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Will Wearable Tech become a Trend?

Jazelle Habla, 33, would like to become a better multi-tasker while working as an accountant. Later this year, when Google Glass is released, she wants to try it out. The wearable device is just one of many other gadgets that will change the way people use technology. However, will it become a trend?

Google Glass Explorer Exchange 36287
Google Glass Explorer Exchange 36287 (Photo credit: tedeytan)

According to a poll done by Harris Interactive, many Americans are skeptical of wearable technology. The poll was conducted online from Sept. 18 – 24, 2013 and gathered results from 2,577 people.

According to the poll, 46 percent of people are at least a little interested in owning a watch or wristband type of wearable tech. Fifty-three percent are not at all interested.

Thirty-six percent of people are at least a little interested in a headset or glasses type of wearable tech. Sixty-three percent are not at all interested.

Marianne Reile, 30, certified nurse assistant at Right at Home, Chicago, said she is not surprised by those statistics.

“I especially agree with the stats for the headset because not a lot of people like having things on their face,” said Reile. “I certainly don’t, I don’t even like wearing earphones.”

fitbit and sony smart watch
fitbit and sony smart watch (Photo credit: Bekathwia)

Reile said she is about 70 percent interested in owning a Samsung Galaxy Gear smart watch, especially after discovering it can make phone calls.

Because wearable technology is new, Reile said most people won’t be familiar with them, but eventually, it will become trendy.

“People will eventually become addicted to them too because I’m that way with my computer, and my husband bought one for me five years ago,” said Reile, who didn’t have one before. “I also didn’t get a smartphone until three years ago even though they became popular before that.”

After looking at the poll, Susan Broniarczyk, Ph.D, professor of Marketing at the McCombs School of Business at the University of Texas at Austin, said people are not aware of the beneficial uses of wearable technology.

Broniarczyk said it is one of the underlying reasons why people are skeptical.

“To be successful, a new product, such as wearable tech, must demonstrate benefits that resonate with consumers and further that it can provide these benefits in a superior fashion to existing products such as smartphones,” said Broniarczyk.

“Honestly, at the moment, I’m not quite familiar with how wearable technology like Google Glass would work out,” said Habla. “But I will consider such items if they would be beneficial in my daily activities.”

As an accountant at American Home Care Express, a home health agency in Lincolnwood, Ill., Habla said her job would be easier and faster if she can verbally calculate numbers on Glass instead of punching them on her calculator.

Broniarczyk said that initial marketing should be targeted towards a subset of technology innovators and early adopters. These people would usually be more willing to try out a new product.

“Such early adopters are often opinion leaders who then may subsequently influence the general consumer public,” said Broniarczyk, whose research includes examining consumer behavior and decision-making. Her focus is on brand and product management, product recommendations and advice, and gift-giving.

The Glass Explorer Program was launched earlier, in 2013, for people who want to try out the product before its release. Anyone interested in testing out the device can sign up through Google’s web site.

Google Glass is voice activated, making the device convenient for those who use it. To show how it works and how it feels to use Glass, Google posted a video on YouTube. In the video, a voice command would be given such as telling Glass to take a picture or record a video. It even showed Glass as a useful tool for navigation while driving. A map will appear on the upper right hand side telling the driver where to make a turn.

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“I think Google Glass would be useful for my cousin,” said Reile.

Because her cousin is autistic, Reile said it would probably help her with some of her daily activities.

Another wearable technology device is the Samsung Galaxy Gear smart watch, which is compatible with Galaxy Note 3, S4, and S4 mini.

It’s a convenient wearable device because it notifies people when they receive an email and a phone call. A call can be received and made on the smart watch, as well. If a phone is misplaced, Galaxy Gear can locate it.

This is another device that Habla said she would like to have considering she is constantly on the move while at work. Besides the notifications, she said she finds it great that it can locate her phone because she sometimes forgets where she leaves it.

According to Reile, the Galaxy Gear would be perfect for her sister-in-law.

“She loses her things frequently, her phone being one of them, so this smart watch will be of great help to her,” said Reile.

The devices seem to be very helpful, but why are people still uninterested?

Wearable technology like Google Glass and Samsung Galaxy Gear are not cost friendly.

As of Jan. 25, 2014, the posted price on ebay for Google Glass Explorer Edition ranges from $820 – $4,500. For Galaxy Gear, the posted price ranges from about $100 – $450.

“If the benefits of the wearable technology surpass the cost of the items, as well as if it is more advantageous than what I currently have, then I would be interested even if it’s a little bit pricey,” said Habla.

Despite the uncertainty of its functionality and price, Habla said that wearable technology will become a trend due to our society’s lifestyle of always on the rush.

“We are a people who wants wear and go,” said Habla.

“These devices will be everywhere because our society is tech crazy, which is why people always change their phones whenever a new model comes out,” said Reile.

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