There is a huge buzz about wearable gadgets like the Google Glass, Nike Fuelband and Samsung Galaxy Gear smartwatch, but what opportunities are they likely to deliver to content marketers?
Yesterday was a red letter day in the history of wearable gadgets, for it was the first time that, in the US at least, any member of the public could actually buy one of the futuristic headsets that some pundits believe will shape our lives in the coming years - the Google Glass. The sale might have been limited to one day, and no one knows when the device will become available permanently, but wearable headsets are here to stay. In fact there are already a host of Google Glass rivals which, while not as highly specified, perform many of its core functions.
Wearable gadgets are set to be a huge business in the future with a battle for the smart watch sector between Samsung, Sony, start-up companies like Pebble, and quite possibly Apple imminent, as well as huge demand for wellness trackers such as the Fuelband from Nike.
So what has this to do with content marketers? Well like much new technology, wearables are likely to impact on the future of marketing in unexpected ways. For now though here are a few examples of how wearable gadgets, like the Google Glass, could create opportunities for content marketers.
1. Changing methods of reading - A few weeks back a US company Spritz unveiled a brand new way of reading on screens. Up until now users have had to physically move pages to work through articles documents and books. What the Spritz system does is automatically move the words in front of a user’s eyes. The creators claim that this method of reading means a person can now ingest up to 300 words in 30 seconds - that means you could have read this feature in just over a minute.
As well as being quick Spritz is also perfect for wearables like headsets and watches and means that content can be delivered in a fast and less intrusive way. It clearly is a technology to watch.
2. Re-inventing push notifications - There are many things a mobile device can tell us about a person, such as their interests via their browsing history, and where they are, through the GPS sensors. Wearables can add interesting new data to the mix. Heart rate and wellness sensors could give marketers clues as to a person’s state of mind which in turn could help generate appropriate content for them.
There are already platforms which work in this way. Qualcomm Retail Solutions' platform Gimbal already enables retailers to scan customers' smartphones to deliver timely personalised content. It could easily be transitioned to wearables like the Google Glass and incorporate the data generated by the device.
There is also likely to be collaboration, some of which is editorially driven, between brands and wearable makers. A good example of this is fashion company Kenneth Cole’s Google Glass app called 21 Days, 21 Deeds which challenges its users to perform good deeds over the course of 21 days.
3. Augmented Reality - To give us further clues as to how publishers might use wearables we should note how they are using Augmented Reality technologies today.
Angela McIntyre, research director at analyst firm Gartner, recently said the business marketing application of wearables is most likely to come via Augmented Reality on smart glasses.
‘When I think about wearables for marketing, I first think about the smart glasses, and in particular, augmented reality, because what that allows people who are wearing the glasses to do is to see an image of a prototype or a new product that doesn't have to specifically be there,’ she said.
Other examples might mean a rich interaction between real world items – print, billboards etc and wearables with the device accessing extra content embedded in physical items created by publishers.
4. More content and data creation - Finally the evolution of wearable is likely to spark a huge explosion in the amount of content users create. The headsets are built around cameras and in some instances they are constantly recording. It will be easier for users to take images and video in circumstances where they wouldn’t with a smartphone. This will create new opportunities for publishers in harnessing user generated content. A Gartner report recently estimated that wearables will propel a huge surge in the amount of personal data people share through apps, and that data in turn could help fuel the next wave of content marketing.