The wearable tech market is no doubt still in its infancy with several companies grappling for the top position whilst also trying to figure out the real benefit that wearable tech is going to bring to the consumer and thus how to position themselves and their products accordingly.
At present wearable tech is really about bring the power of technology a little bit closer to the consumer in terms of how we can react with our technology when we are on the move and how this interaction can be as seamless and as easy as possible – which is absolutely key considering the fast paced life that we invariably now lead.
IoT and its place in Wearable Tech
In addition to this more efficient interaction with tech and the digital element of our everyday lives, the Internet of Things is also threatening to grasp a hold on wearable tech and would perhaps have it be the contact point of a fully digitised world that would allow us to be permanently connected to everything around us via a digital fabric.
As IoT begins connecting more and more objects together digitally there are already new windows of opportunity opening up that will allow for faster and more functional living – interaction with our homes, our cars and many other physical elements of our lives, personalisation of everyday experiences such as taking a shower, shopping and travel and these new lines of interaction that we have with our digital world really need a central point of control – which is like to come from wearable tech.
So there is no doubt that wearable tech is the future, and perhaps the watch or something very similar will be the object that takes wearable the by storm.
Competing for the Largest Share of an Emerging Market
Two companies that most definitely feel this way are Microsoft and Apple and have made this train of thought very clear, each having developed their own product that fits into this model. Apple, led by Tim Cook have spent much time and deliberation developing the Apple Watch – a very stylish and extremely functional take on the traditional watch whilst Microsoft have developed and launched the Microsoft band which is again a very functional piece of wearable tech although as is traditional with Microsoft it has pushed the boundaries of design and function and tried to produce something much more futuristic breaking away from the traditional way in which we see the watch.
Despite these differences in design it is clear that both companies are working towards the same goal, targeting a similar market and also bouncing off of each other’s ideas – both very eager to hit the nail on the head and take the wearable tech market by storm.
It is very interesting to note that Apple have really approached their project by looking at and building on the watch as we all know it – some of the key focal points of the Apple Watch is the fact that it really functions perfectly as a watch and incorporates everything that there is to love in a classic timepiece. For example, the Apple Watch keeps the time to within 50 milliseconds of the definitive global time standard and also comes with many time features that watch lovers hold dear including date, alarm, stopwatch and moon faze.
The idea behind this approach seems to be a desire to satisfy the consumer with a device that will not only replace the watch but will also better it in all of its core functions – it almost feels like Apple are interested in taking hold of the watch market ina similar way as companies have donw with the broadband market, and perhaps appreciate that whilst there is so much more to come from wearable tech, it is very important to create brand loyalty in this early period of the technologies development.
In stark contrast to Apples methodology with their product, Microsoft have really taken a different approach and have gone for a band rather than the traditional design that a watch might take.
It is perhaps arguable whether or not Microsoft have simply followed a trend in designing the band or whether they are more forward thinking and are deliberately trying to move away from the traditional watch.
It is fair to say that whilst Microsoft often make mistakes in the early design stage of their products they really are a future tech company and whilst they often leave much of the testing the post launch stage and in the users hands, they do always strive to develop for the future, pushing the boundaries of what is currently available on the market and always looking for a new focal point in tech.
It is also a fair assumption to make, perhaps as Microsoft may have done, that the watch is not what it used to be in terms of functionality – it is perhaps more common in this day and age when trying to establish the time that we might look at our phone rather than a watch. Its perhaps easier to do so and also allows for a much greater amount of detail to be established much more quickly than with a watch – for example, we can easily see the time to the nearest second, the date, perhaps the weather and often other key pieces of information as well.
Microsoft is perhaps trying to port a larger element of this digital functionality from the smartphone and onto a piece of wearable tech – in this case the Microsoft Band, whereas Apple are trying to evolve the watch in place.
Who has the upper hand at the moment?
It is really hard to say, especially in light of the fact that whilst Microsoft have launched their Band, Apple have not yet officially launched the Apple Watch and are not planning to do so until April. Perhaps Microsoft may bring out an update nearer this time as well seeing as they appear to have been filtering their current product onto the market slowly rather than trying to flood the market ahead of Apple.
When both devices are launched and competing on the open market it will be easier to see which one takes hold and grabs the largest market share.
Perhaps Apple has the right idea at the moment with trying to win over the hearts of watch lovers in order to take a stronger foothold in this emerging market whilst appreciating that wearable tech is really in its infancy.
There is much logic in this approach and it is perhaps the case that as IoT really takes hold, the wearable tech market will evolve, taking some time to find its final form.
Microsoft may be more forward thinking in their approach, trying to design for what wearable tech will eventually be – but whether they can convince the market if this vision at present is not clear.