Last week I attended a Wearables Design Jam organized by Ultan (@ultan) from the Oracle UX team (a future post is coming on the event) and since then I have been thinking about what makes a successful wearable device. The most successful devices in the marketplace seem to be the fitness trackers and I have had great benefit from my fitbit, not least of all the inspiration for walking meetings. A fitness tracker is not a new idea (I joke that a fitbit is just a $100 pedometer), but the wearable devices today make tracking your fitness so much easier. No need to keep diaries of your activities, everything is there for you in a dashboard with all sorts of interesting analytics, goal setting, alerts etc.
The GoPro has similarities, it is a small personal camcorder with only memory, no tape and no screen for viewing, similar to the Flip camera which Cisco bought and then killed and many other cameras. However it takes action videos really well, with very little effort and is pretty much indestructible so you can take it anywhere. They produce professional quality video and photos including time lapse videos, fast frame rates for smooth slow motion and have an ultra wide field of view so you rarely miss any action. You can also attach them to your body, bike and other helmets, cars and of course surfboards. My model (Hero 3+ Black edition) has WiFi so I can control it from my iPhone or iPad and grab content from it easily, although that does drain the battery fast.
If you haven’t already seen it, you must check out the Time Lapse video I took with the GoPro of the Team USA Americas Cup yacht being installed at Oracle HQ. This was around 9,000 photos taken over 50+ hours compressed into a 2 minute video. I have also strapped it to my car to capture a journey down the highway 1, strapped it to the outside of my car, strapped it to a remote control car, strapped it to myself and my kids in a swimming pool, to my Son’s bike and to my daughter’s wheeled shoes. Now I am trying to think of some enterprise applications of this amazing device, watch this space.
I was reading a post from my colleague John Cartan this morning about his experience with the the Narrative Clip which is a smaller device, intended to be used for life logging. It is worn all the time and captures a picture every 30 seconds. The experience did not seem to be great, but I think a GoPro, altho a little bigger would be much better for this purpose. I could imagine wearing it all day at a conference say, or in a series of meetings, brainstorming sessions etc. it would give a really good replay of events. I will probably try some of this in the coming weeks, just to see how interesting it is.