technology? And I was forced to respond that I only know one person who owns and uses such a device and that I have not seen anyone wandering around wearing Google Glasses or other smart devices. So what is happening? Am I too isolated to know the reality of how the market place has responded to these devices? Also, why have I not seen these products prominently displayed in stores either, and the items I see online are often Photoshop concept type drawings made to look very real to present the idea of the potential product, but not something actually produced and ready.
So I have asked one of our top software programmers, Devin R., who happens to own a smart watch what he thought of the item. And this is what he shared with me. He purchased a Pebble from Best Buy since he had been following the item’s progress since it was on Kickstarter in 2012. The purpose behind the smart watch to be able to free him from having to check his phone constantly especially while doing activities such as biking, driving, or when in meetings. The Pebble did what it was supposed to and when there was a problem with the device he was able to get it exchanged but he had hoped for more innovations as time went on. He said that he would recommend wearable technology such as the watches but perhaps not the Pebble so much. Now he’s got his eye on a more advanced product that is coming out in the near future like the Moto 360.
So how far away is the practical usage of wearable technology? There have been a number of wearable items listed in the media such as headgear, wrist gear, and even rings. But are any of them actually being produced? I saw lots of glitzy photos of wifi rings, but nothing that looked real until I came across this article on the BBC website. It is created by a engineer Anush Elangovan and the ring is called a Nod. He demonstrates the device in a video shown online, which certainly lends a bit more creditability to the idea that a ring could be a real working wearable piece of technology and not just a concept. Click here to view the BBC article. (Also another informative article is on Slashgear.com)
So why so many concepts devices shared online in fancy marketing style pictures and not so many actual products in use? Is the technology not yet available to make this a reality? Is it not practical enough? Or has the consumer base that would purchase such products vanished? I have seen the statistical charts concerning the disappearance of the power shoppers – the middle class – and have actually observed some of these statistics in reality. And it seems in the past that it was the middle class that encouraged education and dreamed of such things as space exploration. Yah, remember NASA and the cool space shuttle and all those dreams of becoming astronauts. Sigh. Now we have Putin telling us tough bananas about getting our scientists into space to work on projects. I guess that’s another story to write about later.
So what is the future for technology? Are we going to continue to grow and be creative? Are those of us who dream of a Star Trek type of world where technology brings about positive change going to find that future or not? I seem to be asking a great deal of questions with no answers. I know I want to see that positive future happen, and it may take some important people to open their eyes and see what is really happening and doing something about it. It will also mean an education system where excellence is encouraged for all and not just for special groups – everyone – just like in Star Trek.
Gretchen Winkler (c) 2014
Technology Artist – Cumulus Technology