Wearable technology has really taken off the last few years. Before 2014 I doubt you saw someone wearing a smartwatch on a regular basis, if at all.
Wearable technology has been around for decades used mostly by the military, businesses and medical professionals. The technology was used primarily for monitoring or tracking. But once the smartwatch hit the market, the private consumer market has heated up. And now, the global wearables market is forecast to reach about $19B in 2018. That’s a huge increase. And it was unthinkable just 4 years ago.
Wearable Tech Industry is Moving Quickly
It truly is amazing. As I was doing some research for this article, I came across some very interesting stories that were sometimes less than 2 years old. And yet they seemed so outdated. Many were predicting a slow rise in the use of this technology and we can see that wasn’t the case. It shows just how fast this industry is moving.
In the early stages of wearable technology for promoting your business you were looking at a light-up cap (your logo actually lit up) and maybe a wristband that would lit up. The industry also included headphones in this category. No one really thought about more than that.
Today we are seeing smart glasses, smart watches, fitness and health trackers, hearables and smart wearable technology fashion accessories (think nice gold-tone bracelets that are also a fitness tracker).
Much of this technology connects wirelessly to apps so that you can monitor a growing list of activities and health markers.
Staying Fit with Wearable Technology
About a year ago I was introduced to Orange Theory. It’s a work-out based on keeping your heart-rate in the Orange or Red Zone for 12-20 minutes during hour work-out. That’s supposed to be the “optimum” heart-rate for you to continue to burn calories for up to 36 hours after the work-out (definitely want to keep burning calories). Obviously you have to wear a heart monitor for the class to get the best benefit. Everyone in the class has their name on screens throughout the gym so you can actually watch your progress. Plus the instructor can shout out those that are really pushing their work-out. And believe me, when you see you’re not keeping up, you work harder (at least I do).
On the first day they loaned me a heart-tracker that I wore around my chest.
When I committed to going regularly I decided to purchase my own heart tracker watch. It’s simplistic compared to many of the activity trackers available but it works for me.
Now, of course, that’s a different “marketing” technique, but I did buy “their” Orange Theory heart-tracker. As a matter of fact, they have a whole lobby of logo branded apparel, towels and accessories. But that’s for a different article! My point is, I could have used a different activity tracker and many in the class do, but I don’t track my daily movements, just when I work out so thought this was easiest.
It was my first big step into wearable technology.
Promoting Your Business with Tech
Today, there are many ways you can promote your business utilizing a fitness or activity tracker. We produced a promotion recently with a corporately branded activity tracker for a cruise line. They wanted to promote the “active” side of their cruise offerings. It was a success because it helped to attract the younger 25-44 age market that they were going after.
While the fitness trackers are the most common wearable technology today, the technology is not limited to tracking and monitoring. Wearable technology also includes earbuds or headphones– wireless or not, light-up bracelets, necklaces, anklets and caps and of course virtual reality headsets and more. All of those items can be branded with your logo and used to promote your business in a way that says you are forward thinking and technologically savvy.
Wearable Health Technology
As the fitness tracker has become the norm, so have many other devices designed to track your health. There are sweat detectors that are adhesive and read what’s going on in your body based on your sweat. There are heart rate monitors, sleep monitors and overall health monitoring.
The one concern that is being discussed is in regards to the data that is being collected. If it’s your own personal device it’s probably not protected under the HIPAA rules but a hospital-assigned device will be. While I believe these types of monitoring devices that collect data on our overall health could possibly detect early stages of serious medical conditions, we have a ways to go before they become something that a company may want to use as a promotional element.
Wearable Technology Fashion is Growing
Another area that is making strides is smart clothing. That’s where the fabric has digital components and wireless circuitry embedded into them. Granted much of it’s for the serious sports enthusiast or professional athlete, but moving into the mainstream fast.
There are compression shirts that have various capture points for heart rate
on the front and a GPS sensor on the back. To go along with the shirt, you may want the smart running shorts (or capris) that monitor your ground contact time, stride length, and more. And it’s not just keeping this information so you can track your progress, the smart gear sends coaching feedback to your headphones to help improve your form and reduce injury as you work-out.
Right now, it is difficult to brand this type of wearable after it is manufactured, but I am sure it will be possible on a large scale once it has gone more mainstream. Just a couple of years ago you couldn’t find a standard compression shirt to brand but today you can.
As you can see, there are a lot of cool wearable tech items to choose from and the list grow daily. As I said at the start of this article, stories from just 2 years ago seem dated. This is an industry growth area that we all need to keep an eye on and be aware of as we market our companies in the future.
Her corporate marketing experience included National Advertising Director for Avis Rent a Car Systems, Inc., and Director of Marketing Services for Royal Caribbean Cruise Line. Read More