I’ve spent a fair amount of time as of late blogging about the importance of making wearables “worth it” for consumers. The idea of these items being both fashionable and functional, in my opinion, will be the only way this market continues its momentum. This past week some great examples of this level of thinking came to light.
I attended a wearables conference in Los Angeles where the speakers covered a broad range of subjects related to the future of this technology. While I would say the event had some rather strong attendance, it felt like an intimate group—not a bad thing for an emerging market by any means. What I mean by that is the wearable group seemed to be in that initial phase of building momentum, with much of the talk catered around the idea of how can we grow this market as a group.
During my time at this event I had some very positive conversations around the matter—one of which was with a company called Revolutionary Tracker. I sat down with cofounders Carrie Schwarz and Matt Kassin and the pair described to me the vision behind creating their smartwatch. While the market for smartwatches continues to breed new players, all of which are trying to one-up each other on the types of alerts and displays they can add to our wrists, I applaud the efforts of Schwarz and Kassin to develop a watch that is targeting a specific niche: positive family relationships.
Allow me to explain. The initial vision for the product was to develop a device that would appeal to children (it also is targeted at the elderly). The functionality centers on helping parents find a way to keep that peace of mind with their children during events like going to the amusement park (where they tend to get lost), or for simply making sure they have gotten home from school safely and securely.
This is certainly nothing new and we have seen watches and other devices targeted at children, but I think what Schwarz and Kassin have done to stand out is to focus on the concept of family first. They explained how the watch can be used as a way to simply keep in communication with the entire family through blasts out to social media or through alerts to say, for example, “tonight we are picking up Chinese for dinner, what would you like” or “please be sure to lock the door when you come home later.” In essence it makes this more than simply a device “for tracking” which makes is more appealing to those who will be wearing it—the kids.
Plus the two came off to me as being so genuine as to why they are in this market, that you cannot help but like what they are doing here.
The form factor is appealing to children too. The watch has that cool look and feel that I would have wanted to wear when I was younger, all with the option to customize it with some great icons and graphics that bring the personality of the child to the surface.
So we have checked both boxes with Revolutionary Tracker (fashion and function) already, but let me add one more useful application: tracking for disability. To me it is a nice coincidence that this company is based in New York. I recently wrote about the efforts being done by U.S. Senator Charles Schumer (from New York) calling for the DOJ (Dept. of Justice) to create and fund a program to provide voluntary GPS tracking devices for children who have Autism or other developmental disorders. I think this is a perfect match; here is a device I think has that “cool” factor for the child to wear, and that function that provides nice peace of mind to parents.
Schwarz and Kassin told me they have reached out to Schumer. I do hope they make the connection, as I believe this is precisely what Schumer is calling for and this could be a nice product for him to further his case on the matter.
Making wearables worth it is no easy task. For all the great devices designed around fashion and function, you have two or three that make me scratch my head. I think this one falls in the former category of the two. I encourage you to check it out. They also hinted at some big announcements coming in February. I do hope they build on that momentum and take part at our Connected World Conference, to get the message out to even more people. Good stories go viral all the time.