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Travel Tech

Wearable technology, or wearables for short, is a recent disruptive development in consumer electronics that is beginning to gain traction. The concept of wearing something on one's person that can then be used for the sort of functionality associated with mobile devices will become an increasingly significant one in the coming years.

Apple Watch Plays Key Role

Although wearable technology has yet to become truly mainstream, the recent release of the Apple Watch will play a major part in this process. Apple has long since established itself as the largest consumer electronics company in the world, and indeed has become the first ever corporation to achieve a market capitalisation of $700 billion.

Early figures related to the Apple Watch are extremely encouraging for the consumer electronics giant, and it seems a certainty that the Apple Watch will pave the way to wearable technology becoming a significant part of the retail and consumer landscape.

This technology is particularly relevant to these fields because it can be so readily appropriated for mobile payments or marketing opportunities through beacon technology. Indeed, Apple already has its own proprietary iBeacon system which it hopes will soon lead the marketplace in this technology.

While the adoption curve associated with wearable technology is definitely in an upward direction, and at the same time this new form of consumer device is gaining popularity, other new technologies are arising that are natural companions to wearables. Thus, wearable technology is riding on the back of mobile, but also tapping into such significant contemporary and future technologies as Internet of Things, Big Data and cloud computing.

Wearables' Role in the Travel Industry

Wearable technology can also play a significant role in the travel industry as it is particularly well suited to travellers in general. The convenience of having a device on one's wrist that can perform all the functions associated with mobile technology while in a busy place such as an airport, or for that matter during a trip itself, is obviously going to be advantageous the people already weighed down with baggage. One example of this that the Digital Tourism Think Tank has reported on previously is the attempts to take advantage of the convenience of wearable technology with mobile boarding passes.

So with wearable technology sets to play a major role in the travel industry in the near future, a new report from eConsultancy entitled "A Marketer's Guide to Wearable Technology" promises to provide a real insight into the technology for marketers. The Marketer's Guide to Wearable Technology aims to demystify the world of wearable technology, providing a valuable overview of the current state of wearable technology in key marketplaces, while outlining how companies can adopt a successful strategy in the wearable sphere.

According to eConsultancy, the potential of wearable technology is not restricted to a single market or aspect of people's lives. The organisation compares its impact on consumer society to that of digital technology, and suggests that they can open a vast array of opportunities across a wide variety of different commercial sectors.

One of the interesting aspects of the report is its focus on the critical role of wearables in the general trend towards ubiquitous computing. As the name would suggest, ubiquitous computing (sometimes referred to as ‘ubicomp’) is a concept in software engineering and computer science where computing is made to appear everywhere and anywhere.

Importance of the Internet of Things

The most obvious manifestation of this is the aforementioned Internet of Things, which may continue to sound like an aspect of science-fiction to many people at the moment, but is already becoming a significant part of everyday life. In the foreseeable future, and as the existing decade unfolds, it is certain that we will see a vast number of smart devices appearing on the market, and that these will become commonly available in people's homes.

Indeed, many people already have a smart TV, which is continually connected to the Internet in order to download programs and other services. It was unthinkable just a short time ago that televisions could operate in this flexible way, yet now it seems almost quaint that people should be forced to consult the television listings in order to decipher what is on TV.

The eConsultancy report also instigates the following subjects:

- The seven key areas of opportunity that wearable technology can offer a brand.

- Facts to help you formulate a wearable technology point of view.

- Understanding wearable technology and how it fits in with the trends around mobile, ubiquitous computing, the Internet of Things, cloud computing and Big Data.

- Predictions on market size and what might speed up or slow down adoption.

- Information on who is wearing wearable technology and where they are wearing it.

- Why wearable technology is a maturing market and coming of age.

- Possible reasons why the adoption of wearable technology might be slowed down.

- Examples of current developments from activity trackers, smartwatches and smartglasses to e-textiles.

- Examples of wearable tech products developed in different industries including travel, fitness, wellness, healthcare, infotainment, industry and military, fashion, smartwatches, financial, gaming, childcare and pets.

- The breadth of opportunity afforded by wearable technology to brands including revenues, brand extension, storytelling and advertising.

- Case studies of how brands are currently using wearable technology to create brand ecosystems, including Nike, Japan Airways and Cadbury.

- Important considerations for designing wearable technology.

Above all else, the report discusses the formula for success in an increasingly wearable world. This is surely a valuable report for digital marketing, advertising and sales teams in the travel industry, to help understand and take advantage of this important and growing new technology.

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