July 7, 2014No Comments

Future Of Wearable Tech

Sensors, Wearable tech, and personal eco-systems are all the rage, but the craze goes beyond connected eyewear such as Google Glass and smart timepieces such as Apple's rumored iWatch. Wearable technology is an undeniable trend and brands like Nike, Apple, Samsung and Google are all bringing out products to satisfy consumers growing awareness and demand for new products.

Much has been written about smartwatches in particular due to the Samsung Galaxy Gear watch and the new Apple iWatch - What does this mean the future of wearable technology? Is it all about wrist based devices? Can wearable technology cross over from being an fashion accessory to being a functioning part of our everyday lives? What do you think will happen in the future of this industry?

PSFK Labs in collaboration with iQ by intel created this great report which covers how the latest trends are evolving.

Fashion Forward: From The Runway to Ready-to-wear

Designers are creating apparel, accessories and fitness wear that can do everything from monitor your heart rate to charge your smartphone. For the Fashion Forward scene here are some of the latest players in the space:

  • Charge It: Someday you may be able to charge your smartphone with your clothes. Flexible solar panels have inspired designers to come up with clothes and accessories that can power electronics. Start-up Wearable Solar is using the technology to make lightweight wired garments that enable the wearer to charge a smartphone up to 50 percent if worn in the sun for a full hour. And New York-based Voltaic Systems makes a collection of bags that can charge a variety of devices.
  • Baubles and Bangles: In the future, our own personal air purifier may defend us from all that nasty air outside. Worn on the wrist, the Hand Tree design sucks up and filters polluted air, and recycles it back into the atmosphere. It was created by Alexandr Kostin, a semifinalist in the Electrolux Design Lab Competition. The purifier gas a refillable carbon filter, a rechargeable battery and an organic light-emitting diode screen.
  • Rainbow Winters: Some sharp people want to make our clothing to, well,do more.  Amy Winters, the designer of the Rainbow Winters clothing line, makes garments that respond to their environment.  For example, the dress is made with holographic leather and reacts to sound. As volume increases, it begins to illuminate and make what Winters describes as "visual music." The bathing suit reacts to light, with the center panel turning into purple dots in the sun.
  • Trackable Couture: Things can get lost pretty easily in those massive walk-in closets. In his fall 2013 collection, fashion designer Asher Levine included tracking chips that let items be located by the owner using a customized TrackR app. Levine, who has created looks for Lady GaGa and will.i.am., partnered with Bluetooth solutions company Phone Halo on the chip.
  • Adafruit: City bike-sharing programs such as New York's Citi Bike may be great, but the stations may be a bit hard to find without a map. Adafruit, a company that sells DIY electronics and kits, has built a helmet to help make that process more efficient. It has a built-in navigation system that uses lights that flash on the left or right to let the rider know where to turn.  The interface is still a bit complicated, though: The user has to manually enter the coordinates of a destination, but it is still safer than trying to use a smartphone while riding.
  • Ying Gao: Using eye-tracking technology, fashion designer Ying Gao has created a set of dresses that move when someone is looking at them. When the garment is gazed at for a time, tiny motors move parts of it in patterns. The dresses also glow. covered in photo-luminescent thread or featuring glow-in-the-dark threads that make up the base layer of fabric.
  • Sounds That Carry: The merger of technology and high-end accessory design is a definite trend. Handbag designer Rebecca Minkoff has made four clutches that encase speakers for Stellé Audio Couture.
  • A Sock With a Message: The start-up Heapsylon has a smart sock, Sensoria, that is paired with an anklet to automatically detect the type and level of activity based on pressure signals coming from the foot of the wearer. Sensors in the sock communicate data to the anklet, which then can relay the information to the user via an app. For example, it can track a runner's regular form and send an alert when he or she is making an injurious movement.
  • Close to the Heart: Even more intimate than smart socks, intelligent sports bras can track users' performance. This NuMetrix sports bar, made by Textronics, has a small transmitter that snaps to the garment to tracks a user's heart rate.
  • Light It Up: Berlin-based label Moon Berlin, which makes luxury clothing, focuses on using technology to enhance the look of its designs. Soft-circuit LEDs are integrated into the garments, connected to an electrical circuit attached to rubber-like materials that are integrated into fabrics.

The Issues and Questions

While some are creating products to enhance and expand your personal eco-system, others are quite skeptical about the trends because of the following:

  1. Privacy. One thing is poking finger into a touch screen in a public place, the other is talking to the device. Wouldn't people look like lunatics talking to themselves all the time?
  2. Practicality. How practical is it? Compared to poking an icon, sending and processing a voice command seems to take a lot more time, even with the best processing speed and the best voice recognition accuracy.
  3. Data Storage -  Who owns this data? How much of it belongs to the person and how much belongs to the brand? Where do you store all of your vitals?

Getting entrenched in the history

As computing moves from our desktops to our phones, we look into the future to see how technology will become increasingly ingrained in our movements and our active lives. Wearables have the possibility to make us more knowledgeable about ourselves and our surroundings, and connect us with each other in an uninterrupted, more intimate way. From DIY wearables to high-tech sensors and smart fabrics, the years ahead will show how integrated technology can impact our lives for the better.

Any thoughts on this trend?

[Sources: PBS, PSFK, CNBC, CNN, Ted Talks]

April 30, 2012No Comments

The Shops at Target

Target recenlty revealed its new micro-niche retail strategy. Like many retailers they are picking up edgy trendsmart shops from Miami to SF—and plugging these mini boxes inside the larger Target retail box.

This concept is not a new one as commercial real estate developers have already seized upon this idea at Boston’s Newbury Street, Chelsea Market in Manhattan and Santa Monica Place in California.

Target typically does this right. If the concept takes off with consumers, we can look forward to more boutiques and more categories.  I ponder what the online implications of these boutiques will be?  will it be a gilt like object or something much more location-based social networking centric?

The Shops at Target via @jpenabickley

May 3, 20111 Comment

on: pepsi’s social vending system

Pepsi new vending machines encourage consumers to give the gift of Pepsi. PepsiCo's Social Vending System is a state-of-the-art networked unit that features full touch screen interactive vending technology, enabling consumers to better connect with PepsiCo brands right at the point of purchase. A prototype of the Social Vending System will debut at the National Automatic Merchandising Association's One Show in Chicago, April 27-29.

on: pepsi’s social vending system via @jpenabickley

December 9, 20101 Comment

on: google’s social commerce blunder

How many of you were following the NYTimes article "A Bully Finds A pulpit"? It was a fascinating look at the a weak point in Google's ranking technology. This in-depth report showed how a glasses reseller was able to gain in Google ranking due to dozens of complaints on forums. This negativity was then mistaken as popularity by Google’s algorithms. 

Google has rushed in a crash program to resolve this issue without giving away too much about how they arrived at a solution. What is certain is that people saying bad things about you could now directly impact your search rankings, and should be taken more seriously.  

Does anyone smell legislation coming to regulate social commerce?

on: google’s social commerce blunder via @jpenabickley

August 28, 20102 Comments

on : southwest airline’s chief apology officer

"Without service there are only buyers, not customers" - Lester Wunderman 2009

Southwest Airlines has assembled a team of digitally savvy apologists to reach out to customers they disappointed. Their main task is following up after all sorts of crummy customer experiences like misplaced baggage, flight delays, and even stuff out of their control like bad weather.  [via WOMMA]

Like TwelpForce and Comcast, Southwest Airlines knows that great customer service leads to loyalty. This is the type of proactive customer care that builds brands. People are accepting of mistakes when a brand representative acknowledges the mistake and proactively tries to fix it.

read more about Southwest Airlines approach to customer loyalty in the Chicago Tribune.

on : southwest airline’s chief apology officer via @jpenabickley

August 3, 2010No Comments

on: creative errors

A large part of experience design is designing for the we know the user will do and then taking it a step further in designing for what we know they can do.  Error pages are often neglected by designers because they are rarely seen, or at least that’s the plan. But we all know things happen. A visitor may incorrectly enter a url, or try to find something on your site that just isn’t there. These are times when the 404 page will receive a few visits, but visiting an error page isn’t necessarily part of a pleasant user experience.  In this post I have rounded up a few of my favorites.


nokia's ovi love

Screen shot 2010-08-01 at 2.56.16 PM

carsonified

errorpages01

at first sigth

errorpages24

joyent

errorpages25

hdqt.co.uk

errorpages34

product planner

errorpages35

chrisglass.com

errorpages36

xhtml kitchen

errorpages14

twurn

errorpages10

agens

errorpages02

on: creative errors via @jpenabickley

August 3, 2010No Comments

on: creative errors

A large part of experience design is designing for the we know the user will do and then taking it a step further in designing for what we know they can do.  Error pages are often neglected by designers because they are rarely seen, or at least that’s the plan. But we all know things happen. A visitor may incorrectly enter a url, or try to find something on your site that just isn’t there. These are times when the 404 page will receive a few visits, but visiting an error page isn’t necessarily part of a pleasant user experience.  In this post I have rounded up a few of my favorites.


nokia's ovi love

Screen shot 2010-08-01 at 2.56.16 PM

carsonified

errorpages01

at first sigth

errorpages24

joyent

errorpages25

hdqt.co.uk

errorpages34

product planner

errorpages35

chrisglass.com

errorpages36

xhtml kitchen

errorpages14

twurn

errorpages10

agens

errorpages02

on: creative errors via @jpenabickley

August 3, 2010No Comments

on: creative errors

A large part of experience design is designing for the we know the user will do and then taking it a step further in designing for what we know they can do.  Error pages are often neglected by designers because they are rarely seen, or at least that’s the plan. But we all know things happen. A visitor may incorrectly enter a url, or try to find something on your site that just isn’t there. These are times when the 404 page will receive a few visits, but visiting an error page isn’t necessarily part of a pleasant user experience.  In this post I have rounded up a few of my favorites.


nokia's ovi love

Screen shot 2010-08-01 at 2.56.16 PM

carsonified

errorpages01

at first sigth

errorpages24

joyent

errorpages25

hdqt.co.uk

errorpages34

product planner

errorpages35

chrisglass.com

errorpages36

xhtml kitchen

errorpages14

twurn

errorpages10

agens

errorpages02

on: creative errors via @jpenabickley

April 20, 2010No Comments

ON: Nike’s Grid

It starts with 40 postcodes across London each with a ‘Grid’ phone box. Participants play for their postcodes by running between boxes, dialing in at each location code and score points that earn badges (for speed, endurance and stamina).  This is experience planning at it's best.

ON: Nike’s Grid via @jpenabickley

April 18, 20102 Comments

ON: Direct Response Video

Last week I sat on a panel at a digi-day conference on video.  Our topic was DRTV in the digital space.  

For those of you digi-rati that don't do TV, DRTV stands for Direct Response Television. In general awareness advertising, the spot usually gets your attention and answers "Why this product?".  A DRTV spot answers "Why this product right now?".  DRTV comes in a few flavors. It can be anywhere from 30 seconds to 5 minutes long.  Most DRTV spots ask for the sale, give you a reasonable offer and then flash up a toll free number to redeem the offer.  It is a very effective way to sell products via television.

If you were born in the digital space, like me, the thought of a DRTV spot online seems like an epic waste of media space.  As a matter of fact it is an improper use of the digital medium.

This line of thought lead me to sit and draw up how I would take the power of video and combine digital direct response and social media.   Here is a prototype of a portable direct response video player.

DRV_direct_response_video_player 

A "how-to" or demonstration video may be a great way to show HOW your product or service can benefit the consumer.  This would work much better than the 15 & 30 second awareness pre-roll. You could also tie consumer comments and or ratings to the video.  The entire ad module could be shared in social networks.

Screen shot 2010-04-18 at 8.23.26 PM
Within the video player you could put in 3D imagery with a written description along with a full up shopping cart.

Screen shot 2010-04-18 at 8.23.39 PMThe consumer could complete the entire purchase process in the video unit by using overlapping modal windows.

Screen shot 2010-04-18 at 8.23.51 PM
A click to chat feature would let a customer service rep help you or even connect you to others who are using the product now.

The Big Idea Still Counts
As a true believer in the big insightful idea, I am especially keen on tailoring the message to the medium. You would not dare put a banner ad on TV. Why would you throw your 30 second ad on the web and then never ask for the click or the sale? 

No matter what your big advertising idea is, you must customize it to the medium for the best results.

ON: Direct Response Video via @jpenabickley
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