This year has already seen some exciting technologies announced at the Consumer Electronics Show, Mobile World Congress and most recently, SXSW. With the new opportunities presented by Google Glass becoming a reality and the interesting features of the new Samsung Smart Fridge, we are seeing a rise in technology being built into non-connective products for the young-minded consumer who turns to technology for convenience. Yet which technologies are really set to change consumer habits and which will become another passing fad?
Google Glass is finally taking augmented reality to its resolution, something which only ever seemed possible in a sci-fi novel. Asides from the great technological feat behind the glasses, the reality is that suddenly consumers are able to enhance day to day tasks hands-free. But I think Google need to think a little harder about the practicality as no one will want to walk around with glasses like these, they're simply not that cool. It is far more likely that the short-term uptake of these glasses will be used in conjunction with other screens such as tablets or in cars. On that note, watch out for Google related car crashes. Further down the line, the glasses could begin to be integrated with Smart TVs to enable a hands-free second screen, sunglasses and even ski goggles to enhance the user's experience.
However, these products need to do more than just allow people to browse the internet. They need to do cool stuff that helps consumers to live their lives. While I am not sure that the talking Google shoe produced along with Adidas will transform from concept to marketable product, it has the potential to assist in people's exercise regimes by measuring physical activity. And then there's the aesthetics. Mass pick-up of wearable technology is only going to happen if it's actually wearable and pleasing to the consumer eye.
Apart from wearable technology, homewares are getting a revamp this year as we see a shift towards having internet access on everyday items. Samsung's T9000 is scheduled to hit our kitchens later this year. The fridge provides ease-of-use in managing settings, such as the refrigerators' temperature, and convenience because consumers are demanding pervasive connectivity. This is the future for kitchens and the implications are huge not just for supermarkets or food brands but marketers and organisations such as Vouchercodes and MoneySupermarket. But will it appeal to the mass market? To me this will only work if there is a wider adoption by other brands.
Let's not forget that the future of mobile is in making technology more human and even mirroring how we behave. Samsung's latest model has an out of this world technological addition where users can scroll the screen with eye movements. While this small piece of functionality will allow users to consume ever more content on-the-go, it is set to be vital for marketers. It could evolve to allow advertisers to track consumer engagement through eye movements and gestures. What marketers need to take on board is how life-like functions are going to change consumer habits and how their multi-channel offering can incorporate this to provide the best experience for customers.
The latest wearable technologies and internet access being delivered on everyday products are for the most part revolutionary. While I anticipate a slow uptake in purchase of this new technology for now, most everyday items will offer us connectivity to the web in the near future and subsequently fit into the environment we live in. Life automation is truly alive and kicking.