#FashionTech

Videos with 7 of The Luxury Technology Show Exhibitors

Awesome venue, people and tech sums up the Luxury Technology Show at W Hollywood last week.  But you don’t have to take my word for it; check out these short video interviews of 7 of the impressive technologies that were on display at the show.

Jerry Wilmink, CEO of WiseWear knocks it out of the park with BEAUTIFUL wearable jewelry.  (want to learn more about how Jerry is giving the world options over current ugly, nerdy wearabletech check out this piece)

Michelle from 4mons.com demos the mamaRoo seat and origami stroller, tools for the tech friendly parent

Joe from Elan Home Systems is a man after my heart because he wants to make the smart home so easy that grandma can use it.

Segway has met it’s match with the ultra-low form factor of Hovertrax and Solowheel by Inventist. See it demoed by Joalene Jolivette, Marketing Director at Inventist

Technology to help regrow hair? Find out more from Fran & Marina from HairMax. The lasers stimulate the hair follicles but, unfortunately, don’t work fast enough for me to show you before and after head shots.

Megan Johnson from Sengled tells about their three connected light bulbs. Pulse plays music through up to 8 connected. Boost boosts your Wi-Fi. Snap has an HD camera inside for outdoor lighting and security.

Making the kitchen smart by infusing technology into the pan? Yes, that is what Prachi and Rahul from SmartyPans will do.  Catch SmartyPans at Michael Wolfe’s Nov 5 event: The Smart Kitchen Summit

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Pasadena Becomes IoT Capital of the World Next Week

LA2015Banner

Next Monday and Tuesday Pasadena, CA becomes the IoT Capital of the world with the GizWorld LA conference in the Pasadena Convention Center with special guest, City of Pasadena CIO Phillip Leclair.  I have a 50% discount code for you below.

If you’ve been following me on Facebook, something I recommend that you do, then you’ll know that I am heavy into planning the global series of conferences for GizWorldConf.com. Everything at GizWorldConf is focused on the Internet of things. The Internet of Things is changing and it is changing rapidly. Why is that? People are beginning to understand that the Internet of things is more than hype and it is actually a value generating tool. It has implications for generating value in all areas of enterprise and stands to be the most disruptive innovation since the Industrial Revolution.

During next week’s event I will moderate two value-driven sessions and participating in a Fireside Chat with MediaTek.  The two panels are:

  • How Smart Cities will make our cities greener, more connected and safer
  • Successful Business Models for IoT

I am looking forward to engaging with the Internet of things entrepreneurs and leaders that are participating in the conference next week. One of those is Jerry Wilmink, founder and CEO of WiseWear who I’ve written about here on my blog and here on FashNerd.com because #WearableTech should and can be beautiful and seamlessly integrated into life. If any of you are in the LA area and would like to meet feel free to reach out (easiest way to get me is probably Facebook).

If any of you are interested in participating in the conference and would like a last-minute deal on an expo or marketing package, please let me know and I’ll be happy to set you up. The attendee registration link & code are: GizWorldConf.com and code IOTLA50 for a 50% discount.

Say Goodbye to Ugly, Nerdy WearableTech

To say design is important in wearable technology is an understatement; design is everything in wearable technology.  Why? Because people wear it and what people wear makes a statement about who they are.  This week I caught up with two entrepreneurs making it possible to make that statement with fashionable jewelry.

These gentlemen are leading teams creating fashionable wearable technology with designs that surpass any other fitness trackers on the market.  They are playing with a different set of rules.  Rather than working with materials and designs that easily accommodate technology, they are integrating technology into elegant designs and using materials that are figuratively and literally hard to work with.  Wireless signals cannot pass through precious metals; therefore, jewelry design involves tricks to making products that are beautiful and at the same time the design must allow for signals to be passed to and from a mobile device.

“We’ve been wearing jewelry for 75,000 years,” Gerald Wilmink, founder and CEO of WiseWear said.  What people haven’t been doing for those same years is wearing sensors.  Wearable technology entrepreneurs first attempts have been awkward and obtrusive resulting in gigantic rubber band like contraptions that have attempted to redefine what is acceptable to accessorize with.  The approach, however, is not well received by all consumers.  This is an opportunity for wearable technology to improve not just its capacity but its appeal.  “The next wave is truly integrating the sensors and electronics into everyday wear,” said Wilmink whose WiseWear Socialite collection provides fashionable selections through three different bracelet designs, the Calder, the Duchess and the Kingston.

Once wearable technology is integrated into everyday wear, it also needs to be made available to markets that will consume it.  “Career professionals are not going to buy a fashion accessory at an electronics store,” explained ViaWear Founder and CEO Ben Isaacson.  ViaWear’s Tyia bracelet line includes several different styles, finishes and bands and will be distributed in locations where jewelry is sold.  People who frequent jewelry stores and electronics stores aren’t typically the same demographic.  “The fashion forward demographic is waking up to smart jewelry,” Isaacson explained.

There is a relatively untapped market with needs that can be satisfied through beautiful wearable technology accessories and Isaacson and Wilmink are not alone in creating fashionable wearables for these customers.  Wearable fitness tracker maker Fitbit has partnered with luxury lifestyle brand Tory Burch to create Tory Burch for Fitbit.  When announcing their line of smart watches and bands last fall Apple boldly claimed, “There’s an Apple Watch for everyone.”   Others are also joining the race to make fashionable wearable technology in accessories and clothing.

Why make wearable technology fashionable?  Isaacson explains, “The fashion side is a given.  Nobody wants to wear something ugly anymore.”  To this point Wilmink also agrees, “We make sensors and electronics invisible.  You want the data but you don’t want to look like a nerd.”

Wearable Fashion Design: Silicon Valley Cannot Design Like Engineers Anymore

Confession: I’m blogging less and using Facebook more.  Yesterday was a perfect example.

There was a great topic addressed by Forbes regarding what women can bring to the table with wearable tech.   It was simple to drop my thoughts and paste the article in my Facebook feed.  Its an important post and if I had more time yesterday it would have been posted here.  Check out the post here where you can click on to the Forbes article.

While you’re at it, feel free to dig through my Facebook feed and if you find it is interesting content for you, go ahead and follow me.

5% of US iPhone users say they’re very likely to buy Apple Watch

Welcome to 2015, the Year of the Wearable.  Lets kick it off by taking a look at survey results out today from Quartz that say only 5% of US iPhone users say they’re very likely to buy an Apple Watch.

qz.com Survey Question

Another way to look at the survey is the numbers, and when I say numbers I mean show me the money.  The problem is the only money numbers in the article about the survey were watch prices.  Here’s a number I found by using the survey numbers and the comScore report cited in the Quartz piece:  $1.4 billion.

The math:  176 million smart phone users, 41.9% iPhone OEM market share is 73.7 million iPhone users.  Of iPhone users surveyed, 2.2% were extremely likely and 3.2% were very likely to purchase an Apple Watch within a year.  5.4% of 73.7 million iPhone users is just shy of 4 million Apple Watches sold in 2015.  At $350 a pop that is $1.4 billion dollars in revenue from US Apple Watch sales in 2015.

Do I trust this number?  Nope.  These are back of the envelope calculations.  Plus, the survey pool isn’t the best. The people who took the survey are SurveyMonkey Audience members which means they have signed up to take surveys on SurveyMonkey.com.  Their responses may not exactly mirror what markets will experience in 2015.  We will not know exactly what is happening when sales do start as Tim Cook said Apple won’t report sales of the watch.  The year of the wearable will be full of analyst expectations and plain old guessing.  That doesn’t mean the survey is completely useless and $1.4 billion is exactly loose change; people will spend good money for it.

“What is the most you’d be willing to spend on an Apple Watch?” The survey asks.   So many surveys have asked a similar question and time after time the overwhelming majority will spend far less than the minimum asking price for the watch.  This means Apple is presented with a challenge: convince consumers of the value the watch brings.  Do that and that $1.4 billion goes up, way up.  Apple cannot sell only watches; Apple must sell compelling, value-generating use cases for the watch.

FootLogger: Wearable Shoe Insoles That Sync & Charge Wirelessly

Check out my latest #WearableTech piece published on WearableWorldNews by clicking here

 

Audience raises hands indicating wearable ownership/use at #KOTRA2014 Connected Self Panel September 24, 2014 in Santa Clara, CA

Audience raises hands indicating wearable ownership/use at #KOTRA2014 Connected Self Panel September 24, 2014 in Santa Clara, CA

 

WorkTechWork Founder Josh Bradshaw with 3L Labs CEO Jinwook Lee in Santa Clara, CA September 25, 2014

WorkTechWork Founder Josh Bradshaw with 3L Labs CEO Jinwook Lee in Santa Clara, CA September 25, 2014

 

 

Wearables Predictions: Who to Watch for Prediction #7

People take pride in what they wear; fashion is a multi-billion dollar industry.  Wearable technology entrepreneurs are taking product design seriously, serious enough to be called fashionable, thus enabling people to make a statement about who they are with a wearable device.  Are you making a statement with wearable technology? 

This is the seventh post in a Wearable Industry Watch Series for each of the 10 Wearables Predictions.  Follow this blog or Twitter handle @WorkTechWork to be notified of each part of the series. To view all predictions and links to the other parts of the series, visit the Wearable Industry Watch Series.ShineNodSenseFitbitToryBurch

Prediction #7:  People are going to use wearable technology to make a statement about who they are.

How many of you have worn a fitness tracker even though you knew the battery was dead?  Why did you do it?  Zero tracking is done during the day a dead fitness tracker is worn and folks do not get value from the lovely feel of silicone bands on their wrists so your motivation must have come from some other kind of value, value from making a statement about who you are.

Perhaps on the day the fitness tracker is dead, the statement is to yourself.  “Self, I’m going to be more active today even though I know this thing is off” and maybe a little, “Self, p.s. please remember to charge this tonight.”

I’m not sure you’ll do that many days before dropping the fitness tracker from your wardrobe.  It is more likely that the statement you make with the dead tracker on your wrist is to others because they cannot tell it is dead.  The dead fitness tracker still conveys your active lifestyle, early tech adopter mentality, or any other reason you would want someone to see a fitness tracker on your wrist.

Enough on dead fitness trackers, let’s have a look at some wearable products that are actually shaping up to be fashionable, products to keep an eye on to see if people start using wearable technology to make a statement about who they are.

Misfit Shine

In Who to Watch for Prediction #1 all single purpose fitness trackers including Misfit Shine are categorized as fad devices; however, the Misfit Shine looks cool, you can pick its color, and it is versatile in where it can be worn.  Some options include a few different choices of bands, a sport necklace or a prettier bloom necklace, or even a simple clip.  This product scores when it comes to remembering that a fitness tracker is more than just a fitness tracker, it is a fashion accessory people use to make a statement about who they are.

Nod

Nod, first introduced in Who to Watch for Prediction #2, is a gesture control ring.  As a piece of jewelry the design is important.  Nod places the bulky part of the ring under the finger so from a closed fist it looks like you’re wearing a thick, black band.  Not bad for a masculine look.  Nod designers are conscious of this and are contemplating ways Nod could be stylized to appeal to different genders; let’s see how they do in the coming months.  For now, though, like the original Model-T Ford, Nod can be pre-ordered in any color you want so long as that color is black.

Wiacts Sense

Sense by Wiacats is a gesture control device worn on the finger but it does not close completely around the finger to form a ring.  It has a sleek outer cover to shield the sensing components.  There are three colors in pictures on the Wiacts website, black, white and grey.  CEO Yaser Masoudnia, who is razor focused on creating a wearable that is easy to use and compatible with as many devices as possible, explained that Sense is not available for pre-order yet as in addition to finite sensing capabilities for IoT device control they are working on other functionalities, including payment authorization, before releasing Sense.

Tory Burch for Fitbit Flex

Fitbit has partnered with luxury lifestyle brand Tory Burch to create accessories for the Fitbit Flex.  These include a bracelet and pendant designs that one would not be surprised to see in a Nordstrom display.

Next Prediction: Who to Watch For Prediction #8

Previous Prediction: Who to Watch for Prediction #6

Back to Wearable Technology

An Update on Wearable Predictions

GlazedConAfter the Glazed Conference by Wearable World in San Francisco the past two days, it is time for an update on the eight wearable predictions in the post Wearable Technology: Fashion, Fad or Future?

First of all, don’t expect quarterly updates.  An annual update that coincides with Glazed will do from here on out.  While I’m at it I’m taking the opportunity to add two more predictions. Ten predictions does sound better than eight but the new predictions are more than an attempt to round out the number; they’re important for the activity we will see as the wearables market grows and develops and wearable solutions put technology to work for you.

1)      Wearables of the future will be more than fad devices; they will satisfy customer needs.

This was a topic brought up in several of the Glazed sessions. We are still going in the direction of wearables being more than fad devices.  Nike’s move to shift focus away from wearable hardware means the Fuelband may become the first of the fallen fad devices.  Other devices like Google Glass may become to be seen as stepping stones to where we are going to go because they’ll be replaced with technology that better satisfies customer needs solving problems we do not even know can be solved today.  It will take a decade to decide which of today’s devices are fad devices and which will have multiple generations during that decade.

see more in Who to Watch for Prediction #1

2)      Where wearables are silo solutions now, in the future they will be better integrated with other wearables and the wider Internet of Things.

Apples HomeKit framework announced earlier this week is a prime example of where players are making moves to bring value to consumers through connecting devices.  Integrated solutions in the wearable world are beginning to emerge but there is still a lack of an accepted standard or definitive leader in this space; I see a silo to integrated transition starting in the next 18 months.

see more in Who to Watch for Prediction #2

3)      Companies that combine the information of multiple sensors in multiple wearable devices will create more value for their consumers than producers of single wearable devices.

Wearable fitness products appear to be the area where this prediction is being proven.  Another place is in manufacturing.  Because the overall wearable space is so new, there hasn’t been time for industry consolidation of complimentary wearables but it will start to happen in the same timeframe as the silo to integrated transition.

see more in Who to Watch for Prediction #3

4)      Wearables will become more intelligent because of developments in sensor technology and the ability to translate data from these sensors into insight via analytics.

We’re still on track to see sensor tech and data insight adding to the intelligence of wearables.  I’m excited to see the many solutions out there in health, fitness, manufacturing and many other areas.  Do you have an interesting product or data solution you’d like to talk about?

see more in Who to Watch for Prediction #4

5)      The cost of sensors will continue to go down, thus enabling more uses and innovation with sensors in wearable devices.

Robert Scoble pointed out that Bluetooth beacons retail for around $30 each but a company such as Walmart purchasing thousands of Qualcomm Gimbal beacons will see prices well below $10.  While not a sensor (and this prediction is about sensors), the pricing of BTLE beacons is an indicator we are still on track for prices of components for wearable technology to go down enabling more use and innovation.

see more in Who to Watch for Prediction #5

6)      Wearable devices will need less frequent charging because of better energy storage and lower energy consumption.

Glazed was not immune from the midafternoon conference clustering around power points to charge up, a pretty good indicator this problem isn’t solved yet.  Battery life was talked about several times and some argue the inconvenience of carrying an extra battery pack is less important than the value some wearable devices create.  Intel’s charging bowl is an example of solutions aimed at keeping our wearable devices fully charged but if a smart watch spends the night in the bowl, it isn’t going to be able to do any sleep monitoring.   It may take several years for a breakthrough in this space.  Of course, I’d like to see it sooner than later so if you’re engaged in this space keep at it!

see more in Who to Watch for Prediction #6

7)      People are going to use wearable technology to make a statement about who they are.

Yup.  Fashion tech is happening with the devices that are out there and it is going to happen with more devices.  I met Emily from Keyrious and Ben from Connected-Designs who are both working on wearable jewelry.  Apple fans will be clamoring for the iWatch.  Other wearable solutions are out there and more coming, including in luxury brands.

see more in Who to Watch for Prediction #7

8)      People are going to use undetectable wearable technology by using wearable ultra-sensitive micro sensors, sensors smaller and more sensitive than the innovative seat belt microphone in Audi’s R8 Spyder that enables clear cell phone conversation with the top down at lightning speeds.

In the health/wellness space you may see more of this; for example, if someone is on 24 hour heart monitoring for a heart condition or a woman is using a wearable to monitor body temperature to detect ovulation they may not want others to know what devices they have on.  While the world may not know what you are wearing under there, check back on this prediction to see what secrets can be kept.

see more in Who to Watch for Prediction #8

Two New Predictions

Obviously this list is not complete and could literally include dozens of more points; however, I’m honing in on two things here that are highly relevant to wearables.

9)  The debate around ownership of wearables-generated data will continue.

The odds are not in favor of consumer ownership and much of what will happen depends on government actions.  With Google receiving 10,000 requests a day for search activity to be forgotten in Europe it is possible to see there is certainly interest by consumers in controlling their information.

While consumers requesting to be forgotten are concerned about privacy, the real issue here is the value exchange.  Whether they know it or not, consumers get the short end of the stick; they probably do not even know about today’s data broker marketplace.  If consumers received enough value for being all-in and offering their data, then this will be less of an issue.

Will data warehouses become like banks, where data is the currency on deposit and customers receive a quantifiable value similar to account interest offered by banks?  Probably not and, among other reasons, this is because if a consumer knows their data is on deposit they will want to control where the information is used, unlike in the banking situation where money is money and bank account holders have no real interest in how their interest is earned.

see more in Who to Watch for Prediction #9

10) Contextual awareness will be enabled by wearable device adoption and become the next big thing in marketing and customer experience.

You would be hard pressed to have attended a session at Glazed where the word context was not used; entire panels discussed contextual awareness!  The topic is hot and it is due largely because of the value that can be derived from contextually understanding a customer, a business situation or the world.  Social media marketing has received its lashings for being ineffective; however, social media along with other data streams can now be utilized to provide contextual marketing messages.  More importantly, context can be used, as Jeff Stevens of ContextM said, “to enhance the customer experience.”   Customer in this context is much more than a person in a store, this could be anyone in any situation, at home, at school, at work, at play, at…

As people rely more and more on their devices to provide them with valuable, relevant information, people will expect and prefer contextually aware information and experiences.  Context isn’t just a topic for the CMO; contextual awareness has the opportunity to impact many aspects of business and all industries, including industries that have been immune from major technology changes because of their rudimentary nature.  It is going to take a decade before we look back at irrelevant ads and experiences void of augmented information based on context the way we look at brick sized cell phones but it will happen; contextual awareness will be the next big thing in marketing and customer experience.

see more in Who to Watch for Prediction #1o

Back to Wearable Technology

Technology Offering Brands Effortless Mobile Shopping

Brands provide luxurious retail experiences, experiences unique to the brand, experience that are the brand. While brands have managed to own the in store experience, the brand experience is not replicated online. Each website only gives you more of the same inconvenient browsing and shopping carts. The virtual browsing and carts do not mirror the in-store brand experience.

Granted, some online brand experiences are better than others. Burberry successfully created one of the best online brand experiences out there today. They have great pictures and a sleek website. Their models actually are wearing the clothing as opposed to it being photo-shopped on. The Burberry site learns what you are interested in and after a short data collection period it is obvious their system harnesses the power of analytics turning data into insight in the form of relevant product suggestions. Moreover, the Burberry ADD TO BAG button uses the word bag and not the word cart, making it obvious the brand manager focuses on the experience.

Burberry's Add to Bag

BUT it is still the same click to add to a virtual shopping cart mentality. You do not get the same experience as in the store, where hands are involved as a product is touched, examined and then purchased. It does not matter the type of store; online shopping is not the same as in-store shopping.

Grability co-founder and CEO Sebastian Mejia and his team took this issue to heart when creating their solution. He explained that the Grability product is “an online customer experience so simple that no one is excluded from using it. It takes the real life shopping experience and brings it to your mobile device. Grability, based in New York, is the new paradigm of how shopping should be: immediate, gratifying, fun, universal and simple.”

Grability is working with large retailers all over the world, including Europe’s largest department store El Corte Ingles.  Have a peek at Grability’s solution for grocery retail:

Grability Video

(Click to play video demo)

No online shopper will want anything but the ease and simplicity of shopping with their fingertips ever again. The Grability retail experience pales all existing solutions by magnitudes and is the perfect example of technology working for you to make life simpler. Retailers who fail to provide experiences like Grability’s patented technology will be left behind.

Marketers who see this solution know it is the perfect setup for A/B testing. But something is more important: Virtual shelf space will become more valuable than the most expensive physical shelf space in any retail store. The world of brand management in every retail space just changed.

It changed most for online retailers offering products from multiple brands because online shoppers can now shop in virtual aisles much the way they browse physical store aisles. “Forget about banners,” Mejia said. “This is the most valuable form of mobile advertisement; non obtrusive, targeted and closest to the purchase intent.”

With high quality data, Grability enables further segmentation and new niches can be found. The real power of the Grability solution is that brands can now pay for placement within the online shopping environment exactly the same way they pay for placement in store. With insight from Grability into every individual placement, the value of those placements just went way up.

For decades retailers have only been able to analyze a basket of goods after that basket is filled. Now they have the ability to see exactly how people shop. With the insight gained, they can provide a virtual store designed for the individual that is so personal there is no reason to shop in any other way or in any other place. In the coming decade customers will be disinterested when they are not presented with what they want and completely turned off when the experience is not easy, simple and beautiful.

“Grability is not stopping with food,” Mejia told me. “Grability will spread to every product, especially the products of luxury retailers who wish to optimize the best mobile experience and enable brands to leverage their brand equity in the online world.” His team is able to produce some very convincing sample solutions with high end brands such as Clinique, Dior, Jimmy Choo, and Valentino as well as samples for retailers like Walgreens and Rite Aid.  In every case, the gentle swipe of a finger guides the product to your cart, bag or scale.

Dior

Absolut

RiteAid Cold & Flu

RIteAid Cereal

Whole Foods Produce

These interfaces represent effortless mobile shopping that mirrors the real experience in such an innovative way it is actually a better experience than shopping in the store. Shopping is no longer about the retailer getting a consumer into their experience; retailers must now bring their experience to the consumer wherever they are in the world with whatever device they are using. In online markets, brand promiscuity is only a click away. When your branded experience is in the pockets of everyone in the world and it feels as natural as the Grability solution, the chances of brand abandonment go down.

Grability’s superb report card includes reducing cart abandonment by 70% over other solutions offered by the same retailer. They rightfully earned a place among the winners of the Intel Challenge and were selected as one of the top 25 finalists to compete in the global challenge in Silicon Valley last fall.

Grability boasts a 600% increase in mobile sales and 300% increase in total online sales over a four month period for Colombian retailer La Rebaja. Is some of this cannibalization? Probably but a big chunk of it is coming from competitors and it is better to cannibalize on your in store shopping, where margins are thinner, inventory costs are higher and operations eat at your profitability, than to see yourself eliminated by innovative competition. Does anyone remember a book store called Borders

I mentioned Grability to a friend on Facebook:

GrabilityFBChat

Instacart beware: this is one of your customers and Grability has you beat with just a video clip! I’ve looked at Instacart as well as Netgrocer, Peapod, Safeway Online Grocery Delivery, Walmart To Go, Meijer and Costco among other online shopping solutions. Every one of them could benefit from working with Grability.  “Our goal is to continue making customers happy by providing the best shopping experience and make Grability the standard way of buying products in mobile” said Mejia

It comes as no surprise that Grability has been profitable since delivering their first product. They’ve also built their product with no outside investment, no seed, no A round (at least not yet and Mejia declined to comment). Investors and brand managers can only imagine what some well managed capital will do inside this company that puts technology to work for you.