Travel Tech

Wearable technology has been very much in the news recently following the release of Apple's embryonic smartwatch, the Apple Watch. This new consumer electronics product from the world's leader in this market niche was expected to be a huge success, and as usual Apple did not disappoint.

Apple Watch Catches Fire

Just weeks after the Apple Watch was made available for the first time - in what represented a relatively low-key launch compared to some of the company's other products - this smartwatch has clearly performed superbly. According to early reports on the Apple Watch, the device achieved around 3 million preorders, which is more than any other smartwatch has ever sold in terms of total units.

Predictions already indicate that the Apple Watch will sell 20 million units by the end of the year, exceeding even the expectations of Apple itself. However, it shouldn't necessarily be a huge surprise, as in recent years Apple has consistently outperformed even its own estimates. This has helped establish Apple as the world's first ever $700 billion market capped company, and ensure that any product which is releases will almost inevitably be a massive success.

The outstanding performance of the Apple Watch could be a new dawn for wearables. The concept of technology which can be carried around on one's person has been a popular notion for some time, but it is one that has yet to be as enthusiastically received by the public as by analysts. But according to new research carried out by media agency Mindshare and London University Goldsmiths, this perception that might be about to change.

UK Consumers Ready to Embrace Wearables

According to the survey carried out by Mindshare and the London University, Goldsmiths, 36 percent of UK smartphone users identified the need for the flow of information as a major motivation for adopting wearable devices. Although smartwatches are the most popular form of wearable technology at the moment, the genre can also include activity trackers and augmented reality devices. An example of the former is Fitbit, while Google Glass is the most obvious manifestation of the latter thus far.

Consumers expressed in their responses to this survey that shortening the amount of time that they have to queue for something, unlocking car doors with greater ease, and changing heating and lighting preferences immediately upon entering a room, are key ways in which wearables may assist the daily flow of life. In this sense, wearables can be viewed as an item of convenience, which is very much in line with how analysts and manufacturers had envisaged the devices to fit into our daily lives.

In addition to this convenience aspect, ‘reflection’, or the use of data stored on wearables to improve our lives physically and / or emotionally, was also considered a popular motivation for purchasing wearables. 35 percent of smartphone users stated that they were enthusiastic about this aspect of wearable technology, and that it could prompt them to purchase such a device in the foreseeable future.

Wearable Notifications Marketing

Based on these results, Mindshare predicted that there are “huge communications opportunities for brands” in the wearable niche. In particular, the company cited opt-in push-notification alerts from advertisers, along with paid search adds to users who are keen to make voice search commands. This is another growth area of technology and electronics in the near future, with both the forthcoming iOS 9 and Android M operating systems focusing on voice-operated functionality in their list of new updates.


There are a few important takeaway for travel-related companies and destinations to take from this information. Firstly, it is important to understand the notion of flow and how it can relate to wearables. This concept is not merely about making everyday life easier for people, but also about enabling individuals to become completely immersed in a particular activity. Based on the consumer response, it would suggest that wearables can play a significant role in this process.

Secondly, the convenience aspect should not be under-estimated. Wearable technology can already be used to check in at airports, and as suggested by the survey it could also provide an excellent platform for targeted advertising. It is anticipated that technology such as iBeacons will make this process both convenient and sophisticated in the foreseeable future.

Finally, it appears from the survey that consumers are increasingly receptive to the idea of wearables. The release and success of the Apple Watch has probably played a part in this, and wearables now finally seem like a form of technology ready to become a mainstream market. Already, numerous influential celebrities have been spotted wearing the Apple Watch, and considering the impact this will have over young people in particular, it would be a mistake for travel-related companies and destinations to ignore wearables any longer.

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