Please use hashtag #WearableTechCon for this event
Check out photos from the event
8:34 am EST: The show is about to begin – the excitement is building.
Tony Rizzo kicks off the event and discusses how the wearable market is reaching a tipping point and explains how his involvement in technology over the years has allowed him to be involved in many new markets from the PC, internet and mobile. He sees the wearable market as the next evolution of technology.
Tony introduced Jennifer Darmour the design director at Artefact. She began by discussing how the market for wearable tech is expected to grow from $750M to $50B between now and 2016… Staggering growth.
She asked, “How do we do with wearables what the iPhone did to the smartphone industry?” SHe mentioned that research shows people love their iPhones and then said she is working on making sure people love their wearable tech as much as they love their iPhones.
She explained that beauty does not necessarily equal fashion. She mentioned that she is a runner and has a heart murmur – she showed her Basis watch which allos her to see her heart rate without a monitor on her chest. She explianed that the watch is too bulky for every-day wearing. She also showed “expressive” products such as dresses with LEDs which light up.
She explained that we need to blend these two distinct areas.
She went through a presentation of various wearable tech products and one which was interesting was the Nike FuelBand – she explained the transparency of the device makes it seem like the inner guts of an athlete. She says hers is getting worn and dirty – this gives her “bragging rights” showing she wears it and gets it sweaty.
She went on to explain that Electric Foxy has a ring which shows different colors representing your heart rate – if you are in the zone it turns one color and another if you are not.
She then discussed the idea of merging biometric data and social networking – you could see what makes you happy and sad based on updates of your mood coupled with the knowledge of events of the day.
An important point she mentioned was the idea of using periphery – or peripheral vision in the wearable market via products like Glass and others.
She showed GPS enabled shoes which allow you to see lights on your shoes which show you the way to go.
From there she showed Electric Foxy’s pilates shirt which includes haptic feedback in the hips and shoulders. The feedback alerts you to parts of the body which need adjustment. The idea is there is no disruption which could occur if the user were required to take out a phone to receive feedback.
Another question she posed is where do you sell wearable tech products – Best Buy or retail stores like Forever 21 where there isn’t much experience selling these sorts of products.
Jennifer also shared a failure story regarding wearable tech and ended on a high note saying we all need to work to get a piece of the $50B wearable tech pie.
Avi Greengart director of research at Current Analysis is next up and started his presentation explaining that if a person will tattoo a Chinese symbol they don’t understand on their body, they will wear something that is useful.
He then showed various wearable technologies and how accepted they have become. He called smart watches a “broad” niche market and also called it “geek” which he mentioned is not necessarily a bad thing.
Another good point is you don’t need to build a phone into wearable products as you can piggyback on the phone for battery and communications. Moreover, you can use ZigBee and/or WiFi as well.
I just finished my interview onstage with Jim Little of Second Sight regarding the Argus 2 wearable implant which restores vision to those who have lost it.
Right now the enterprise wearable session is taking place. I will be ceasing my live blog for now as I am being interviewed regarding the wearable tech market and need to prepare.
Sorry I have been offline for a bit – the interviews went well – I had a chance to hear a bit about the enterprise wearable tech market from Motorola and Plantronics and now I am listening to John Burke, Founder, True Ventures; John Frankel, Partner, ff Venture Capital, Carl Howe (Moderator), VP of Research, Yankee Group and Tammi Smorynski, Investment Director, Intel Capital giving a fascinating talk about wearable investments. In short – be sure your slide deck which outlines your business plan is simple enough for a four-year-old but because this is what the attention span of a VC equates to. Also – don’t chase a market you think VCs are investing in because at that point you are too late and too much investment goes into a single sector. Instead, find a market you are passionate about and pursue it.
Here are some photos from the event so far:
I am going offline to do a Google Glass demo – more later.
The wearable tech demos have begun.
HzO showed a very cool demo of wearable tech getting immersed in a variety of beverages and still working thanks to their WaterBlock technology. The company sells to manufact
Plantronics demoed their Voyager Legend in its augmented form – the device has a 9 axis gyroscope/compass/accelerometer and smart sensing and APIs across platforms from iOS to Mac and Android. They said more will be discussed at tomorrow’s keynote.
They also showed a mashup of Google Maps street view and their tech allowing you to navigate by walking and moving your head. Very cool.
Next up was Liqupel showing how their technology protects a variety of consumer electronics devices from water.
Product development company Intrinsic discussed the evolution of Snapdragon Series 800 Process and its support for in-silicon WiFi, USB and bluetooth as well as 4K displays as well as other features such s advanced video. From there he showed an augmented reality demo via animated slides.
From there he made the point that the wearable tech space should leverage phone technology as you get state of the art processors as well s rich multimedia displays, dedicated processors – awesome power management and dedicated hardware and the ability to throttle back processor to ensure you get just enough for your applications.
Vuzix took the stage to discuss its wearable display tech its been working on since 1997. The company showed off its M100 smart glasses – rattled off the specs and showed all the device could do like translate signs on the fly, show you weather, entertainment, etc. The company showed a warehousing solution which was designed with SAP allowing a factory worker to pick products using augmented reality and smart glasses which also act as a bar code scanner.
The company also showed see-through binocular glasses with augmented reality – well they showed a photo of them and said they have them working in prototype form in their lab. Very cool.
Next up is Silica Labs – our first demo with someone wearing Google Glass discussing Glassfit.org its push into the Google Glass apps space. The software allows you to have your workouts guided via the glasses. He mentioned you can’t do Russian twists with a a smartphone (in part because you are twisting your body with a medicine ball in your hands). He went on to say runners want to be able to see the stats on their run via their glasses not phone as it is easier to look at. He said the next step is to integrate the wearable tech such as health and fitness monitoring apps into Google Glass as it is really a display unit.
Apologies – I had to step out for another video interview – lots of excitement here at the show.
Next up is Misfit who showed their activity tracker which has a glanceable display which alerts you to your fitness activity level. Time checking is included and the tracker can be placed on the leg so you get “credit” for a stationary bicycle ride.
SportTracker focuses on infotainment and fitness and wellness – the company is a “tech company” and they presented their capability to show accurate heart rate from anywhere on the body – like the wrist. The solution consists of proprietary hardware and software which measures PPG data over the wrist.
There are numerous apps for this tech such as diabetes monitoring and more.
The company will develop a chip which can live on the back of a watch and the company is working with partners to bring this tech to market.
VEA showed a smart watch which connects with an iPhone or other smartphone. The smart watch is being billed as an all-in-one device which is a phone, music player, activity tracker and more.
dsky showed FaveStar software which allows you to favorite a moment on Google Glass and add contextual information. The system can also identify products in the steam and allow for purchasing options.
Clothing+ showed textile-integrated sensors for clothing for sports and medical applications. The company manufactures in China in its own factory. They showed a heart rate sensor strap which is machine washable. It integrates with Garmin, Sunto, Timex, Sigma and others. The company also showed a heart rate monitor sensor bra. The company believes sensors will be part of all premium underwear in five years. “We know this,” the company representatives said. He also showed Myontec EMG pants reminding the audience that they don’t do the hardware or connections. The pants are meant to track athletes looking to shave off hundredths of a second or those ho are looking to optimize their balance in sports. We also got to see a slide of a medical demo where the gown has embedded sensors.
Adidas showed their wearable tech demo via a video of how the system works. A sensor mentions speed, distance, heart rate, acceleration, etc. This communicates with a base station and allows a coach to see the status of the athletes on an iPad.
They also showed a heat map of players which the coach could use to adjust plays in the future. There was also another slide with relative heart rate and speed zones so a coach can see where a player is in regards to certain targets and limits.
GN IntelligentHeadset showed a headset which runs apps. Developers have access to location data, head direction and more. Company representative says head tracking makes the GPS more accurate.
MaxVirtual showed off bone conduction bluetooth headset in a hat. The idea is you an hear more of your surroundings and it is safer that way. The headphones helped people who were deaf hear for the first time and we saw demos of people hearing for the fist time in years.
Cynaps Enhance is their latest product – you can hear better with dual microphones which can help anyone with conduction hearing loss and a working inner ear hear better.
Expect it to launch on Indiegogo in a few days.
Toyshoppe Systems is an artistic system design and engineering firm and showed a range of wearable tech worn in movies.
Now the audience voting takes place. And the winner is…….
Stay tuned – the winner will be announced July 24, 2013 in the morning.
July 24, 2013 8:28 am
And the winners are:
Best in Show: Max Virtual, Bone Conduction Cap and technology
Audience Choice: Max Virtual, Bone Conduction Cap and technology
Best Device: Misfit Wearables: Shine
Best Application: Plantronics for App working in conjunction with demo’s new device
Best Advanced Technology: HzO
Tony Rizzo hits the stage again and talks about the award winners and the wearable tech giveaways which will be given out at 4:45 pm today. You must be present to win. Prizes include:
Shine Health Sensor (Several Items)
Voyager Legend Headsets (Several Pairs) & NEW SECRET Gadget (Several Items)
MC10, CheckLight sports/activity impact indicator featuring sensors that continuously measure impacts on athlete experiences
iRiver On Sports Bluetooth headset powered by PerformTek Biometrics and Scosche Sports Armband powered by PerformTek Biometrics
M100 Smart Glasses (2 Pairs)
Paul Travers CEO, President and Director Vuzix takes the stage and tells us wearable tech goes back 75 years!. The company Forte Technologies was started to make virtual reality glasses for gaming. They made a helmet which sold $5M worth of the product in 1991. The company struggled and was reorganized in 1997 and focused on the military with night vision display electronics. The government asked for a head mounted display to save weight allowing a traveling soldier to carry less heavy equipment.
He showed a patent for a 1945 wearable television set and then took us through photos of wearable TVs which were made in the 1960s. In 1997 there were wearable fashion shows. He went on to say in these cases it was like hammers looking for a nail – except for a few niche markets.
He says things have changed because of smartphones, augmented reality apps and a variety of market segments from travel to entertainment. He says the problem is holding the phone up looks stupid.
He says there is a wonderful upprtunuty for wearable display systems to tie all of these technoogies together.
He showed a video of a user using the company’s glasses to pick products in a warehouse in record time.
The optical systems are finally coming around to make good looking wearable displays – currently they have glasses in the lab which will look great if a company like Oakley was given the guts to work with. The glasses currently have a 35 degree field of view – they are working with DARPA to double this.
He showed a great video of augmented reality in our daily lives – pretty impressive from helping you meet people to analyzing the food you are eating and helping you improve your pool game.
He said there is a shocking number of developers coming out with apps for his products. He can’t tell what the killer apps will be but he sees many cool apps.
He doesn’t see glasses replacing TVs as TVs are social – but I wonder if he is considering how many people are watching TV on tablets and laptops these days.
He sees TV becoming a “holodeck” like experience where characters exist in 3D all around you.
Here is my latest video interview with Vuzix from this year’s CES
TMC’s Peter Bernstein is moderating a panel now titled:
The Smart Watch Phenomenon – Extraordinarily Useful or All Marketing Hype?
These are the panelists:
The panelists beleive the smart watch will be more popular than smart glasses as people are more comfortable wearing watches – they are less invasive.
Peter asked if it “Smart watch” is the correct name – panelists think it is too late to change the name. No one said iWatch BTW .
“We will have a wonderful ecosystem of devices which communicate with our mobile phones and each other,” she said.
Fashion and Technology will co-evolve.
If any of these technologies become as remotely successful as the iPhone you are going to lose a huge amount of market-share.
This is an opportunity for fashion houses to work with technology – one area of interest is smart materials.
Forster Rhoner for example is focusing on e-textiles – but also focusing on aesthetics.
Wearable tech like insect repellent-embedded clothing create exclusivity which can’t be copied by fast-fashion.
She then went through a whole slew of interesting fashion products which are distinguished from one another. Jewelry made from gold and AK-47 parts for example.
The next 10 years of wearable technology will be just like traditional clothing and the technology will be hidden.
Plantronics takes the stage and Tanguy Leborgne promises an entertaining keynote. He says they beleive wearable tech will change the way we live. Plantronics wants the be the indispensable companion in this new market – the tech you drive back home to get if you forget it.
Cary Bran joins him onstage and then takes over. Discusses the wearable tech ecosystem – equates it to a car where there is an engine, tires, etc. He says we need connectivity which is currently done with a mobile device The second piece he says is analytics – bending data around “me.” He says the third piece is the cloud. The last piece is a device which connects.
Tanguy takes the stage and discusses the Backbeat Pro 2 (a product which I am in the process of reviewing BTW)
He starts off by saying power management is a challenge based on the size of the device and the size of the battery. He discusses deep sleep – the ability to have your device power off when the phone is out of range. He also showed a storage pouch with integrated power.
He then shows a range of actions which allow the smart device to be aware of context in order to act accordingly. For example taking a call by requesting it verbally or just putting on a headset without pressing any buttons. From there he discussed his company’s APIs which allow developers to open solutions with multiple use cases.
He then gives some examples of what the headset can do with 3rd party software. I wrote about this some time back.
Plantronics then went on to launch PLT Labs – the innovation energy behind wearable tech at Plantronics. He then showed the souped up Voyager Legend headset from last night’s demos – it has 3D capability – it can measure movement in all dimensions, has free fall detection and a pedometer.
Both men teamed up onstage to show a demo of a headset which turns a person into a human interface. By turning his head he is able to get music to play through a variety of speakers he looked at demonstrating how the headset could make you into a virtual band leader.
You may have noticed I stopped blogging – sorry – meetings – this is why you should be at the next show in Los Angeles this December and back in NYC next year.
Very soon I get to pick the winners of the Vuzix M100 augmented reality glasses. Two lucky winners will be getting them.