The Rise (and fall) of Wearable Media

It seems like just last year we all heard the hype about the next big thing in emerging media – wearable media.

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But where is it at? Has the grand plans for wearable media fallen to the waste side? Or are we still searching for ways to incorporate them into our daily lives?

I work for a large global bank and my internal client is the Technology division. From an consumer perspective, and from what I’ve observed at expos, wearable media is very much a thing of “this is what customer service can look like in X years”. There is no timing on when such components would launch. I’ve seen pretty cool videos on YouTube such as the below, but I’ve yet to encounter a non-Google representative wearing the product. Also, the product cost $1,500. So not in the budget of the everyday person.

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As for the smart shirts, I’ve about other uses for the product that does not include advertisements. It appears that the idea has been leveraged in the biometrics industry.

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One merchandiser is Omsignal. The shirt ties to an app that calculates heart rate, steps, breathing and overall fitness. Pretty cool, but the shirt has a price tag of $249.

Both forms of wearable media have the possibility of transforming social media.

There are social media apps available for Google Glass. For example, Glass To Facebook, lets you to share photos to your Facebook timeline. Creating a photo is just a matter of saying, “Glass, take a photo.” You’re then given the option to share with an audience. Once you visually see your audience, you can select the Glass touchpad to share. When someone likes a photo, Glass notifies you immediately. Sharing is no longer a matter of navigating a quagmire of menus. Instead, it’s a matter of receiving visual feedback, and responding to it.

The social media impact for the smart shirt could transform current media. The marketing around a wearable, shareable, and programmable t-shirt platform is limitless. Some beta designs include a LED screen, camera, microphone, accelerometer, and audio speaker. It can be controlled from a smartphone, and connected to the Internet. Possibly, social media will no longer be about static pictures and messages. Every day, smartshirts will display something new.

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So where does wearable media go from here?

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The Then and Nows of Media

Emerging media is a topic that I often ponder to see how it has influenced my own life. I turned 30 last year and took some time to reflect where the last decade went and what changes occurred in the world during that time. One point that came to mind was the media and how it has changed from when I was a child to now. I’m a 90’s baby, which means that I grew up in the 1990s. My days were spent playing outside, riding my bikes, playing in parks and playing Mortal Kombat on Nintendo64 or my Gameboy. The media was seen as something you watched or read. It was pushed at you or so it seemed that way.

It seems that the changes to the Internet was the gateway for the transformation in emerging media to take place. The Internet connected people like never before. A recent Debate.org survey showed that 71% of participants felt that the Internet brings people together. I have to agree, like never before I’m connected to my friends and family through social sites like FaceBook, Twitter or Instagram. I know what sales are happening at my favorite stores because I signed up to receive alerts in my email. I also am able to take tutorials on how to set up this very blog on sites like YouTube. The Internet has connected the various dots of life to ensure that people have access to people, places and things 24/7. The power to this access is in the push of a button on our phone, computer, tablet or in the dictation of our voices. I think this is an amazing accomplish, especially if you compare the then and now.

Then/Now:

Passing a note to a friend in 1st period/ texting a friend

Sending a post card of your summer vacation to grandma/ tagging grandma on your picture on Instagram

Calling to wish your mom a happy birthday/ face timing your mom on her birthday

Clipping coupons from the Sunday paper/ receiving discounts for checking into the locations on Four Square

What are some examples of your own “then and nows”?