Wearable Tech and the Future of Content

As brands of all stripes become content publishing companies, they’ve adapted to the changing tech landscape by using responsive design for smartphones, micro blogging content for social feeds, tablet versions of their magazines and a host of other considerations.

What’s the next thing for these brand publishers to understand? Wearable technology and the impact it will have on content, says Mark Brill of The River Group in the UK.

And one of the key points to realize about wearable computing tech, according to Brill, is its market fragmentation.

“Unlike the smartphone, which is virtually ubiquitous, we will choose our wearable devices based on our individual need, personal preference and budget,” referring to smart watches, fitness bands, Google Glass and other formats that differ wildly in screen size and delivery.

“Inevitably, we will see considerably more device fragmentation amongst users. That presents a challenge for content, where we will see a shift from omni-channel experiences to a multi-channel approach to meet the needs of many different devices,” Brill continues.

“I’ve spent some time playing with Google Glass and it’s an interesting experience,” Brill explains. “On the one hand, the augmented reality element is very immersive and engaging. The content really feels as if it’s floating in front of your face. On the other hand, it also feels a bit like the early days of mobile content. Websites, for example, work best when they are simple and stripped down. There’s no ‘pinch to zoom’ so content may need to take an old mobile ‘running on rails’ approach.

“Similarly, my experience of the Samsung Galaxy Gear smartwatch was that the tiny screen was only useful for notifications, and viewing websites on it was very difficult. The Pebble has a monochrome screen, which is great for reading text but of little use for richer visuals.”

This means that the content itself, not just the format, must be created with the end delivery device in mind. And this is going to take some talent.

“Whatever the concept, communicating in the wearable world will require skilled writers and content editors who understand how to deliver the right message in consideration of the opportunities and limitations of each platform.”

“The journalistic skills to create, edit and curate content will be fundamental to delivering the right engagement in a wearable world.  Brands will need to engage with skilled digital content producers who understand how to create concepts and messages that bring to life the brand in these new contexts.”