Forget wearable tech – the future lies in your pocket!

By Tom Webb, Client Services Director

Wearable tech has long been lauded as the latest and greatest in innovative tech development, bringing together gadget and fashion lovers in a collision of style and substance. From mainstream products like Google Glass and O2 designer handbags, to the abstract creations of navigating shoes and Bluetooth enabled jackets, wearable tech is grabbing people’s attention and their imagination.

This excitement around the technology has also transferred into a staggering sales increase –with latest figures showing 8.3 million products sold in 2012, up from 3.1 million devices the previous year. Analysis from Berg Insights suggests this will increase up to as much as 64 million units by 2017.

However, the technology behind wearable gadgets is already in use today, in the little known device called the mobile phone (ah yes, I remember those old things!).

The humble mobile phone, or smartphone as we are referring to here, is behind all of this technology. Using the same GPS (global positioning system) and GIS (geospatial information system) technology as wearable tech, the smartphone is allowing us to do more than ever before.

This week, I attended a tech developer summit organised by leading GIS firm, Esri, which brings together the brightest minds in today’s tech scene – the ladies and gents behind all kinds of ‘off the wall’ innovations.

One thing that stood out for me at the summit, was how much more technology advances are still to be realised from ye olde smartphone. With the latest developments in GIS technology, mobile devices and the applications they use are changing the way people consume information, changing how businesses connect with customers, changing the way we view and go about our daily lives.

The summit highlighted that at the heart of mobile device and application developments lies a desire to bring the user experience to life. Using the GPS and GIS technology already embedded in your device app developers are focused on creating ways for users to receive a personalised, tailored experience from their phone. This could be through interactive games allowing users to compete against other people in the same city, or changing the way consumers shop by sending you push notifications straight to your phone suggesting items you may like to purchase, or even suggesting places you may like to visit if you’re a tourist exploring London for the first time.

I came away from this conference excited about the work these developers are doing to unlock the instilled potential already in my mobile device, which made me think: do we really need to be looking ahead to wearable gadgets just yet?

I’m undecided how the trend will take off, but for now, I’ll be watching with intent (probably on the news on my good old mobile phone)…