The Smart Watch – Revolutionary or One More Thing to Carry Around?

gearThe big buzz in the tech world this week is Samsung unveiling the Galaxy Gear at Berlin’s IFA trade show. Though the tech press has been gushing about the Smart Watch recently and consumers have been scratching their heads, this trend has real potential to change the way consumers access mobile and…change their shopping/buying/socializing habits as well.

Curiously, the problem the smart watch solves, has already been solved by smart phones. With fewer functions than the typical smartphone, one might wonder how a smart watch addresses an existing consumer need – since you don’t actually REPLACE your smart phone with a smart watch….you add it to the tech you carry about with you.

Frankly, I haven’t worn a watch in years! Why would I start wearing one again when my cell phone does such a great job of keeping me on track and on time?

Not so fast, though. Remember back when the iPad was introduced? It was positioned as a “mobile computer” – intended to replace lugging around a bulky laptop, Instead the tablet computer has actually formed its own niche, one that most tech writers and manufacturers did not predict – as an entertainment tool, for use in the home as much as on the road.

So regardless of how Google and Samsung and the raft of other players intend consumers to use this watch, it will find its own function within the closet of technology consumers currently tote around – or not.

Looking beyond these first generation watches, can a wrist computer replace a smart phone? Do we all need to switch from thumb texting to “middle three fingers of the right hand” keyboarding? Is the screen big enough to let me read my email, play my games and post pics on Facebook? How do I hold my wrist to take a picture anyway?

These are just some of the questions that come to mind – the ergonomic ones anyway.

Looking at the bigger picture, I think the accessibility of a Smartwatch can defiantly increase interaction by consumers at store level (much easier for moms to snap a QR code with toddlers are in tow) – revitalizing that waning technology. Improvements in voice activation could fuel demand for this technology as will GPS functionality which would make it much easier to access our maps while biking or walking…even driving.

The big question still come down to screen size and the consumer’s willingness to tote around yet another piece of technology. The eventual niche smart watches fill could surprise us all.

professional content creationMaryanne Conlin is CEO of RedRopes Marketing, a consulting firm focused on green and sustainable industries, fresh produce, food, Hispanic marketing and marketing to Moms. See her at ExpoEast Natural Foods Expo in Baltimore, speaking on Social Media for Socially Conscious Brands, September 27, 2013 Connect with her on Twitter @maryanneconlin


CES Versus Aunt Amy

ces imageThe past few days the news out of Las Vegas has crackled with the oohs and ahhs of techies getting their fix. Bright lights, warm days, cold nights and lots of walking sans subway or ANY available taxi.

For the rest of us, our days have been punctuated with breathless tweets, posts littered with capital letters and video with lots of background noise. Fortunately this 30,000 mile up view of the Consumer Electronics Show, obtained through repetitive searching on various platforms, tweeting, talking and texting with those actually at CES and a healthy dose of eye rolling, is exactly what we need to parse what the impact of all these gadgets on CPG businesses.

Seriously…what techies think is the coolest new gadget, might not be the one that consumers grab onto and make their own in a totally unexpected way. We won’t know that for a while. But we can get a head start this year because:

THIS holiday season was definitely a “gadget Christmas”, where adoption rates of new electronics soar and every home seems to have one brightly wrapped for a household member. This year, that gadget was the tablet.

In one of those great example of the complexities of the human brain, as we look at the latest, out of this world, new technology at CES, we can’t help but overlay the image of Aunt Amy stashing her iPad mini in her purse, Grandma dropping her tablet into kitchen drawer  and dad his Surface in the den under the remote….with the HDMI cord.

This opportunity for most of us to watch technology adoption close up, while peeking ahead to see what’s new…might just give us some insight on what really SHOULD be next… Just sayin’

headshot newMaryanne Conlin is CEO of RedRopes Digital and Partner Digital Strategy with 4GreenPs.  She has been to technology trade shows enough times to know that it’s good to reality-check the hype. She can often be found pestering family and friends and often complete strangers on  how they use tablets, smart phones and computers.

Department of Interim Technology- Scan -To -Share

I’ve been working on plans this week – one year, five year, next month…

My mostly, mid size clients, $50-$500 million, have somewhere between the “all the money in the world” of the big brands and the shoestring budget of small businesses.Practically, that means, we have to pick and choose the technologies, social media platforms and “new and exciting” apps we pursue.

Ad Ag Relaunch Includes New “Scan to Share”

This one, ‘Scan to print” strikes me as an interim technology…for people who still read trade news via print. Note, reading on paper will be around for the foreseeable future..but IMHO, reading and sharing of trade news will rapidly move online …just about only.