We’ve all seen Google Glass, laughed at the young, entitled “glassholes” lucky enough to land a pair, and chortled along with how ridiculous people look when walking around with them on. However, Google Glass is arguably the most important tech innovation in recent years, and will more than likely represent a fundamental shift in how we connect and respond to each other and other things. Why? Well, think about what factors are involved in deciding to wear technology versus just use technology.
Sophisticated, wearable information systems can enable a host of capabilities to help increase productivity, efficiency and knowledge. With real-time data access in a user-friendly UI, and the ability to recall data from everything you’ve done, you will be able to more effectively filter the information that’s relevant and meaningful for you. This is the power of real-time analytics: you will instantly be able to do more with less, experiment with what works and doesn’t work, and let the device anticipate where you will go next and what you may want or need and then construct the best way to achieve that interaction or activity.
You may shake your head and feel OK with the fact that you can do a lot of this now with the smartphone in your hand. Sure. But putting something on your body is a deeply personal act, and may further automate and integrate your own preferences into the system you decide to wear. Our smartphones are untethered, they are an “outside system” that we must consciously choose to interact with and take several actions in which to engage with, and we make emotional connections to our smartphones, many of us even sleep with them. However, placing a device onto our bodies embeds that emotional connection directly into our being and sense of self. That’s the biggest leap we’ll ever really make with technology: to integrate it into our sense of self.
For anyone to “agree” to do that, they’ll want something back, such as:
Deeper Adaptive Personalization. Wearers will want personalized tools and services that build on their previous interactions, and that add value to their overall experience.
Contextual Support. The system will need to learn the wearer’s preferences over time, and then generate tailored results and anticipate future needs while serving up relevant information.
Long Distance Togetherness. Wearers will desire instant access to others and things based on building more meaningful relationships (and seeking expertise). Wearable technologies must first be fashionably acceptable, and then extend the reach and power of how people connect, communicate and share details about themselves over any distance.
Wearable technologies will respond to us in highly personalized ways, adapting their form and functionality to match a unique set of ever-changing needs more than smartphones will ever be able to do. At some point in time, we will wonder why we ever had a separate device that we had to constantly reach for.