The market information company, TNS, recently released a study on wearable computing which found the majority of consumers are not ready for wearables. It seems that while three-fourths of consumers "are aware of at least one type of wearable computing device," only nine percent are currently interested in using them.
"Wearable computing is still in its infancy," said Tom Buehrer, senior vice president of TNS, in a statement. "The main challenge lies in convincing people of its value and developing a device with mass appeal. The future of computing will be wearable, the question is, which kind of computers will people actually wear?"
The study found 52 percent surveyed would prefer to wear a wrist-based smartwatch or smart bracelet. The second best place for a wearable, selected by 24 percent of consumers surveyed, was on their arm. Only five percent of consumers want a device on their eyes.
This study's findings are in direct contrast to my personal experience. You see, I'm a Google Glass Explorer and wear my device on a daily basis as part of Google's beta test. When I go out in public, the response from passersby is one of delight and true curiosity at how Glass works and what it does.
People are genuinely interested when I explain my use of Glass is mostly hands free. I activate the device with a head motion and use voice commands to make phone calls, send text messages, visit YouTube and get directions while driving. I also use Glass to do comparison shop while in stores. After learning these details, most everyone asks when they will be able to buy Glass.
I believe tech companies producing wearables need to get the devices in the hands of consumers so they can touch and play with them, thereby removing any mystery and creating quicker adoption.
Just imagine a busy mom pushing a cart, trying to keep track of her kids and attempting to compare prices or find a review on a product. Now, instead of fumbling with a smartphone, she can activate Glass through a head motion and use voice commands to get price comparisons, product reviews, watch high-resolution video demonstrations, learn about coupons and upcoming sales — all hands free.
This is just one small example, but illustrates what I believe are two of the best features of wearable computing, immediate access to information and ease of use. I believe that sooner rather than later, everyone else will discover this, too.
How long before wearable technologies reach mass-market status?