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Perspectives: How Do You Feel About Wearable Tech?

Welcome to our content series called “Perspectives.” As an agency, our process centers around affective empathy, where we try to better understand the lives of our brands’ customers, but more so, uncover the shared values between the two entities. And through that process, we need to gain perspective. So, in the spirit of bringing our process to life in a unique way, each week, we’ll present you with a relevant topic and share a series of perspectives from five employees with varying backgrounds.

With the launch of Snapchat’s Spectacles, it got us thinking: how do we really feel about wearable technology?

Here’s what a few of us had to say.

Sid Murlidhar, Creative Director: For me, as I am sure for others, technology has always served a singular purpose. To make life easier. Yes, in some cases better but easier first and foremost. When technology is introduced that is intended to replace my reality or present a reality that is superior, I shut down. I don’t want VR goggles to show me what it’s like to walk on a beach in Bora Bora. I would like to someday go there and be surprised and delighted in person. I don’t need Snapchat glasses to turn me into the fodder for someone else’s Klout score. Sure it’s a gimmick. Sure it’s cool. But I don’t see myself using it. And if I had to use it for a brand that I worked for, I would remind them that that no amount of technology can replace the real thing. To see, taste, touch, smell and hear something without having to rely on technology is pure. And yes, that makes me old fashioned and no I don’t really give a crap.

 Courtney Doyle, Partner/Managing Director, CP Travel: Our phones are an extension of ourselves so wearable tech is an obvious next step. Today we can pay for things with our watch. Its like a dream from an old sci-fi movie. Have you been to Disney? Those Magic Bands were once my Utopian dream come true. But now, wearable tech makes me think about two things: 1) intrusiveness and 2) expectations. The intrusiveness comes as a new reason to never shut down. There’s something on your wrist buzzing and telling you to get up and walk or you got a new text. Like all tech, I’m sure we’ll quickly adapt to this and it will become second nature, just like giving up all of our health data will be. The other thing I wonder about from a business perspective is its impact on consumer expectations. As we adapt to this new way of functioning, won’t you expect every experience you have – from the grocery shopping to taking a trip – to provide as seamless and smooth an interaction as using your watch (or glasses, or FitBit, etc)? Businesses need to pick up the pace of adoption to keep up with these quickly evolving consumer expectations.

Eric Webster, Director of Technology: From a very young age, I was promised self drying jackets, flying cars, video watches and hi-tech spy glasses. Seeing that the year 2020 is right around the corner, I for one could not be more excited about the cross over in technology and clothing which is making my inner fanboy eager to slap my hard earned money on the table for a pair of Augmented Reality glasses or GPS enabled shoes []. While the hardware and technology improve and become faster, smaller and more capable we will need to start to think about the very real concerns of privacy which are inevitable from people who are wearing video enabled clothing. I think its going to take some time for our privacy, policy and culture to catch up with technology, but we have not even begun those conversations yet. Most people would not be comfortable sitting next to someone wearing a pair of glasses which may be recording video at all times even though this sort of video monitoring helped bring the recent New York City bombing suspects to justice. Like everything in life, its not black and white — but we can’t ignore the future.

Carissa Mak, Digital Associate Creative Director: I love when wearable technology is more of an experience. It’s worn for a brief period of time, and then you’re back to reality. Yes, please, I would love to virtually transport myself to Hawaii during a Boston winter, or log my stats as I run (who am I kidding, I don’t run…). But when it becomes too much of a distraction, it’s a turnoff. I can’t take you seriously when you’re wearing Google Glass, and can’t concentrate on reading a book to my son when my wrist is blowing up with text notifications. If wearable technology is experiential, I’m all about it. But until it can be more seamlessly integrated into my everyday life, I’m taking my Apple Watch off when I get home from work.

Mike Dolan, Digital Brand Manager: The human race is graced with opposable thumbs, but desperate not to use them. The world is ready to embrace hands-free tech if it (a) makes their lives easier, and (b) makes them look cool. Snapchat’s spectacles are a good case study in wearable tech. They haven’t quite nailed the style piece, but these are a huge upgrade from Google Glass. There will be a draw to the novelty of recording short videos with a pair of glasses. Think of all the cool new snaps you can take without your phone occupying a hand…Cooking dinner, shooting a basketball, tying your shoes. It may seem silly, but in this world of social sharing and one–upping amongst friends, wearable tech can also make the world safer. Put away your phone while driving – you can record what’s in front of your eyes with a tap of your glasses. Snapchat spectacles aren’t going to change the world or be a lasting style choice, but they are a step in the right direction for wearable tech and it’s nice to have such an influential company pushing innovation in that area.

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