Image | African Nutrition Matters
Last year, big manufacturers placed their bets on wearable technology. Smartwatches and bracelets were the big winners of 2014. However, in spite of the large expectation that these devices raised, it doesn’t seem that they have made it into homes at the same rate they made it into the media.
A recent report by the consultancy Accenture reveals the most important obstacles standing in the way of their widespread breakthrough: the man on the street finds them complicated to use and has doubts over the security of the information that they store. Following the indicators in the document, these and other similar issues should be what the manufacturers begin addressing if they want the Internet of things to become a reality within everyone’s reach, and a business of maximum profitability.
Albeit with reservations, 24,000 survey respondents from 24 countries accepted that new intelligent devices are beginning to represent an opportunity to improve their lives. Many confirmed that they are in possession of a smart bracelet to help control their fitness or a smartwatch, and that they are considering investing in other, more complicated, devices before 2020, like a smart thermostat or a virtual reality helmet. 39% of respondents opt for mobile health devices.
The problem, according to the majority of respondents, is the difficulty in using them. 83% of people who had brought a wearable device claimed to have experienced difficulties in getting them to work. Some couldn’t get theirs to connect to the Internet, and others complained that customer service hadn’t been able to resolve their problems.
As in many other aspects of life, first impressions determine how things unfold. The user’s first experience after opening the box is a key factor in whether or not they decide to keep the product and even if they will buy another product from the same company in the future.
If an item is too complicated or a customer has a issue that cannot be resolved the likelihood is that the device will be returned to the shop and the manufacturer will receive a negative evaluation in the mind of the consumer.
All of these difficulties are reflected in the devices’ sales. The consumers want their new acquisition to be compatible with the equipment they already have. They also worry about security: what happens to the information that, for example, a bracelet with biometric sensors stores?
Here is where the power of brands comes to the fore, not only to surprise us with their designs and performance, but also to show to the consumers that they can trust in the security of their devices.
As we have seen, the path towards a future success for smart technology is not completely straightforward. The first thing, more important even than demonstrating the confidentiality of personal information, is to effectively communicate the advantages of the Internet of things and intelligent electronics. Not as a product for big businesses and experts, but as something that is ordinary and useful, as well as being an attractive purchase. The companies have the roadmap. Now, let’s see how they take their first steps in 2015.