Remember the days when a phone was just for making phone calls and we listened to CDs? Now, only 3% of time on smartphones is spent making calls and CDs are more useful hanging in our trees to stop birds eating the fruit than they are for playing music. It wasn’t just the telecoms and music industries that have been disrupted, but high street retailers had their worlds turned upside down too when we all started wandering around with our mobile connected devices.
Now with the emergence of “wearable devices” the watch and glasses industries, among others, better be prepared. Samsung’s new Galaxy Gear doesn’t exactly carry the same kudos as a gold plated Rolex, and being in a room with a Google Glass wearer is, quite frankly, still just a bit too weird. But, this is just the beginning…. Wearable devices aren’t just replacing a traditional accessory, now that they can interact with your body, they’re extending and changing their purpose. A device that monitors your heart rate and helps you track your health and fitness could literally save your life.
If I was a watch or glasses manufacturer I’d be making damn sure I entered into this space before the tech companies start hiring people who know how to design beautiful looking watches and glasses. Remember how big Nokia used to be in the mobile phone market? Or Blackberry for that matter? It didn’t take long for them to lose their dominance because they didn’t respond fast enough to new innovation and consumer demand. And, even though the music and retail industries weren’t in the tech sector, they pretty quickly discovered they were competing with the tech sector.
“The Internet of Things” is coming and it’s arriving fast. It’s not very beautiful yet and there are all sorts of issues to be ironed out before these new devices will become ubiquitous, but it is just a matter of time. Businesses in all sectors need to make sure they have people in their organisations who are focused on innovation and their boardrooms need to support a culture of innovation. I think it’s time for company Chairmen and women across the world to take off their gold watches and look to the future.
Photo Credit – Google Glass