It was great to attend the Wareable Tech Awards last night, up in shiny Shoreditch. Mano and Muchaneta from FashNerd were in fine spirit, despite trotting in from across the planet for the show. It was a joy, but not a surprise, when Hadeel Ayoub was crowned the “Saves the Day Project of the Year” award winner on the night, where the mix of innovation and established corporate tech was fairly obvious. Garmin, Apple, Fossil and Fitbit all pocketed old tech awards for their arm based gadgetry and Bragi rightfully grabbed the Hearable of the Year.
All in all, it felt like there was a typical degree of consolidation going on, but also a new wave of innovative wearable tech coming along in the wake of the generally maturing industry. Under the hood, of course, things are moving forward, though it remains to be seen if the hyper hype can ever be managed. I don’t feel that there will be an overwhelming breakthrough in wearable tech anytime soon, but a series of independent smaller breakthroughs are continuing to provide ample opportunity for new ideas to become feasible.
However, such areas as battery technology may still have a disruptive and watershed effect if something big happens there. In 2018, it seems a fair bet to pin things on the burgeoning, but currently very primitive Wearable AI card, which may well open up some extremely exciting possibilities and applications. Voice is a no-brainer as a disruptor in 2018 also. I fear that this may be the heights of Bragi’s achievements, as wearables mature into commoditisation in 2018. But they may be able to find more innovation and build out some special surprises before next year’s awards.
What is clear is that companies, such as award sponsor Currys PC World, are aware of the opportunity and ready to get behind the long play wearables offer. The industry is moving forwards and when we look back over a ten year period the progress will be clear.
For the winners of the 2017 show – well done. For the startups getting involved in wearable technology going into 2018, good luck and dig deep.
Jacob Skinner, CEO of NDP, Product Development expert.
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