Wearable and Scannable Computing… What are the Trends?
It’s a geek dream from many, many years back. Wearing your computer! It doesn’t get much geekier. With the popularity of smartphones and the way they’ve invaded our lives it seems hard to imagine that we’d be able to say good-bye. The next logical step is to physically attach ourselves I guess? How do we define it? Fitbit and other wearables have slowly but surely entered the zeitgeist. What else can we expect? We should first examine what defines a wearable, since some watches on the market may fit the bill…
The almighty Wikipedia defines wearable computing as:
“Wearable computers, also known as body-borne computers are miniature electronic devices that are worn by the bearer under, with or on top of clothing.”
There are a wide range of wearable technologies that people have begun to use with their smartphones. We haven’t begun to see the possibilities here. From helping the hearing impaired to diabetics around the globe, these little devices can become life saving. It stems far beyond Google glasses, Apple has the alleged iWatch, even Dell announced that they’ll be venturing into wearable computing… This includes a range of health related products, cameras, and user interfaces. Slowly but surely the larger players are filing patents for wearable technologies. If you doubt me on this, I’ll kindly remind you of the $2 billion Oculus Rift acquisition by Facebook earlier this year. 🙂
However, as much as we feel ourselves slipping into a sort of Fahrenheit 451 meets Minority Report, there’s still lots of room for old tech… Believe it or not, one of the older technologies that is only now gaining traction is QR code scanning. Globally, China is leading the way with QR code scanning and we can all learn where this technology is heading based on their example.
“From March 2012 to March 2013, QR code scanning in China increased by four times to almost 10 million scans per month. That includes codes for coupons and rewards (42% of scans), promotions (33%), nutrition information or business card exchanges (22%) and payments (3%).”
As a techie and as a woman I have to say that it’s arguable if scannable computing is as big a trend here in the United States as it is overseas. Many folks seem to find it confusing. “What’s all that gobblygook” I heard a woman say once at a conference. The QR code is simply not attractive and therefore difficult to market consumer based apps with. Also, there’s a trust barrier there. What if you scan a virus or inadvertently give away information you don’t want to!?
Just imagine the possibilities here, but don’t get us started on robots… OK fine we’ll talk about robots. There are some exciting possibilities there, too. Soon your assistant could look like Rosie on the Jetsons. We live in a world of infinite possibilities, this is truly an exciting time!