This year, Wearable World Congress (formerly Glazed Con) met at the Palace of Fine Arts, where hundreds of people involved in the wearable and IoT landscape converged to talk about the most exciting things happening in the space. There were numerous new devices shown, interesting speakers, and networking galore.
What stood out was all the different types of wearables that are coming to market. There was everything from the brain training Muse, which improves your attention span, to fun devices like Drumpants (currently in crowdfunding), that turns you into a human MIDI controller to a pair of audio headphones called Nuheara, that allows you to cancel background noise. Boy, I could have used Nuheara the other night when my neighbor’s dog wouldn’t stop barking!
Some devices are multi-functional, like the Pebble Watch, or while other gadgets focus on specific problems like the sensor TZOA, which measures the air pollution in your environment. Wearables are a broad space, and as Ayse Ildeniz, the Vice President at Intel for New Devices Group, said, “The market is not defined.” The sky is the limit, and anything can become a wearable; as more of these products hit the market, we are sure to discover what consumers want and are willing to pay for.
That said, one point that stood out among the rest: Marcus Weller the CEO of Skully noted that the word wearable means very little outside of Silicon Valley; instead one needs to focus on the story of what the product does for the customers. For example, Skully is selling “the world’s smartest motorcycle helmet”, one that would enable riders to be safer, while still looking like a fighter pilot or Ironman. That is much more engaging than: a wearable that makes motorcycle rides safer.
Overall, there were great presentations and talks, but the real value was in the networking opportunities; there were people from e-commerce sites like Lumoid, or the Wearable Store, crowdsourcing experts from Indiegogo, and numerous cool hardware startup people. We also saw so many VCs at Wearable World; they really are changing their minds about investing in hardware. So, build your slide deck, go get some market traction, and raise some money! The biggest highlight was the pub-crawl after the event, but unfortunately we couldn’t make it and could only live vicariously through all the fun tweets about it. There’s always next year!