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EDITOR’S BLOG 31-07-15 What to wear this season

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Hello and Happy Friday! As August hoves in view and telemedia looks to take a couple of weeks off, our minds turn to holidays and, more specifically, what to wear. And wearables are certainly flavour of the season.

Back in the day, the summer used to be the silly season where stories about dogs that use phones or kids that have launched multi-billion dollar businesses abound. But this summer the news is all about wearables.

Now, this could be because nothing much else is happening, but there is something in it. Apple’s watch leads the way and has got everyone talking about the potential of wearable devices – even though not many people have bought one yet (about 2-3million so far).

The other day I was in a good old fashioned city boozer and some nerk had an Apple Watch – the first I have spied on a civilian – and he kept looking at it every 12 seconds then getting his phone out of his pocket. Look. Pocket. Look. Pocket. Again and again and again….

I eventually caved and asked him what he was doing: “It tells me I have texted but I have to read the whole message on my phone”, he told me. Now that’s wrong, but I didn’t disabuse him. Anyway on it went until eventually his mates turned up.

And this made me realise that wearables still have a lot to prove. Early adopters may well have the watch, but are they really of any use? Do they fill a gap in our lives that we really need filling? I think not.

The Internet of Things, however promises much and is quite rightly going to explode, but we won’t really notice it happening.

Wearables will be part of this IoT revolution, but I am not so sure that the watch is really it. I think it will be more sensors built into things that monitor us and advise, through phones and tabs and computers, as to how we are, where we are and so on. I think the smartwatch – in its current form at least – is just an alert system for the smartphone. A bit more convenient, but you look like a knob.

Where payments and wearables collide is all the more interesting, however. Wafting your watch about to pay for things is a much neater proposition and the nerk in the pub would have looked way cooler if he had, between checking and rechecking his watch and phone, been able to use the watch to buy a pint.

This is where the wearables device market is going and that tie up between phone, wearable and payment is one that the telemedia industry needs to take a look at. While we struggle to get a coherent industry approach to charge to mobile on a mobile, the market is moving on. Soon it maybe that you have to do all this on a watch or other wearable. Are you ready for that?

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