Wearables, hearables and smart devices: The holy trinity for the connected consumer
While smartphones have been at the epicenter of bringing a connected lifestyle, the next frontier of interconnectedness is going to be driven by Artificial Intelligence and the Internet of Things (IoT).
The last decade has been a whirlwind of technological breakthroughs. From endless content streaming at our fingertips, transient social media shares, self-driving cars, true wireless audios to 5G networks, it has been a thrilling ride. And if you look at the microcosm of the innovations that have now become commonplace in our lives, one will observe that the key bedrock around which most of this progress has revolved is the ‘connected consumer'.
We are living in an age of ubiquitous connectivity. And most business models, disruptions, and tech advancements have been spurred by the rise of the connected consumer. They don't just include the upwardly mobile millennials, but also a large cross-section of demographics between the 30s to the 60s.
While smartphones have been at the epicenter of bringing a connected lifestyle, the next frontier of interconnectedness is going to be driven by Artificial Intelligence and the Internet of Things (IoT). Especially products such as wearables, hearables, smart home devices that drive effortless linkages with the larger ecosystem, monitor, gather and collect data, and work together to infuse elements of quality, productivity, panache, and enjoyment.
Let's explore some of the trends that will contribute to the evolving connected experiences of the future.
The dawn of hearables
Remember the time when ear-pieces were meant to be just either Bluetooth devices for answering calls or audio accessories to enjoy music?
Featuring longer battery life, ease of use, exceptional sound quality with active noise cancelling, and superior cool quotient in a lightweight, compact gadgetry, hearables are one of the gateways to multiple innovations. AI-based voice assistants such as Siri, Google Assistant, and Alexa have become preferred modes of communication among the tech-savvy generation, and hearables come deeply integrated with these platforms.
With seamless voice control and command functions, hearables will emerge as the primary mode of communication, helping you shop, drive, run chores, answer calls, and enjoy endless music streaming in a friction-free manner.
Companies are pushing the boundaries with low latency so that avid gamers can also enjoy an immersive and more responsive experience without the trappings of any lags and wires. With an extremely ergonomic design fitting seamlessly in the contours of the ear and intelligent touch controls that switch music, one can convert to gaming mode, turn on active noise cancellation or use transparency mode. Hearables today offer versatile functions to emerge as the connected consumer's true best friend.
Wearables - from challengers to incumbents
Wearables are no longer a challenger category but have become mainstays for users who love fashion and fitness combined in a nifty, compact package. With this development, wearables are undergoing a new change from both aesthetics and functionality perspectives.
Be it in improved battery life, STK/SD card support, measuring blood oxygen level, and heart rate monitoring with better sensor accuracy to versatile design elements and elegant form factors, there are plenty of attractive variables to woo the consumers.
Gartner predicts that by 2023, one-tenth of all wearable devices will be unobtrusive to the user. The future for wearable technology holds much more promise and fervor as Artificial Intelligence becomes more mainstream and embedded in day to day lives. Think of an AI personal assistant in your wearable that maps your personal dietary, fitness, nutritional needs and creates the perfectly curated plan for you or smart clothing that monitors your body temperature effectively, the possibilities are limitless.
Considering the hectic work schedules and sedentary lifestyle most of us lead today, we may even look at a near-future where wearable technology will be made mandatory at workplaces so that employees can foster a more productive living.
Smarter and connected living
Analog homes for digital natives? While that may have been the established norm some years back, the landscape is slowly shifting. Users are increasingly opting for a unified, single platform that acts as a practical control center for the connected home.
While the market is yet to reach full maturity, there are many innovative technologies that are dotting the terrain and more in the offering that hold potential. Such as intelligent sensors that sense your presence and can effectively control light exposure and temperature as per your mood. If you are traveling and forgot to shut off the appliance, then just deactivate it remotely through a centralised interface.
While brands are focusing on developing products that are IoT enabled, there is also more traction for utilitarian smart products such as smart plugs, which turn any appliances smarter. Just interlink it with a voice command and remotely switch off your electrical devices seamlessly.
“What is now proved was once only imagined”, as one of the most revered creators have said. Acting on actionable data and insights, we will see brands increasingly focusing on creating bespoke connected experiences, where users can access democratised technology, interact with the surrounding environment through them seamlessly, all bundled in intelligent devices. The demand for connected devices is on the rise and the future is nothing short of exciting.
This article is written by Madhav Sheth, VP, Realme and CEO, Realme India and Europe.