Lessons Learned from Wearable Devices

We can gleam insight from any industry as we build our business and today the wearable device industry is ripe with lessons to be learned.

Many studies reveal that wearable devices are not used long term being abandoned only after six months. Some of the reasons for this are:

  •  Battery replacement, recharge or life.
  •  Imbalance between user needs, technology and a business case.
  •  New wearable products seem to be lying in wait for a purpose rooted in technology not user needs.
  •  Benefits (features) so far are only marginally useful.
  • What to do with the data
  • Risk / Reward

There is much more that can be added to this list but if we look at other industries there may be answers to these issues, for example.

The watch industry has some cool ways to recharge batteries while you are wearing the device or letting it sit using light for recharging. The user does not need to think about battery life.

In any industry you will have a hard time (if not impossible) if you do not identify leading market needs and refine your development strategies for market demand. The wearable device industry is driven by personalization especially in health care. As these new wearables are being developed, the method of needs characterization would be useful to uncover the leading opportunities that deliver value to the end user and solve problems, not what is interesting. This approach creates the opportunity for long term use of the product, would solidify the business case and user needs.

Wearables need to be more about experiences like any good fashion piece or accessory product. Make the data continually interesting and behind the scenes so you are not even thinking about it.

Feature creep happens in any industry and the feature laden smart watches are a perfect example of this disease. A limited feature set that performs well generally wins. Be brutally focused (say no to most features), the quality of physical and digital integration, look at any industry for sound advice in this case; leading market needs and refined development strategies that concentrate on investment opportunities with the greatest chance for market demand and long term use.

Because of short product demand cycles risk mitigation becomes essential to capitalize on this promising new market. Manufacturers need to stream-line their current processes leveraging end-to-end product life cycle management (PLM) capabilities tailored to deliver wearable devices to market.  This overall strategy supports a product’s evolution, including initial product ideation, requirement definition, conception, design, development, test, launch, ramp up, enhancement and retirement.  Manufacturers with foresight to create and align their PLM frameworks to the needs of wearable products will greatly improve their odds of capturing profits and market share.

Wearables, especially the ones intended for health, have the highest pressure to not only deliver a vital service, but also carry a design that will seamlessly integrate into people’s everyday life.