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The frictionless society (or why wearable matters)

It seems like Apple will launch the iWatch on September 9 (today eheh). Big deal or not ? To this point wearable have been OK. Some brings value other just don't. Wearables will be a much more fragmented market than mobile, because you can do a lot of variation of wearables for different use. I think that the Apple iWatch will be the beginning of a new era: the frictionless society.

What's a frictionless society ?

A frictionless society is a society where the real world is merged with the hardware and software world. With the mobile phone we were one step closer to this reality. But taking your phone out of your pocket, unlocking with your passcode, find the app, open the app... repeat the process. It's still a lot of friction and you still see the difference between real and software world. Wearables are the key to the contextual world because they are merged with your body. By wearing it on your body, you remove the first friction point. You could have a certain biometric passcode that will only work with one person, so you don't need to enter a passcode. So you just removed the 2 biggest friction point of using a smartphone.

The push power

If I was a mobile app developer I would be pretty worried by this chart:

Daily use of apps Daily Use of Apps - Via Business Insider

It's hard to have a business and to get revenue if people don't use your app. One way to get around this is to offer your user relevant usage or information via push by leveraging the context around them. Thus, you could generate more revenue even if users don't use your app a lot.

But what else ?

As Robert Scoble says in the Age of Context books, wearable brings more self-awareness about yourself and about the world around you. The benefits for health are HUGE if company can bring more relevance and recommendation to their algos. Knowing about your life habits, it could propose a list of things to eat this week or a new set of exercises to do. You will also be able to pay via your wearable, be via NFC/bluetooth at the retail store or directly via the Watch. That's where company are heading with Twitter real-time commerce announced today .

A long road from here

The iWatch will only be the first significant step in the wearables market. I might be wrong, but I think it will take longer to see user acceptance of wearables vs smartphones. In the smartphone you have a lot of things that people need. Communication, Information, Discovery, Browsing, Entertainment. Company will need to focus on wearables as a lifestyle device that will upgrade people life through contextual recommendation. But basically, it's an extension of the human body. It's already an interesting field and we have not seen anything yet. Innovation in wearable will last longer than in smartphones.

The ultimate contextual machine

The ultimate contextual machine, the ultimate interface is the power of the mind: the brain. You look a little bit like a jerk taping on the side of your Google Glasses and using a smartphone is still not a natural position. Talking to your watch looks a little bit like a jerk also. If we can control and leverage the power of the brain, it could change a lot of thing. I'm really pumped by device like the Muse headband and I will try to hack it on 26-28 September at WearHacks a wearables hackaton in Montreal. I want to see if you can analyze brain state and propose, push recommendation to the user. Like you're tired, you enter your bedroom, the device notice it via a Beacon in your room and then the device send data to Spotify so it can start playing relaxing music. I also want to see if you're able to control your mind and, for example, call a Uber via your mind. EGG device are still big, but it'll get interesting when they merge with Google Glasses or be some standalone smart tattoos.

So in the end why it matters

It matters because wearables create a sense of awareness toward your own body, toward your physical and mental health and toward who you are. It matters because wearables merge the hardware-software world with the real world, so that you can still live in the present moment. Not deconnecting with the real world while you are with you're friends and you have to look at your smartphone. Not deconnecting you from the experience when you try to take a picture or filming a video. Finally, maybe it will help you slow down a little bit and look at the world around you, not the algorithmic world that you have on your cellphone. Wearable is the merge of technology with human, a technology that will upgrade is life and ironically, make him more human.


Age of Context

Pretty much all the inspiration for this article come from following Robert Scoble and Julien Blien on Facebook