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商业 - 科技

2014年为什么还不是可穿戴设备年

Courtney Subramanian 2014年06月26日

调查显示,75%的顾客都知道可穿戴技术,但只有9%的顾客有兴趣使用它们。可穿戴设备仍然没有得到社会的广泛认可,大范围普及依然面临重重障碍。

    L2研究总监科林•吉尔伯特表示,这一系列合作标志着创新的摇篮与时尚的发源地终于开始牵手。吉尔伯特说,要解决可穿戴领域的难题,缺少的不仅仅是设计这一种要素,但设计确实是这个领域期待的元素。这份报告的调查显示,超过一半的受访者希望拥有看上去更像珠宝的可穿戴设备,62%的受访者更喜欢腕戴式设备。

    吉尔伯特说:“那些以单打独斗闻名的品牌都开始与意想不到的伙伴合作。如果仔细研究苹果的投资,你会发现这个特殊队伍的成员名单,看起来就像是世界上能想象到的各行各业中最优秀的人才的名人录。”

    要让产品显得很“酷”并不是唯一的目的。科技行业如果想让我们身体的更多部位连上网络,那么安全问题和隐私问题,尤其是顾客数据管理问题,依旧需要慎重考虑。正如《经济学人》(The Economist)所说,蓬勃发展的传感器的魅力,以及可穿戴设备的算法,分散了人们对于其他要素的关注。这些关键的其它要素包括:“标准、互通性、一体化、数据管理”,以及“知识产权、执行标准”。对国家安全局(National Security Administration)而言,这些技术发展都必须以网络安全为前提。

    可穿戴设备公司Atlas Wearables创始人彼得•李表示,电池技术和用户的保守是可穿戴市场面临的两大障碍。他说,在一些情况下,电池技术需要有足够大的改进才能实现足以激发用户兴趣的体验,而在穿戴时间、充电时间、处理能力和产品特点上,各家公司也需要做出平衡。

    这个领域的创新速度非常快。自从Fitbit于2008年成立以来,各家公司已经发布了五到六个完全不同的产品。三星(Samsung)则在九个月内发布了可穿戴设备Galaxy Gear的三到四个衍生产品。索尼(Sony)、Pebble、谷歌和Facebook的头戴式虚拟现实设备Oculus Rift也紧随其后。

    吉尔伯特说:“我们很容易看到,在当下的市场中,领头羊们都处在相当脆弱危险的地位。看看他们在每款新设备上做出创新的速度,我们可以很明显地发现这一点。”

    对可穿戴技术有兴趣的不止是科技公司。梅赛德斯-奔驰(Mercedes-Benz)正在将移动体验移植到可穿戴设备上,而维珍航空(Virgin Atlantic)正在试验性地探索谷歌眼镜在顾客服务上的应用。

    吉尔伯特表示,对可穿戴设备的不断试验十分重要,但是现在短期内,人们还需要探讨一下:“技术的演进以及企业的研发力量共同推动了现有可穿戴产品的发展,但它们是否真的能够满足用户的需求;各公司又是否需要探索不同的合作模式,让可穿戴设备不仅限于早期使用者的圈子,而是被主流人群所接受”。

    吉尔伯特称,冬季假期会让这个领域的热度降低,但真正的试金石在于各家公司能否开发出可以通过“返回考验”的可穿戴设备——如果人们已经走出了家门好几步,依然决定返回去取忘带了的可穿戴设备,就像他们去取忘掉的钱包、钥匙、手机一样,这个设备就成功了。

    他说:“目前为止,健身追踪器还不属于这类产品。但是下一代可穿戴设备有潜力跨越这个至关重要的里程碑。”(财富中文网)

    译者:严匡正

    These collaborations signal a moment where the cradle of innovation and the arbiters of fashion are finally embracing one another, says L2 research director Colin Gilbert. Style is not the only missing piece to the wearable puzzle, but it’s something to look forward to, Gilbert says. More than half of the report’s respondents want devices that feel more like jewelry while 62 percent would like more than wrist-worn devices.

    “Brands that are known for going it alone are partnering with unexpected allies,” Gilbert says. “If you dig into Apple’s investment, the special projects team reads like a who’s who list of some of the best talent in the world coming from every sector imaginable.”

    The “cool” factor isn’t the only issue. Security and privacy, particularly around the management of consumer data, remain a concern as the tech industry seeks to bring more of our body parts online. As The Economist notes, the glamour of developing sensors and algorithms for wearables is distracting everyone from glaring missing elements, “standards, interoperability, integration and data management” and “intellectual-property rights and regulatory compliance” among them. All this in an environment where paranoia remains over the National Security Administration’s activities.

    Atlas Wearables founder Peter Li says battery technology and user retention are two more obstacles facing the wearables market. Some use cases require significant improvements to battery technology for a compelling experience, he says, and there’s always a balance to be struck between wear time between charges and processing power and features.

    The pace of innovation has been rapid. Fitbit has released five or six distinct models since the company launched in 2008, and Samsung released three or four variants of the Galaxy Gear in a nine-month period. Sony SNE 0.77% , Pebble, Google, and Facebook’s FB 0.25% Oculus Rift are positioned to follow.

    “It’s very easy to see the leaders in the current market are in a fairly tenuous or precarious position right now,” Gilbert says. “That’s evident by how quickly they’re innovating on each new device type.”

    Interest in wearable technology isn’t limited to technology companies. Mercedes-Benz is porting its mobile experience to a wearable device, while Virgin Atlantic is exploring the customer service aspect of Google Glass on a trial basis. Kenneth Cole is also using Glass as part of a marketing campaign.

    Continued experimentation with wearables is important, but the near-term requires a conversation “about whether current wearables, driven by a combination of organic efforts and corporate tech efforts, are really adhering to customer needs and wants or if companies need to explore a different set of partnerships to push wearables beyond early adopters and into the mainstream,” Gilbert says.

    The winter holiday season will help thin the herd, but the true litmus test will be when a company can introduce a wearable that passes the “turnaround test,” Gilbert says—when a person walks a few steps from their front door and decides to turn around to retrieve a forgotten wearable device like they would a forgotten wallet, keys, or phone.

    “Right now the fitness tracker isn’t on that list,” he says, “but the next generation of wearables has the potential to pass that critical milestone.”

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