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 into…

 
 

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Quote of the Day: “My favorite brand on social media is Complex, because it's more of an online network that reports on urban culture.”

—Male, 23, MI

Luxury watch brands are innovating to cater to what could be their biggest opportunity: Generation Z. A September 2016 survey from Mintel found one in five 16-24-year-olds reported they were thinking of buying a watch “in the coming months,” and that “the young are the biggest buyers of all age groups.” As a result, watch brands are taking marketing online. Omega says that social media is not part of their marketing strategy but “the way [they] communicate.” (Financial Times)  

A group of moms is making hijabs for Barbie to battle Islamophobia. Created through a partnership with the non-profit For Good, Hello Hijab sells $6 handmade headscarves for dolls, available April 1st, along with a card explaining what the accessory is. As one founder explains, the aim is for a more inclusive generation: “They will see it as a kind memory from their playtime, and then they will grow into a kinder generation…used to playing with dolls that look different to them.” Profits from the new doll accessory will go to support multicultural communities. (RT)

Netflix is winning the “steaming wars”—at least on home TV sets. comScore’s analysis into video streamed over Wi-Fi to televisions in U.S. homes found Netflix’s penetration is around 40%, while YouTube, the next most-used service, was less than 30%. Both Amazon and Hulu are far behind at below 20%, but the latter was found to have engagement rates on par with Netflix: “People who do use [them] use [them] a lot…Both services engage their users for more than 25 hours a month.” (Recode)

Chipotle wants to "slyly” promote kids’ healthy food habits with an unbranded video series. RAD Lands, available for purchase on iTunes, follows “the Cultivators” as they try to save the galaxy’s animals and plants, and features cooking segments with celebrity chefs and musical appearances by the likes of Biz Markie and Wayne Coyne of the Flaming Lips. Described as an “entertainment Trojan horse,” the series is all about educating the next generation while also making a play to win back consumers after the brand’s food-related illness issue. (Ad Age

Airbnb is launching Aibiying, a new brand to target Chinese Millennials. The company’s research has shown an increase of 142% of travel out of China in 2016, and 80% of their users in the country are under 35. The young travelers are also a “lucrative market” according to one expert: "Chinese Millennials are likely to travel farther afield -- and to spend more while traveling—as their disposable incomes and appetite for adventure grow." Aibiying, which translates to "Welcome each other with love,” will include the brand’s latest “Trips” and “Experiences” features. (Inc.

Quote of the Day: “Budweiser ads are memorable because they pull at the heart strings with the horses and dogs.”—Female, 22, CA

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