Wednesday, March 20, 2013

Wearing, thin. The white hot mobile trend: ubiquitous computing & thin clients is wear it's at.


KEY MOBILE TRENDS: wearable computing, sensors, multi-device ownership, smartwatches, wellbeing, ubiquitous computing

Talking shoes from Google, contextual-sensing jewelry from Samsung. Big brands and small, device vendors had better get to wear the action is.

You will certainly be hearing lots about wearable devices over the coming year, and some of you might get tired of the exaggerated stories and the miserable puns. But when hype reaches its peak is when it's really time to evaluate market potential and write down business-development plans.

I've been hearing about ubiquitous computing since the turn of the century. The long-term vision of migrating machine interaction into everyday things and away from personal computers and handsets has excited technology executives to such a degree, that most large tech companies and campuses formed UC units. Now, the enablers are nearly in place and products will rain onto the market during the coming years. Many products will fail to deliver, but a few will really change the way we live and breath.

Google Glass and Google's talking shoe concept (please see video below) are two examples of keeping people contextually informed and constantly connected to the grid. Every smartphone vendor worth its salt will be sprouting sensor-filled mobile accessories during the coming years.

While we know the components enabling this key trend, as is so often the case, the supporting business models are the real uncertainty. Some legitimate mobile healthcare-related services will prove to be a good value for healthcare providers and individuals, but leveraging the vast amounts of data collected could lead to a trade of atoms for bits, that is, lower-cost accessories in return for some of the contextual data.

I suspect most large handset vendors have their wearable computing in-house experts and major mobile platforms are working on robust APIs to support the development of an array of accessories and applications. Vendors who aren't prepared could be left out in the cold.

So, looking forward, computing power and sensors will be everyware. Are you ready to uncover the opportunities?

Platitude & attitudes: this shoe from Google/Adidas will make life much tougher:

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