Mother, bark, and spit are just three of 23 words that were first spoken by human beings some 15,000 years ago. These three words marked the beginning of verbal communication. In no time, communication evolved, and metamorphised from sending smoke signals, to letters on pigeons and trunk calls. Fast forward to 2022, humans are contemplating the need and the impact of technologies such as the Internet of Things (IoT), Machine Learning (ML), Artificial Intelligence (AI), 5G and Metaverse.
The consumer technology industry is undergoing a historic transformation. According to a survey conducted by Deloitte in 2021, the pandemic reinforced the usage of consumer electronic products, including smartphones, wearables, TVs, laptops, gaming consoles, etc. This drives consumers towards a digital lifestyle and seamless demand concerning personalised products and services.
Additionally, the households became more tech-savvy with higher penetration rates of internet, knowledge, and affordable gadgets. This also led to adoption of smart wearables that helped ease the everyday life of people. From answering calls while driving to staying updated on work/college notifications, smart wearables became the trendiest fashion and functionality statement.
These palm sized gadgets have taken the world by storm from health freaks using smartwatches to optimise their workouts, gamers using neckband earphones/ TWS to enhance mobile phone gaming experience and fashionistas pairing earbuds and smartwatches with their outfit. A study by Cognizant Solutions stated that these devices are generally not only perceived as “technology” but also as “fashion” and are therefore giving rise to the concept of “fashionology.”
Considering the change in which consumers have started to interact with smart wearables, it has become necessary for brands to be inspired by the current movements in fashion, art, and music, the products need to be extremely design centric. Followed by a focus on aesthetics, user friendly features and heavy attention to details.
A crucial point to note here is the pricing of products. The smart wearables market is a growing industry with new brands entering and creating a niche for themselves. To ensure customer retention, brands need to ensure dynamic pricing that is affordable, as well as competitive.
Today, the millennials and GenZ have changed the ways the market operates. They seek the latest and premium features at a price point that does not burn a hole in their pockets, especially for those buying a smartwatch or earbuds from their monthly pocket money. Although, what’s critical is that brands understand that they cannot simply bring down the price of the products by cutting down on quality. The pricing of the product should be a balance between power packed features and specs and product innovation.
Now, what is even more interesting to note is that regular wrist watch wearers are slowly shifting towards smartwatches. This is not only true for customers but brands as well. The ever-flourishing wrist watch brands have realised the opportunity the smartwatches market holds and are now grasping the concept of evolving technology to cater to their customers.
Well, it is only fair that we delve into the hearables segment. Have you seen anyone today without a pair of TWS or earbuds plugged in? As far as I am concerned, today I see everyone plugged in either vibing to their favourite music or attending calls while furiously typing on their laptops to take down points.
The audio wearables industry has witnessed untethered growth the last two years, with consumers recognising the need to attend calls hands free and without getting tangled in wires. This was accompanied by the need to block background noise, minimise disturbance, and adjustable audio settings.
Be it a TWS or earbuds, a key ask for customers is the big battery life, fast charging capabilities, and ANC. Therefore, it becomes necessary for brands to tend to this demand and work towards differentiated solutions.
This brings me to another important discussion point, customer awareness. With the smart wearables market growing steadily and attracting customers across age groups, the most involved being the youngsters of the country. The millennials and Gen Z make up most of the population of India which makes them the most aware and difficult set of customers to please. The products and services of the brand should be relatable, effortless, useful as well as aesthetically pleasing.
The changing trends show that a significant driver of the smart wearables category is the younger population not because they are the biggest market today, but since they are a genuine source of knowledge, feedback, and suggestions for any brand. In this incredibly dynamic market, the brands need to explore the universe of the youngsters and provide irresistible solutions that are also easy on the pockets.
So next time when you are on the lookout for a gadget, be sure to consult a youngster because you’ll be amazed at the industry and product knowledge they possess to make the right purchasing decision at the right time. Thereby even making developers put on their thinking hats to offer new and innovative products.
While smartwatches and TWS/ earbuds are the latest trends, the future holds something even more interesting – normalising use of smart gadgets like smart glass, clothing, or jewellery. Imagine a day when your Invisalign could indicate your body’s need of water, or a ring reminding you that you have been typing for too long and need to rest your fingers and arms. This is the future of smart wearables; this is not near but not far either. Although the segment is still in its nascent stage, the shift to these smart gadgets will be seamless.
In conclusion, the wearables market is growing at a faster pace than expected resulting in innovative products and services, every day. It is only right to say that the future of technologies is here, and the next step would be the amalgamation of wearables with IoT to drive efficiency and taking smart wearables to the next level. We witnessed the demand for smartwatches and TWS shoot up to create a work life balance and monitor their day. Brands would eventually see a surge in demand for gadgets like same clothing, glasses, helmets etc., to make their day to day routine more harmonious.
The author is the CEO at Dizo India.
Disclaimer: The opinions expressed within this article are the personal opinions of the author. Gadgets 360 is not responsible for the accuracy, completeness, suitability, or validity of any information on this article. All information is provided on an as-is basis. The information, facts or opinions appearing in the article do not reflect the views of Gadgets 360 and Gadgets 360 does not assume any responsibility or liability for the same.
Wearable Technology Can Change Autistic People’s Lives – if They’re Involved in Designing It
Many autistic people experience difficulties in expressing their emotions. This can result in increased anxiety, depression, anger and physical health problems. Research shows autistic adults are significantly more likely to experience depression and anxiety than their peers.
Imagine a future, where technology could help people regulate their emotions and alert them to sensory overload before they became overwhelmed.
An increasing number of technological solutions, that aim to help people regulate their emotions are being developed for autistic people. And some autistic people are adapting technology such as digital heart rate monitors to try and track their stress levels.
Many studies have explored autistic people’s use of wearable technology, such as smartwatches, virtual reality (VR) or brain-computer interfaces (BCI) to regulate their emotions.
BCIs are a direct communication pathway between the brain’s electrical activity and an external device, commonly a computer or robotic limb.
Speaking to the community
But before our study, no one asked the autistic community for their views on how useful the technology is.
Poor usability is a longstanding problem for autistic users of this technology because developers lack of awareness of their needs.
A recent study found only 10 per cent of wearable technologies for autistic people addressed their needs and 90 per cent viewed autistic traits as shortcomings that need correcting.
Our recent study explored the autistic community’s thoughts on any technology they had previously used to help them regulate their emotions and their views on what they need from technology.
Thirty-four autistic individuals and their allies (family, health and social care professionals and college staff) took part in focus groups.
We presented information on how emotional regulation technology could be used. For example, smartwatches that detect physiological stress signals and prompt users to start coping techniques.
We found the autistic community was keen to use technology to help regulate their emotions but it often costs too much, was difficult to use without training and wasn’t well adapted to their needs.
Our focus group results showed wearable technologies could be uniquely beneficial to autistic people, if they are involved in the design process.
Life with autism
One participant shared how their daughter deals with emotional challenges: “She looks perfectly fine and she’s behaving perfectly fine. Except she’s not. She hides it so well, the anxiety and everything that – we haven’t got a clue! Sometimes the prodding can lead to a big explosion.” Meanwhile, care staff spoke about how important it was to understand how autistic people are feeling: “You want to get in before the behaviour starts. Before it escalates. We could go in before to offer reassurance, a distraction. For other people it’s withdrawal. give them their own space.” Another care worker said: “We know there might be a pattern but we just can’t see it.” Participants told us technology could make all the difference. A relative of an autistic person said: “I’d like something … that he can self regulate, tell people how he’s feeling. Something that’s an app that somehow connects with a colour, so he can pick a picture that says how he’s feeling and people know without it being a big song and dance.” Some autistic participants felt there is a shortfall of support for those with higher IQ.
One told us: “You feel like you kind of walk between the two worlds almost. You’re not quite severe. So you’re not at that point on the spectrum where you need a lot of support that you’d get if you were.” Help me, don’t fix me Most research has been based on out-of-date theories about autism, such as the idea it is a medical illness that can be cured or treated.
Recent breakthroughs in the neuro-diversity movement triggered a call for autism research to focus on empowering autistic people and their unique communication styles instead of trying to “fix” them.
Autistic participants agreed technological designs should promote independence, rather than try to mask autism.
Many participants were reluctant to use technology due to a lack of confidence in their ability to use it, especially within community care settings. Other barriers included cost or lack of awareness about existing technology.
Our study results emphasised the importance of strategies that take an individual’s life goals into consideration.
Although a lot of money is spent on developing new technologies, both researchers and healthcare organisations often fail to consider how it will be implemented in practice.
As one autistic person, said: “If you’re going to make something for someone ask them what they want. Don’t just spit out something and go here’s what I made. The amount of papers where people claimed to have made something for learning disabilities. Have you ever had it tested? Have you ever used it with anyone?” Technology companies must create their products alongside the autistic community. And products should aim to adapt to the environment according to individual needs, rather than trying to change the person.
Autism is simply a different way of seeing the world. Not only would this new approach help develop useful technology-based support strategies, it would help to create more inclusive environments for everyone.
Fitbit to Discontinue Support for Music Transfer From Computers This Fall
Fitbit is putting an end to Fitbit Connect app, soon leaving the users unable to transfer music from their computer to a Fitbit device. The Fitbit owners will soon lose the company’s service to transfer music files to their Fitbit device.
In their statement on the Help page, Fitbit stated that they are discontinuing their Fitbit Connect app on October 13. However, the company has also given two options to users to download music to their devices. “You can continue to play personal music stored on your watch and transfer music to your watch with the Deezer app and Pandora app,” the statement read.
In the FAQs related to the discontinuation of the Fitbit Connect app, the company has elaborated that users can undertake a 90-day trial of Deezer or Pandora before subscribing to their paid services for downloading music to their Fitbit devices in the future.
Meanwhile, Fitbit users in the US can download the Pandora app to listen to music. The feature is supported in the Fitbit Ionic, Fitbit Sense, and Fitbit Versa series (except Fitbit Versa Lite Edition). To download music from the app, one will need a paid subscription and a working Wi-Fi connection.
Fitbit Connect is a companion app for Mac and Windows computers that lets you sync fitness data between devices and transfer music to legacy Fitbit devices. The phasing out of the software on desktop is also evident from the fact that the company no longer recommends Fitbit Connect on its setup page.
LG Tone Free T90, T60 With 9 Hours of Battery Life, ANC Unveiled: All Details
LG Tone Free earbuds 2022 lineup has been unveiled along with some specifications by the South Korean company. The lineup includes Tone Free T90, T60, TF7, and TF8. The true wireless stereo (TWS) earbuds are going to be rolled out starting late-August, according to LG Electronics. The Tone Free T90 TWS earbuds are this year’s flagship earphones from the company, and they feature up to 9 hours of battery life with Active Noise Cancellation (ANC) off and a IPX4 rating for water and sweat resistance.
The South Korean tech giant, LG Electronics, has not revealed the prices for any of the above mentioned four TWS earbuds so far. Although the company is yet to reveal a definite launch timeline, it has announced that it will start rolling out the TWS earbuds in major markets globally in late-August. As previously mentioned, the company revealed some specifications of the LG Tone Free T90, T60, TF7, and TF8 earbuds.
LG Tone Free T90, T60, TF7, TF8 specifications
According to the company, the LG Tone Free T90 will be 2022’s flagship TWS earbuds offering from LG Electronics. It features a new internal structure with larger dynamic driver to help the earphones generate deeper and more satisfying bass, according to LG Electronics. The Tone Free T90 uses graphene, a material that is said to reduce vibrations. The earbuds also use Meridian Headphone Spatial Processing (HSP). The technology is said to enable the Tone Free T90 to offer a consistent tonal balance at a given volume.
LG Tone Free T90 TWS earbuds also feature Dolby Atmos with support for Dolby Head Tracking technology across all content. The company claims that the Tone Free T90 earbuds are the first wireless earbuds to feature an audio virtualiser designed by Dolby. They also support the Snapdragon Sound Technology Suite 1. It is said to offer 24-bit/96kHz resolution audio. The ANC technology on the Tone Free T90 gets the Double Step ANC Algorithm and Real Time ANC Optimiser. The Tone Free T90 feature a three mic + VPU setup. The eabuds support wireless charging. Both, Tone Free T90 and T60, feature IPX4 rating for water resistance.
The design of the upcoming earbuds’ has been created by LG Electronics in collaboration with POSTECH Ergonomic Design Technology Lab. The four TWS earbuds are said to be smaller and lighter in weight. The company said that the “Performance Fit” ensures the right positioning of the earbuds inside wearer’s ears. LG Tone Free T90 and T60 get the UVnano charging case, which offer a wider coverage by sterilising all parts of the ear gels. They also sport the Plug and Wireless feature that is said to enable the charging case to also work as a Bluetooth transmitter. The package will include a USB Type-C and an auxiliary cable as well.
LG Tone Free T90 and T60 are claimed to offer up to 9 hours of battery life with the ANC off. The charging cases of the two are claimed to come with up to 20 hours of battery life with ANC off. The quick charge feature on the Tone Free T90 and T60 TWS earbuds enables them to be completely charged after about an hour in the UVnano charging case.
Meanwhile, LG Tone Free Fit TF7 and TF8 feature a three-microphone setup. They also get the Median Sound technology and ANC. Both these earbuds models will also get UVnano charging cases. The earbuds are said to be designed for active lifestyles, and hence, they feature the SwivelGrip technology.
The Tone Free Fit earbuds also support fast charging. The Tone Free Fit TF8 and TF7 are claimed to offer up to 10 hours of battery life with ANC off, and the charging cases are said to come with up to 20 hours of battery life with ANC off. Both the TWS earbuds models from LG Electronics get a IP67 rating for dust and water resistance. The Tone Free Fit TF8 TWS earbuds also feature Plug and Wireless technology.
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