Tag: Apple Watch

Tech Innovation: The state of play at the start of 2017

Staying on-trend

Aside from struggling with early mornings, wrestling with public transport (or the lack thereof), and re-acquainting yourself with your gym trainers, you may have spent some of your first working week of 2017 skimming through the shiny, new tech trends for the coming year. But
perhaps, like me, you had a slight feeling of déjà vu. Didn’t I read these last year? Virtual Reality; Augmented Reality; artificial intelligence; social video; messaging; a new term for instant gratification; some other new term for streaming content. All in all, all the same.

Well, firstly I commend the experts for sticking to these themes, rather than conjuring up something that isn’t there for the sake of saying something new. Many of these trends are vast in scope and have a long way to go, in terms of both the technology improving and brands
experimenting with them.

Secondly, isn’t it a bit of continuity comforting after a year of unexpected change in 2016? (Of course, the political changes decided upon in 2016 are actually to come in 2017, but let’s suspend disbelief for the sake of a bit of New Year things-have-to-be-better-this-year-just-cos-they-do optimism.)

Person Wearing White Silicone Strap Black Smart Watch

Some trendsetters have called the coming year one of ‘incremental change’. Others say that it’s the obvious consequence of the Gartner Hype Cycle. Both valid points. To bring back a 2009 phrase (sorry, so passé) – ‘everything’s now in beta’. The world’s biggest tech companies (many
of which are now the world’s biggest companies full-stop) continue to release products into the market that are far from the finished article. Many of them don’t have a ‘killer use case’ (very 2011 that one, sorry again) attached to them. The Apple Watch was infamously meant to be for erm, kinda everything, until based on actual user behaviour of those that had bought one, Apple recognised that fitness was probably the application to shout about.

For technologies like Virtual and Augmented Reality, content is being developed in tandem with, and in response to, the constant improvements to the technology available. We now live in an environment where the tech companies are all looking to lead consumer behaviour rather than respond to it, so it should come as no surprise that the dominant technology trends and platforms aren’t changing each calendar year; consumers are still becoming accustomed to, and providing feedback on, the new possibilities and functionality that the tech companies have been nudging them towards over the last few years.

android, applications, apps

There is no new ‘smartphone’ on the horizon. I would hazard a guess that there won’t be a new piece of technology at this scale in our lifetime – 2.5 billion smartphones globally now – in particular, if you consider the breadth and depth of its impact on humanity, just 10 years after
the first iPhone was announced. So unfathomably powerful is this device – potentially humanity’s most behaviour-changing product ever – that I believe that any technology that gains the reach of even 10% of the smartphone user base is indeed likely to be an accessory to, or at least powered by, the smartphone itself.

But I’m perfectly happy with ‘incremental change’, even if it doesn’t sound that whizz-bang on face value. I’d argue that the current technology available to us – the hardware, the software, the networks – is more than enough to transform any business or disrupt any sector, and keep us busy for a generation. Or at least the year ahead.

The state of play at the start of 2017

So where are we at with technologies’ prevailing themes as we embark on our next lap of the sun? What’s possible now and where can brands find immediate opportunity to jump on board with the current new technology that I refer to? And what are the challenges and watch-outs?

Dividing this into three broad themes: New Realities, Smart Systems and Connected Objects. Stay tuned for these updates about what to expect in 2017.


Tech Innovation: The state of play at the start of 2017

Staying on-trend

Aside from struggling with early mornings, wrestling with public transport (or the lack thereof), and re-acquainting yourself with your gym trainers, you may have spent some of your first working week of 2017 skimming through the shiny, new tech trends for the coming year. But
perhaps, like me, you had a slight feeling of déjà vu. Didn’t I read these last year? Virtual Reality; Augmented Reality; artificial intelligence; social video; messaging; a new term for instant gratification; some other new term for streaming content. All in all, all the same.

Well, firstly I commend the experts for sticking to these themes, rather than conjuring up something that isn’t there for the sake of saying something new. Many of these trends are vast in scope and have a long way to go, in terms of both the technology improving and brands
experimenting with them.

Secondly, isn’t it a bit of continuity comforting after a year of unexpected change in 2016? (Of course, the political changes decided upon in 2016 are actually to come in 2017, but let’s suspend disbelief for the sake of a bit of New Year things-have-to-be-better-this-year-just-cos-they-do optimism.)

Person Wearing White Silicone Strap Black Smart Watch

Some trendsetters have called the coming year one of ‘incremental change’. Others say that it’s the obvious consequence of the Gartner Hype Cycle. Both valid points. To bring back a 2009 phrase (sorry, so passé) – ‘everything’s now in beta’. The world’s biggest tech companies (many
of which are now the world’s biggest companies full-stop) continue to release products into the market that are far from the finished article. Many of them don’t have a ‘killer use case’ (very 2011 that one, sorry again) attached to them. The Apple Watch was infamously meant to be for erm, kinda everything, until based on actual user behaviour of those that had bought one, Apple recognised that fitness was probably the application to shout about.

For technologies like Virtual and Augmented Reality, content is being developed in tandem with, and in response to, the constant improvements to the technology available. We now live in an environment where the tech companies are all looking to lead consumer behaviour rather than respond to it, so it should come as no surprise that the dominant technology trends and platforms aren’t changing each calendar year; consumers are still becoming accustomed to, and providing feedback on, the new possibilities and functionality that the tech companies have been nudging them towards over the last few years.

android, applications, apps

There is no new ‘smartphone’ on the horizon. I would hazard a guess that there won’t be a new piece of technology at this scale in our lifetime – 2.5 billion smartphones globally now – in particular, if you consider the breadth and depth of its impact on humanity, just 10 years after
the first iPhone was announced. So unfathomably powerful is this device – potentially humanity’s most behaviour-changing product ever – that I believe that any technology that gains the reach of even 10% of the smartphone user base is indeed likely to be an accessory to, or at least powered by, the smartphone itself.

But I’m perfectly happy with ‘incremental change’, even if it doesn’t sound that whizz-bang on face value. I’d argue that the current technology available to us – the hardware, the software, the networks – is more than enough to transform any business or disrupt any sector, and keep us busy for a generation. Or at least the year ahead.

The state of play at the start of 2017

So where are we at with technologies’ prevailing themes as we embark on our next lap of the sun? What’s possible now and where can brands find immediate opportunity to jump on board with the current new technology that I refer to? And what are the challenges and watch-outs?

Dividing this into three broad themes: New Realities, Smart Systems and Connected Objects. Stay tuned for these updates about what to expect in 2017.


OMD FWD w/c Aug 15th

With the continued popularity and hype around Pokemon Go, the spotlight on Augmented Reality is bright with attention on Artificial Intelligence and Virtual Reality also increasing. The future of these technologies is still uncertain but hints of what is to come can be seen in recent industry headlines. Whilst the battle for which technology platform becomes the norm continues, the BBC has launched BBC Sport360 and NBC has an called NBC Sports, both of which will put you at the the heart of the Rio Olympics through VR capabilities. Sports fans are able to experience the closing ceremony, athletics, boxing and many more activities through 360-degree storytelling. Not all of us will have this technology lying around the house, but Facebook mentioned in April that more than 1 million people had used their VR Gear (a Facebook Samsung collaboration) for an array of experiences – from sports and movies to video games. Even more exciting is what type of product and user experiences VR will unlock for brands as the spotlight on this technology increases. Share anything you spot that is interesting with #OMDFWD

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A perspective from CES 2016 through the lens of luxury

The luxury and technology sectors have traditionally viewed each other from afar. Luxury has gained its value from scarcity whereas technology generates more value when it is widely used. Over recent years, this distance has begun to shrink as technology has become ubiquitous. Just like every other sector, Luxury has been impacted by new technology and this year’s CES saw this trend continue. We at OMD have identified four mechanisms by which luxury and technology are becoming ever more intertwined.

Luxury – the new technology niche where style is a differentiator

Nokia spotted the niche of high-end luxury in consumer electronics with the introduction of the Vertu brand in 1998 while last year Apple accelerated this sector with the launch of the Apple Watch Edition, made from the highest quality materials.

HuaweiA wider range of brands joined this trend at CES, focusing on not just the technical function of their product but also the luxurious design. One example is Huawei which has launched a line of watches embedded with Swarovski crystals.  As technology becomes ever-present, growth will come from better servicing specific niches, some of which are happy to pay a significant premium for exclusivity.

 

To gain credibility in this space, technology brands are choosing to partner with luxury and fashion brands. Intel, for example, partnered with Chromat for a new engineered sports bra. We can expect to see many more partnerships between technology brands and brands from the fashion, style and luxury sectors at future CES events.

Luxury brands upgrading with technology

SwarovskiThe other side of the coin is embedding technology in luxury products. A number of fashion and luxury brands appeared at CES this year, building on a small but growing, presence. Swarovski returned to CES with Get Fit In Style fitness tracking jewellery, a simple sensor embedded in everyday jewellery that reports back to a smartphone app.

 

Wisewear from Apfel also integrates notifications into smart jewellery. A pre-defined touch will alert another device of problems, such as a fall or a dangerous situation on a night out.

Many connected services gain most value if they are persistent and worn every day. Embedding technology invisibly in products we wear on a regular basis rather than a specialist technology, which may make the wearer feel self-conscious, is a far more effective approach.

Technology as a new luxury

Technology is pushing into new boundaries as the previously impossible becomes achievable, if a little expensive.

LaundroidA number of very high-end technologies appeared at this year’s CES. Laundroid, a laundry folding system, is due to launch in 2017. This device takes clothing direct from the dryer and then folds and displays it neatly. Likewise, the LGStyler is a smart closet that automatically steams and cleans clothes.

 

ehangDrones were another big theme at CES 2016. At the high-end, ehang showcased the 184, an autonomous vehicle designed to carry people. Whilst there are still many technical and liability hurdles to cross, we may soon see the era of personal aerial transportation in and around cities.

 

 

One day some of these technologies will be mass labour- and time-saving devices, but for now they will only appeal to the most exclusive niches. They will drive new levels of expectation and new opportunities for integration and partnership.

Luxury tech experiences

High-end hardware is not the only way to differentiate with technology. Luxury brands are also investing in luxury technology-based experiences and content.

VRVirtual Reality was a huge theme at CES, confidently stepping into the mainstream – for example, Oculus Rift launched its first consumer product alongside devices from Sony, Samsung and Google.  Brands are now creating experiences to showcase products and content in a Virtual Reality environment.  Whirlpool illustrated a vision of a futuristic high end kitchen using VR, whilst Dior has already released a branded headset for VR brand experiences.

VR 2We are at the dawn of an entirely new medium with VR; the very best experiences will require sophisticated technology. Luxury brands have the opportunity to make a powerful statement in this space, especially to showcase luxury real estate, travel and lifestyle.

 

Key takeaways

Technology continues to pervade our lives and every sector must account for new opportunities and disruptions. Luxury brands are learning to understand how their products and propositions are impacted by the huge range of accelerating technologies displayed at CES. This is achieved not by jumping on the latest technology bandwagon, but instead by refocusing on core brand attributes and understanding how technology can empower those concepts.


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