The Pew Research Center recently published “The Internet of Things Will Thrive by 2025,” a compelling report on the next decade of the Internet of Things – “the array of devices, appliances, vehicles, wearable material, and sensor-laden parts of the environment that connect to each other and feed data back and forth.” The report is pretty lengthy, but worth the read.
In the first of two posts, I’ll focus on one of Pew’s main themes: wearable computing. The agency recently received major buzz surrounding the Google Glass app that we developed for Kenneth Cole’s Mankind fragrance campaign. So it seemed fitting to extract some key takeaways and share my thoughts on the future of wearables.
Wearables: Pew predicts that wearable computing will progress significantly by 2025. But comparing the technology we’re wearing today to what we’ll be wearing 11 years from now is like comparing an early laserdisc to the later DVD. As with any technology, the first-generation of wearables will provide guidance to future generations, but the latter will differ vastly in terms of features, audiences and price points. Any technology lifecycle starts out expensive and aimed at early adopter enthusiasts who want a first peek into the future. Devices are later optimized for higher quality at lower price points aimed at the mass market.
In addition to the early adopter geeks — who will likely relegate their devices to a dusty shelf once the initial novelty wears off — wearables are currently highly useful for people participating in metric-oriented activities like fitness or who have medical requirements that need tracking. Otherwise, wearable technology does not yet fulfill basic human necessities, and will not reach mainstream adoption until it does. Wearable tech is currently a solution in search of a problem. Once that problem is found, it will take off — and take off quickly.
When wearables do arrive en masse, they’ll be lightweight, small and single-purpose. People will carry a smartphone as their primary device, with their wearable devices using that smartphone as a central activity hub. This will reduce power consumption and cost. Wearable devices will mostly be Input/Output devices, with any processing or intelligence outsourced to cloud services.
At RSR, we seek to predict tomorrow’s trends so naturally we’ve become immersed in the world of wearable tech. It’s a brilliant new category, and it’s the way of the future. If this Pew report is correct, I want to be in on the forefront.
Look for Gareth’s follow-up piece on The Makegood.