Wearable technology and the balance between practicality and novelty

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Wearable devices tend to go from one extreme to another when it comes to entertainment and practicality

As wearable devices become more common, the question of their practicality is beginning to become more urgent. The vast majority of these devices are being designed with entertainment in mind, meaning that they are more novelty than anything else. A scant few, however, serve a practical purpose, such as keeping track of health information or serving as productivity boosting tools. The real question is whether novelty or practicality will help wearable technology find success.

Augmented reality glasses are, perhaps, one of the most apt examples of wearable technology walking the knife’s edge separating novelty from practicality. At once, these devices are both powerful entertainment tools and highly practical as they can be used to boost productivity and keep a user’s focus honed on the task at hand. Augmented reality has been used by surgeons and other medical professionals to conduct their work, but the technology has also been used to turn the physical world into a digital playground.

smartwatch wearable technologySmart watches are somewhat more straightforward as they have very limited features to begin with. The majority of these devices are not meant for grandiose entertainment purposes, but social ones. Smart watches are becoming popular social networking tools that allow people to keep in constant connection in the same ways smartphones do. These devices do, however, have the ability to keep track of health information and are becoming quite popular for this purpose specifically. Some of these devices are designed solely for the purpose of keeping track of exercises and monitoring heart rate.

The value of wearable technology may not lie in extremes of entertainment and practicality, but somewhere in the middle. For several years now, smartphones have managed to strike a balance between practicality and novelty that has made them the most widely used electronic devices in the world. They provide consumers with social networking features and access to applications that are designed to improve productivity. Smartphones are also becoming prominent commerce platforms, adding momentum to the continued evolution of economics. If wearable devices can find a way to attain the same sort of balance that smartphones have managed to establish, rather than focusing on practicality or novelty exclusively, they may be able to find the success they deserve.

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