The Future of Entertainment series by iQ by Intel and PSFK Labs is highlighting the latest in entertainment innovation. Over the course of 10 weeks at iq.intel.com, we are showcasing new products, services and technologies, exploring the changing face of how we consume, share and create content and getting reactions from Intel experts.
As we wrap up the Future of Entertainment, we're ending with the forward-looking trend Wearable Interfaces, a much buzzed about topic that has the potential to radically change the current device ecosystem and wider entertainment landscape. Encompassing everything from heads-up displays to intuitive forms of control, wearables are poised to change people's relationship to their technology and their surroundings, and the way they consume and create content.
But with so much of the wearables marketplace in flux, it's unclear what device categories we can expect and the various form factors they'll take, not to mention how and if people will use them. To help us make sense of this coming revolution, we spoke with Cory Booth (pictured left), a Human Factors Engineer in Intel's User Experience Group about how we've arrived at the precipice of major change and what we can expect next. He tells us that the biggest challenge for hardware manufacturer's will be designing devices and experiences that seamlessly fit into the fabric of people's lives. Read on for more of Cory's insights.
Are wearables the next natural step in the mobile computing evolution? How have we gotten here?
I believe wearables represent a revolutionary opportunity; not just an evolution of mobile computing. While early instances of wearables simply seek to put features and functionality of a smart phone on your wrist or head, the future opportunity for wearables stretches well beyond the limitations of our current devices (and in some ways our current conception of technology).
As we experienced in the evolution from luggables to PCs, PCs to laptops, and laptops to smart devices, with each shift comes an opportunity to revolutionize the user experience through technical innovation, tools and channels for developers, new devices, and services to end users. Any location on the body is an opportunity to help augment people’s lives, creating a potential for unparalleled diversity in computing. This is a rich opportunity space for devices or services that people will find value in, or, eventually, a collection of devices that coordinate to provide even more value.
How will wearables change people's relationship with technology? How do they fit into the larger tech ecosystem?
As technologies get closer and closer to our bodies, they will become more personal to us. Some of the innovation will come in the form of devices that people know and love much like they do their smartphones today. Others will be integrated so seamlessly into the fabric of people’s lives (yes, and clothing) that the value people perceive will be in the services and the information that is both gathered and revealed to users when they most need it.
How might we, as Intel, shape a future where wearables, either as discrete devices, or working in concert as a collection of devices, keep people in the flow of their lives such that they don’t feel that they have to stop and interact with a device, OS, software or services? To me this is one of the most important opportunities for wearables and one that requires a deep understanding of people and the context of their lives. We need to answer this question in order to keep people in the flow of their lives and empower them to be their best selves.
What are the new experiences that people can expect from these devices and where is this tech headed?
That is the mystery of wearables and a question that is still filled with intrigue. The marketplace is in a state of flux with significant announcements weekly and even daily. What our research has shown is that people have very complicated and diverse relationships with what they currently wear and the addition of “compute” will increase that complexity and diversity. People imagine a future where worn devices enable them to stay in touch with those they care about most, help them achieve goals and self-reflect, allow for customization, assist in jobs or tasks, provide just in time information, and are sometimes more about style than functionality.
The question for the industry at large is how to build to this diverse future while maintaining some of the important qualities of things that are worn: style, fashion, brand, flexibility, sentimentality, and, in some cases, functionality. There is no question that technology will enable this future to happen. To name a few tech enablers: dramatic innovations in system power use, new forms of charging and energy harvesting, wireless communications, display technology, software and services, and enablers for novel user interaction like speech recognition, haptic feedback, and gesture; all will afford this new future to unfold.
How do wearable impact the entertainment landscape - both consumption and creation?
Wearables are already impacting entertainment as seen with Disney and the retrofit of Disney World such that park goers can enter the park, buy food and merchandise, get into hotel rooms, and access FastPass benefits via a wrist worn device. Disney’s innovation is just one example of how a wearable device can impact an entertainment experience.
I think as other companies continue to implement wearables for entertainment as well as in other industries such healthcare, sports & fitness and defense, the ability to create and consume may become far more bounded to the specific context of use. This is much different than how we think about create and consume on our current devices, which support such activities across a broad swath of contexts. From my perspective one of the most important distinctions of this market versus past evolutions or revolutions is that there will be many, many wearables for copious purposes; many we haven’t yet imagined!
Stay tuned to iQ by Intel and PSFK or subscribe to the Future of Entertainment series on Flipboard to stay on top of the latest content.