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2015 - The Year Of Wearable Tech?

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The Apple Watch went on sale last month - but has it's arrival been as big as originally anticipated? Many believed it would be the highest profile launch ever of a piece of wearable tech, yet the launch seemed quieter than the last iPhone. Is it because people are not that interested in wearable tech yet? Or is it simply because it was not the first smart watch and according to some reviews is certainly not the best? 

Some reviews say that although there are many great apps, it isn't that great for telling the time! Surely critical on a watch? Apparently it doesn't hold it's charge very well and needs to be recharged at the end of every day. Others say the entire user experience is just not what you would expect from an Apple product. 

So if smart watches are not yet doing that well are there other items of wearable tech that will capture our interest and enjoy more success? We are keen to know what other wearable tech is coming our way. We also want to know if it is just a craze, something for early adopters and techies only - or is it something that will be top of many of our Christmas lists by the end of the year? 

Martin Talks, the ex Global Head of Digital at Draft FCB, recently set up his own wearable tech company - 10xArmy and they have already developed some products, such as a virtual reality viewer for smartphones that you can buy for as little as £20. So we caught up with him to gain some insights into this new and exciting world. 

Martin believes that although 2015 has been touted as the Year of the Wearable, he thinks it is unlikely to explode into the market that fast. There is so much more to it than activity bands and watches and there are obstacles which will slow down the development and launch of any other innovations for a while. 

The main obstacle is that there are just not enough people with the knowledge and skills to handle it. The beauty of wearable tech is the huge amounts of data that will be generated. It will be great for retailers or anyone who needs to understand more about their customer behaviour. If you send out a customer survey about fitness or diet for example people may lie about their behaviour, but if you can get this information from a device they have been wearing the information is going to be more reliable. 

But before marketeers and analysts can do anything this with data, we need to be able to retrieve and store it. That will be a big challenge. You need people who can create and code the hardware and software. These people will need to be found and trained. They will need to design and build the storage devices and learn how to extract and interpret the data. There is already an IT skills shortage in this country and this won't improve until there are more forward thinking people out there investing in people and training people in this area. 

New technology always presents an organisational challenge too. For instance, if an HR department had brought in a piece of wearable tech that records interviews and features bio-sensors to detect a persons emotions - how would you retrieve the data and analyse it? You would need to hire specialists to get the information from the device and turn it into something you can use in your decision making process - and that person won't come cheap. 

So what other types of device are in development? According to Martin, biotechnology is a big area, e.g. medical pacemakers, bionic limbs and other organs. But others will be much more simple than that - such as items that you wear that send messages to other pieces of tech as you function throughout your day, e.g. door opening devices - may replace access passes for doors at work, automatic responders to email when you are away from your desk/laptop etc. 

For any early adopters out there who are itching to get their hands on their first piece of wearable tech, you could invest in a Virtual Reality viewer. Martin's company has already created one and they are selling at just £20. 

As for the future, Martin thinks there will be many great innovations that come to market eventually and it is unlikely that the watches or any of the bits of technology will totally replace smartphones  - but many of the functions will be better so you could see a day when phones return to being primarily for making calls.