Teaching Apprentices about wearable tech

On this week’s Apprentice, we saw the teams trying to tackle the wearable tech market.

We first saw wearable tech in the 1980s with the calculator watch, and now the industry is flourishing, as fashion and technology companies are vying to take over our wrists, eyes, clothing and even our feet.

Watching the candidates struggling to come up with successful, credible products showed just how complex the wearable tech market is, and not an industry one should enter into without thorough research and understanding (i.e. more than attending a conference where it was mentioned, sorry Scott)!

Some of the problems the contestants faced clearly included design, privacy and knowing your audience. The blazer and jumper they came up with were, put bluntly, ugly.

One of the key challenges for companies is to find a way to include technology in a discreet way, so it doesn’t feel like you’re wearing a computer. The smartwatch battlefield is extremely competitive at the moment, and one of the biggest key differentiators is design. People want a stylish looking device that could genuinely replace their watch.

Some companies such as Motorola and LG are certainly a lot closer than others, though no one company has quite cracked the design of the smartwatch for women, so it’s an open field for new entrants.

The boys’ jumper raised the issue of privacy, which is usually one of the first concerns we hear about in the wearable tech industry. Wearable tech is still in its infancy, and as with any sort of technology there is going to be advantages and disadvantages. Only time will tell if the convenience and benefits of wearables will override worries of privacy and security.

The girls’ blazer was the perfect example of less is more (and that a blazer should never light up!) You need to know who you’re going after to make sure that all the features are necessary to your audience. You’re not going to buy something for the sake of it, but you will buy a product that will solve your problems. If the girls had stuck with a phone charger in the pocket, a feature consumers would actually find useful, I have no doubt it would have faired a lot better.

So, what have we learnt? If you’re planning to join the wearable tech space:

• Do your research
• Know your audience
• Have a clear focus for the product
• Be confident so you can pitch it
• Don’t bung fairy lights in cloth and hope for the best…seriously, don’t.

Ellen Powell-Chandler
By Ellen Powell-Chandler

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