1000 Heads

Helping brands’ stories travel further and faster
  • Mail
  • Twitter
  • Flickr
  • foursquare
  • linkedIn
  • instagram

Our Blog
  • RSS

The sun has now set on another SXSW festival, where wearable computing has been the focus of so much attention. Of course, there was the obligatory Google Glass coverage as well as discussions of Nike’s Fuelband and the forthcoming smartwatches from Samsung and Apple.

But beyond the novelty, gadgetry, and the almost universal fear about privacy invasion and copyright violation, what are the true benefits of wearables and how might they help social projects?

Samsung Galaxy Gear vs Pebble. Image: Janitors

It’s much deeper than “because they’re always accessible”.  Our mobile phones are used when we are on the move; wearables differ when they are used as part of a data transmission system. When a wearable device transmits information to a mobile unit, it becomes part of a data ecosystem.  In this use case, the benefit of wearables is as much to collect information, as for the user to capture it.

 

Not just watches

Some of the most interesting use cases for wearables lie in medical research and urban planning, where devices are used to capture images in the real world, or even inside the body, or they are rigged to record footfall or activity around a city or even a retail outlet.  These examples of wearables are designed to assist in better understanding body functions, interaction design and complex system problems like urban planning.

While it may seem a long way from a social project, these kinds of wearable technologies can be profoundly valuable to both the commercial and non-profit sector.

Imagine a scenario where movement capture and bodily responses can be recorded to create truly immersive interactive experiences for a brand. The technology already exists.

Here in Australia, the subscription TV network, Foxtel, has released a wearable tech campaign where fans get to ‘feel’ the impact of tackles, heartbeat and the muscle movement in kicking a goal.  Players movements, heartbeat and so on are captured by a transmitter shirt, and then an app on phones is used to send the same signals to receiver shirts, available to subscribers of the network.

This kind of immersive experience is considered to be a value addition to the subscription television experience – like being in the game.

Now imagine another scenario where the work of engineers or construction workers was recorded and then transmitted in wearable technologies as part of training to avoid workplace accidents, or to test new building tools and materials.  Again, the technology is already in production, with researchers at Virginia Tech considering a range of uses for wearable sensors to assist with quality control and workplace safety.

The same technology can also be used for a whole raft of purposes, including solving traffic problems, improving customer experiences in retail environments, and monitoring health status.

James B.Forsyth, a Ph.D candidate in computer engineering, places a wearable computing system on a helmet to protect construction works from carbon monoxide poisoning. Image: Virginia Tech

 

How can wearables be social?

As we know, recommendations from friends are always the most influential factors in adoption or purchase of a product or service.  And we share information about brands, products and services, partly because we want to influence others, or define ourselves in comparison with others.

Wearable technologies, whether they are tracking health, movement or interactions can help us to share our experiences of products and services in a much deeper, more compelling manner.  And where wearable data can be shared on social channels, we can more effectively define our ‘performance’ – our tribal behaviours, interactions and efforts – within our own social circles.

Wearables are experience and data devices that generate content that is thus eminently shareable, because it enables us to express our very proximity to one another – proximity in terms of geography, life experiences, passions and preferences.  And this proximity is the key to the success of word of mouth: we are social animals and we identify ourselves by our place in our tribes.  So we are more likely to trust the advice and choices of people who are ‘near us’; proximate, in our tribes.

As such, wearables represent the most significant boost to word of mouth marketing since electronic social media itself.

Of course, there will always be technologies that are used for novelty and frivolity – just because we can.  But for social projects, wearables represent a way of tracking activities that may involve sharing updates, but their true value lies in influencing behaviour.  And that’s powerful stuff.

 

When I tell people that I work for a word of mouth agency, it doesn’t take long before they say something like this:

“But don’t people only talk about brands when they want to complain?”

The myth that negative word of mouth is more prevalent – and more persuasive –  than positive word of mouth dies hard.…

Read more...

Stay ahead: Creativ and How.Do

by Chloe Belloin on 25 March 2014

Creativity is at the heart of what we do at 1000heads, and we are always on the look-out for cutting-edge initiatives to fuel our inspiration. This week, we took a close look at two innovative platforms set to become the new go-to places to share creative ideas.…

Read more...

TED takes over section on Facebook Pages app

Marking the first time since its launch that Facebook’s Pages application has worked with a partner, the entire Ideas section has been devoted to content based on the 2014 TED conference taking place in Vancouver, which started this past Monday.…

Read more...

Inspiration: Let's get personal

by Hermione Wright on 20 March 2014

Here’s the conundrum; you have one billboard, two audiences, and two entirely different stories to tell. It’s a challenge in itself to use one small space to spread two distinct messages without alienating both groups.

However, the ANAR Foundation, a Spanish child-advocacy organisation, showed that with a little imagination and a lot of thinking outside the box, it’s more than possible.…

Read more...

Stay ahead: Cameo and Qwiki

by Jessica Collings on 18 March 2014

The ability to create responsive, real time content has become a must for social brands. Whether you’re covering an event or reacting quickly to news, instant content creation can make the most of hot topics to increase your social reach.

But consumers also expect quality – quick content done well – and this can be hard to achieve.…

Read more...

Facebook announces return of F8 conference

Last Saturday, Facebook announced the return of the F8 developers conference, after an absence of three years. A technical-focused one day conference, the event will cover more information relevant to developers with a likely focus on mobile app development, as opposed to large consumer product reveals, the focus of the event in the past.…

Read more...

Point of view: Social media demands strong branding

by Molly Flatt on 14 March 2014

Hands up if you hate the term ‘brand’. Yep. I thought so. The word originally comes from the Old Norse ‘brandr’ – the practice of stamping hot metal symbols on livestock – and the etymological whiff of brutality still lingers. Brands stink of globalized uniformity, of slick corporate coercion cloaked in a shiny logo and an uplifting tagline.…

Read more...

Inspiration: Reactive advertising

by Harry OGrady on 13 March 2014

A wonderfully simple yet brilliant use of technology is not something you see a lot of nowadays. So many companies push to use the newest forms of technology to help promote a brand, but it’s not always the tech most suitable for that campaign.…

Read more...