Brits are well known for their openness to embrace new technology, much to the delight of various tech enthusiasts. However, it seems that opinion is still very much divided when it comes to wearable technology; with only 25% of people currently believing that wearable tech can make any improvement to their day-to-day lives. (Survey of 2,000 people conducted by Hive on behalf of British Gas)
The Hive survey also showed that 56% of people are looking forward to a time of internet enabled home devices, however, there is still some way to go and many to convert before the British public are totally comfortable with the idea of such technology, with 1 in 10 believing that wearable tech might actually make life more difficult for them!
On the flipside to this, we do, of course, have 43% of people who think such technology will make life easier. There will always be contrasting views like this but for all the negativity the naysayers might release, there is little they can do to stop the progress of wearable technology into the market, especially with the government having recently unveiled their plans to invest millions of pounds into automatic vehicles and connected home devices.
When announcing the Budget, the Chancellor of the Exchequer detailed how funding of £100m had been set aside for the development of driverless cars, as well as £40 million for ‘Internet of Things’ research.
The Internet of Things is an important factor to consider in the current economic environment, for it has been predicted (source: Cisco) that over the course of the next 10 years, it will contribute £100bn to British start-ups.
But how do the British public really perceive such advances in wearable tech and the Internet of Things? Some believe Brits are showing their reserve because of the way items such as smartwatches have been ‘sold’ in the media, i.e. as fashionable, luxurious items, rather than as an everyday tool to aid everyday life.
This would indeed make sense, especially when you consider that the Apple smartwatch is retailing at £299, with a deluxe gold edition retailing at £13,500!! Not exactly what you might call affordable technology…not yet anyway.
Apple is, of course, not the only tech giant to join the wearable tech party; indeed Tag Heuer has recently announced it will be releasing a smartwatch onto the market, and that it will be powered by Google’s Android operating system.
Such ventures are not just limited to tech giants though. Will.i.am, music artist, entrepreneur and tech enthusiast has also revealed that he will be collaborating with Gucci to unveil a new smartband collection.
With all of the above (and others) starting to venture into the wearable tech market, it is surely only a matter of time before the British public warms up a bit more to the idea. Apple is very good at bringing people around, as the introduction of the iPod 14 years ago showed, so no doubt their input into wearable tech is likely to be instrumental in preparing British consumers for the wave of wearable tech that is coming.
All signs show that whilst there might be some hesitancy, consumers are not dead set against wearable tech. Price always plays a large part when new technology is introduced and as the market becomes more competitive and more players enter the field, there will ultimately be more choice for British consumers. This will open up the wearable tech market, and will go a long way towards ensuring the technology becomes part of everyday culture.