Arriving in time for the holiday shopping season, the stylish MICA (My Intelligent Communications Accessory) bracelet connects the wearer to text messages, Google and Facebook notifications, appointment reminders from TomTom and local business recommendations powered by Yelp, all via AT&T wireless data service.
Wearable technology has been steadily converging with the high-fashion landscape, most recently illustrated during Mercedes-Benz New York Fashion Week earlier this fall.
One of the innovative tech fashions to appear on the runway was MICA, the result of a partnership between fashion brand Opening Ceremony and Intel Corporation.
The result of this collaboration was first revealed at the Opening Ceremony Spring/Summer 2015 fashion show in September.
Designed by Opening Ceremony and engineered by Intel, MICA integrates luxury fashion with technology. It officially launched today, November 17, at an event in New York City.
“MICA captures Intel’s philosophy that technology should enhance jewelry in order to make wearable technology truly ‘wantable’ in addition to seamless and productive,” said Ayse Ildeniz, vice president and general manager for business development and strategy, New Devices Group at Intel Corporation.
New details reveal core capabilities of the device: MICA technology connects the wearer to text messages, Google and Facebook notifications and local business recommendations powered by Yelp and TomTom.
Notifications are received via vibration-based alerts and viewed on a sapphire touchscreen display through AT&T wireless data service.
Features include a curated VIP contact list and customizable quick replies, eliminating the need to search through a bottomless handbag or interrupt a meeting or event to address a mobile device.
“MICA acts as an extension of a customer’s smartphone, for those times when it’s not convenient to carry one with you,” said Chris Penrose, senior vice president, Internet of Things Solutions, AT&T.
Beyond functioning as a notification device, MICA plays the role of a personal concierge.
The bracelet offers reminders along with time-to-go (TTG) technology. This feature, powered by TomTom and Intel, notifies the user when it’s time to leave an event in anticipation of the next appointment based on location.
MICA also provides wearers with access to Yelp to search and find local restaurants and shops, as well as read reviews.
In addition to this technology, the design of the bracelet is worthy of any holiday shopping wish list.
The unique design is composed of precious gems and Ayers snakeskin and comes with customizable digital wallpaper displays, all designed by Opening Ceremony.
Humberto Leon, co-founder and creative director of Opening Ceremony, said, “Today’s modern woman maintains selectivity and exclusivity when choosing accessories, and MICA embodies a beautifully unique statement piece.”
The response to the intelligent bracelet was as Leon had intended at the private launch event for MICA, held at Dia in New York City as a chance for the media and influencers to have an exclusive first look.
The event featured lifestyle role models who highlighted how they wore MICA, creating their own personalized experiences with the device. From a fitness guru to a mometrprenuer, each woman had her own favorite use case for wearing MICA. One of these women was Nicole Winhoffer, world-renowned fitness expert with celebrity clients including Madonna, Stella McCartney, Rachel Weisz and more.
“My favorite part is that it alerts me to my meetings,” Winhoffer said. “During the event, Eva Chen from Lucky was talking and my wrist vibrated telling me that I had a meeting to go to in one hour.”
Entrepreneur, mother and fashionable New Yorker Jenné Lombardo leads a busy life as the founder of strategic branding and marketing firm The Terminal Presents. Lombardo was excited about two of MICA’s core features: access to Yelp for searching and reading reviews of local restaurants and shops, as well as the discreet notification of messages through vibrations.
“The ‘near me’ function is going to be the most used for me. Especially being in New York where you’re always walking around, it’s nice to know where to go.”
To keep tabs on her personal life while simultaneously running her business, Lombardo talked about how she plans on keeping MICA for mostly personal use, “I hate being rude in meetings. This will be for my nanny and my boyfriend. Maybe my business partner.”
MICA was unanimously seen as a beautiful piece of jewelry first…with technology inside. Fashion-forward Lombardo said, “I would wear this every day, with jeans and a t-shirt or dressed up.”
This was the intention of Opening Ceremony when addressing the device’s design. During the panel portion of the event, Leon spoke of his approach to designing MICA.
“First and foremost we wanted you to be attracted to the way it looks,” he said. “We looked at designing it the way you would design fine jewelry. We used precious stones and really wanted it to feel precious.”
In addition to form, function was also heavily considered throughout the design process.
“The important thing was to make it very straightforward. We didn’t want an instruction manual that you wouldn’t read anyways,” said Carol Lim of Opening Ceremony.
The event panel consisted of Barneys New York’s fashion director Tomoko Ogura; Ayse Ildeniz, vice president and general manager for business development and strategy of Intel’s New Devices Group; Lucky’s Eva Chen, who was moderator; and Opening Ceremony co-founders Humberto Leon and Carol Lim.
The panelists were all quick to reinforce that this was truly a collaboration of technology and fashion between Intel and Opening Ceremony from day one.
Looking towards the future of their partnership and the wearable technology sector overall, Ildeniz said, “Wearables is still in its infancy. This is the step beyond the sports industry which is the modus operandi of wearables today.”
Lim said, “There is a continual push from the fashion industry for tech to be further integrated into clothing and what you’re carrying.”
Leon added that their approach to fashionable technology would continue to originate from a place of “function answered and style considered.”
Group shot photo credit: Billy Farrell Agency and James Blanco for openingceremony.us. Panel photo credit: George Chinsee for WWD.com.