Wearable technologies are the latest trend, and the likes of Google Glass and Samsung Galaxy Gear are often the next big thing in travel technology. Recent product launches or test launches of these devices secure a lot of buzz and great curiosity into the potential opportunities that underly this technology. However, despite the large press coverage the devices remain predominantly technical fascinations at the moment. Nevertheless, each announcement of new developments in the field opens up new questions as to how this technology will impact our societies and what challenges it will create for both consumers and marketers.
WILL CONSUMERS EMBRACE WEARABLE TECHNOLOGY?
Currently, the adoption rates for wearable technology are low. Following a recent GfK survey among 1600 UK and US consumers, over half of the respondents were aware of wearable devices such as Google Glass, Sony Smartwatch, and Nike Fuelwatch. Especially among younger demographics the willingness to use such devices was high (ca 60%). However a closer look revealed that the acceptance of wearables is higher for smartwatches than for Google Glass. So the visibility and negative connotation with regards to privacy issues that sorounded the debate around Google Glass impacts on consumers. However, more importantly the research suggests that the current price of these technologies represents a major barrier for younger demographics. Therefore it is momentarily rather restricted to older, more affluent market segments. In this regard CNET concludes that wearable devices will not be in huge demand in the near future and consumers will warm up to these devices gradually, not quickly.
OVERCOMING REGULATORY CHALLENGES
How technologies such as Google Glass will fit within our laws and regulations is a secon major question that needs to be answered before mainstream adoption by consumers will take place. Wired recently reported about the first person to get a ticket wearing Glass when driving. Glass is also banned already in Las Vegas casinos and being considered for restrictions by UK legislators as stated by Tnooz. But colision with laws is only the beginning. Soeme people worry about the ongoing surveilance of everyday life, as with wearable technologies, there will be a acamera recording almost every moment of human life.
IMPACT ON TRAVEL
This poses also great challenges on travel companies. The rise of social media and in particular review websites has already put drastic pressure on the online reputation of many businesses. What if customer have every minor service incidence recorded on camera? At the same time wearable technologies and other advancements in biometrics have potential to make travelers‘ life easier. Apples finger print technology can help eliminating passwords and keys.
In conclusion, companies that create, design and produce wearable technologies must not ignore the outcomes of their technologies for consumers in todays hyper-connected world.
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