Are Smart Clothes the Real Future Of Wearable Tech?


2014 was supposed to be “the year of wearable tech,” but four months in, it seems clear that it’s going to take some time for wearables to go mainstream. The majority of attention is being paid to smartbands and smartwatches, and new entries to the market keep coming. Google has announced their expansion outside of Glass with smartwatch Android Wear, Nissan has unveiled a watch concept that would pair wearable tech with the car industry, Disney has made headlines with their new smartbands for guests, even Will.i.am is developing a smartwatch. The competition to be the star of tech that lives on our wrists is intense, but so far it is unclear whether consumers—even tech-hungry Millennials— are going to embrace these innovations. Research suggests that one-third of those who have purchased wearable tech abandoned their devices after just six months of use, causing some to wonder if the “next big thing” in tech is a harder sell than brands previously suspected. One of the big issues of wristband and Glass technology is that currently it is very noticeable and not necessarily stylish. We wrote that wearable tech would have to be either beautiful or undetectable to be embraced by a broader audience than the techie crowd, and the makers of these devices are heeding the warning, with Google partnering with glasses-maker Luxxotica for more fashionable Glass frames, and Intel working with Opening Ceremony and Barneys New York to create a wristband that actually looks cool. 

So what will the future of wearable tech actually look like? The answer may lie in the items that we already wear everyday. Smart clothes have the advantage of being less detectable and potentially more fashion-forward than current wearable tech items. The category also has the potential to be more naturally integrated…

 
 
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Millennial News Feed

Quote of the Day: “I unplugged from Facebook and it was one of the best decisions I have ever made. It is such a time suck. I have other online sites that I can browse to relieve stress or take a break from work without having to see what some random kid in high school is eating for breakfast.” —Female, 23, PA

Last summer we noted Motorola’s vision of tattoos as password and identity authentication in our spotlight on the future of passwords, and now the first iteration has hit the market. Motorola teamed up with VivaLnk to create temporary tattoos—circuits wrapped in adhesive—that can unlock the Motorola X phone with a simple scan. Though the wearability is impressive, lasting up to five days on skin even through exercise or being submerged in water, remember that wearable tech must be beautiful, and the copper swirled fingerprint has ended up “looking a bit like a mole.” (TechCrunch)

Reebok and…bacon? Though health and fitness might not be synonymous with salted meat, Reebok is celebrating its athletes in the 2014 Reebok Crossfit Games with a Paleo diet-friendly treat. Targeting the “tastebuds of the Crossfit community,” Reebok’s pork product is free of nitrates, preservatives, MSG, and sweeteners, and will be delivered to attendees in boxes or via a branded food truck. Audience members can follow the truck on social media with the hashtag #reebokbacon to catch prizes and special bacon menu items rolled out throughout the games. (Creativity OnlineFast Co. Create)

Having grown up in the age of internet piracy and file sharing, many Millennials treat music and photo copyrights as flexible, downloading and swiping various content to share on social media. But using copyrighted music in videos shared with over 6.7 million fans has caused trouble for Michelle Phan, the makeup tutorial YouTube star who is now being sued by Ultra Records. Ultra owns rights to music from a slew of EDM artists that Phan has used in her tutorials, but some artists are tweeting out in support of her and challenging copyright laws to modernize. (Adweek)

Campbell's hit a peak in popularity with the Boomer generation, but instead of reviving the soup brand for Millennials in their 20s and 30s, Campbell's is looking to create an entirely new snack line for the kids of Millennial parents. The company will expand its Bolthouse Farms brand into Bolthouse Kids and tap into the tremendous growth of fresh-packaged snacks made for the on-the-go lifestyle of Millennial moms. Fruits, veggies, ready-made smoothies, and even Greek yogurt are in the works for hungry Plurals. (WSJ)

We identified Next Level Fandoms and Pre-Dev Engagement as two major Millennial trends in our Q3 2013 Quarterly Report, and Hasbro has joined these forces together for its SuperFanArt project. Dedicated fans can design and buy 3D printed figurines inspired by their favorite Hasbro brands, the first being My Little Pony. Encouraging the “mini-creator mindset” opens the door for pre-dev engagement and could create excitement around new Hasbro products and custom toys. (Kidscreen)

Looking for a quick Millennial stat to get you up to speed before a strategy session? Searching Ypulse is the best place to start! Silver and Gold members have access to 10,000+ articles, 20,000+ curated Millennial news items, 2 billion peer-generated opinions from our mobile, social Q&A network, and thousands of statistics on Millennials drawn from our bi-weekly national survey of the generation. Your search can begin and end with us. (Ypulse)

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