Design Matters: Industrial Design & Product Styling in Wearable Tech


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Wearable Tech Expo, New York City,
Jacob K. Javits Convention Center,
Thursday, July 24, 2014

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Design Matters: Industrial Design & Product Styling in Wearable Tech

  1. 1. ChrisGrayson Thursday, July 24, 2014, 4:00PM Jacob K.Javits Convention Center Presenter’s Notes Chris Grayson Design Matters: Industrial Design & Product Styling in Wearable Tech.
  2. 2. Presenter’s Notes Hi, I’m Chris Grayson, and I’m going to speak to you for a moment about … CEO chrisgrayson@ ChrisGrayson
  3. 3. Presenter’s Notes Industrial Design and … Industrial DESIGN
  4. 4. Presenter’s Notes Product Styling in smart glasses and head-worn display systems. Product Styling
  5. 5. Presenter’s Notes Many think design and styling only matter in the consumer space, so I’m going to start with an enterprise case study to dispel that thinking. Enterprise
  6. 6. Presenter’s Notes In the previous decade I made several investments in the early HMD space, among them was MicroVision, and when I say investor, I’m not speaking of institutional investment, rather my own stock portfolio. MicroVision was an early player in the AR HMD video eye-wear category, who originally developed HMDs for use by the US military. Disclosure: Past Investor (still maintain 1 share) Enterprise
  7. 7. Presenter’s Notes In an effort to bring their technology into the private sector, MicroVision created the Nomad, to be used by mechanics in the service centers of US Honda dealerships. It seemed an ideal use case — mechanics could do away with large clumsy manuals by accessing a hard-drive attached at the hip containing every manual to every Honda vehicle ever made, viewed on a transparent display in front of one eye, completely hands free, even while lying on one’s back. But the product was a flop. The mechanics refused to wear them. While it was not perfect and had other problems, if your user refuses to wear your device, that is an existential failure. 2006 Enterprise
  8. 8. Presenter’s Notes The product photo shown here tries best to conceal its flaw — all of the electronics are placed in a box that is then strapped to the user’s forehead, somewhat resembling a big rectangular rhino horn. The mechanic’s thought they looked ridiculous, tossed them in their lockers, and that was the end of the MicroVision Nomad. Design matters, product styling matters, even to auto-mechanics. Today MicroVision is no longer in the HMD space, but instead pivoted their display technology to pico-projectors where they are now a parts supplier to Sony. 2006 Presenter’s Notes continued Enterprise
  9. 9. Presenter’s Notes Now let’s look at another device design — Kopin, a company I have also invested in, in the past — is the maker of Golden-i, a product also aimed at the Enterprise, for similar industrial use cases. Golden-i is a well designed device that I consider the best-of-breed in the Industrial Enterprise category. Let’s compare the two … Disclosure: Past Investor. Enterprise
  10. 10. Presenter’s Notes The MicroVision Nomad obstructs the user’s face, with all of its electronics packed into a bulge protruding from the user’s forehead. Golden-i has all of its electronics wrapping around the back of the user’s head, leaving the face unobstructed except for a single arm that adjusts a glance-down display. The closer you are to the face, the more people care about styling and design. Is your device attached to the shoe lace? People don’t really care too much. On the wrist? They care more. On the head and face? People care a lot about how a device looks, even in Enterprise applications. Then Now Enterprise
  11. 11. Presenter’s Notes … and even more so in the Consumer space … CONSUMER
  12. 12. Presenter’s Notes … where Google Glass suffers from a severe image problem. Everyone in the wearable space needs to see Google Glass succeed — even if you’re a competitor in smart glasses. If Google Glass succeeds, it will be validation for the whole category. If they fail however, it will be seen as an indictment, and capital sources will dry up. Who is sick of seeing Robert Scobel in the shower? Consumer
  13. 13. Presenter’s Notes Head worn technology has suffered the abuse of poor design in the past and recovered (though I think this kid manages to pull this off better than Robert Scobel … poor Robert). Consumer
  14. 14. Presenter’s Notes Google has tried some of the same marketing tactics used by many in consumer electronics: Photograph your product being used and worn by an attractive woman, in the hopes that some of her qualities will transfer to your gadget, in the minds of consumers. Consumer
  15. 15. Presenter’s Notes To their credit, Google has done more than most anyone to connect with the fashion world, including their partnership with Diane Von Furstenberg that resulted in the beautiful frames shown here. But what’s wrong with this picture? Those frames are gorgeous, but the Google Glass device itself is exactly the same — they’ve just glommed Google Glass onto the side of an attractive pair of eye-wear. As an industry, if we want mass consumer adoption, we need to better integrate our technology into the design of the accessories. Consumer
  16. 16. Presenter’s Notes Let’s take a look and see who else is doing good industrial design and product styling in wearables, outside of eye-wear. Other good work?
  17. 17. Presenter’s Notes Withings, Motorola, FitBit and their partnership with Tory Burch. These are the companies to watch.
  18. 18. Presenter’s Notes Stepping back for a bigger picture view … to realize the full potential of the wearables category, the tech-sector and the fashion industry have to come together. There was another wearable-tech event held here in New York City just a few weeks ago. It was called Fashion Tech Forum — it was not entirely about wearables, it also included e-commerce, and other areas of tech relevant to fashion, but wearables was a major part of this year’s theme. Show of hands, did anyone here attend? Is there anyone here at Wearable Tech Expo from Fashion Tech Forum? [Editor’s note: No hands went up on either question.] Our industries both exist inside of walled gardens where never the twain shall meet. In order to realize the full potential of wearable tech, walls have to come down, and tech & fashion leaders need to sit at the same table. TECH + FASHION
  19. 19. Presenter’s Notes As we gather here, we are just footsteps away from the epicenter of the fashion industry. The New York City Garment District is West of Broadway between 34th & 40th Streets. We are meeting right in their backyard, yet they are not present. Did anyone invite them? Even here at Jacob Javits, there is another larger conference taking place in the North side of the building, you may have noticed it is a fashion industry expo. We’re all around each other, yet invisible to one another.
  20. 20. Presenter’s Notes I want to close with a quote from Albert Einstein who once said, “Not everything that matters can be measured, and not everything that can be measured matters.” I talk to many in our wearable tech community that believe their success will be defined by their one extra sensor that their competitor lacks, or that they’ll finally emerge from the pack when they release their newest algorithm. These things won’t matter at all unless users want to wear your device. Here is the test: Would a fashionable woman wear your device solely on the merits of its aesthetics alone, even if it contained no technology? Those who can answer yes to this question are the ones who will win. ChrisGrayson chrisgrayson@
  21. 21. Presenter’s Notes Thank you. ChrisGrayson chrisgrayson@ view these slides at Chris Grayson’s blog: