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2014-06-27    来源:fortunechina    【      美国外教 在线口语培训


As early as 2008, wearable technology—which can range in anything from measuring your heart rate to curating music based on your mood—has been touted as the next big moment in consumer electronics.

In the wake of the Fitbit and Google’s GOOG 0.26% Glass, a flurry of companies has flooded the market with iterations of sensor-laden armbands, apparel, and eyewear. It’s a buzzy category, but early adopters seem to be waiting for a moment when they are no longerthat guy. (You know. The “Glasshole.”)
紧随Fitbit和谷歌眼镜(Google Glass)之后,许多公司开始蜂拥进入这一市场,带来了许多装有感应器的臂章、服饰以及眼镜。这个领域现在炙手可热,但最早使用这些设备的人们似乎都在等待那个时刻,让他们不再显得特立独行。(你知道的,谷歌眼镜的粉丝们现在有了个专门的贬义称呼“Glasshole”。)

But that moment, try as Google might, has yet to come. Some reports have named 2014 as the year when wearable devices will hit the mainstream, but a newer study from L2, a digital research firm, confirms what many have been quietly fighting for: wearables are still not socially acceptable, creating a significant hurdle to further sales.

According to the study, 75% of consumers are aware of wearable technology (whether as futuristic fashion or new-age tech tool), but only 9% actually have any interest in wearing it. A meager 2% admitted to owning a wearable tech device, most of which consist of fitness trackers and smart watches, according to the study.

Wearables typically fall into three categories: complex devices such as fitness trackers; smart accessories such as smart watches, defined by their ability to run third-party applications; and fully autonomous smart wearables that connect directly to the Internet, such as Google’s Glass headset.

Estimates vary, but the research firm IDC projects that wearable tech will exceed 19 million units this year—more than triple last year’s sales—and will soar to 111.9 million units by 2018. Credit Suisse values the industry at somewhere between $30 billion and $50 billion in the next two to four years. But before that happens, the nascent market has that pesky wouldn’t-be-caught-dead-wearing-it hurdle to clear.
人们对于可穿戴设备销量的估计各不相同。研究公司IDC认为,这类设备今年的销量将超过1,900万件量,达到去年的三倍以上。到2018年,它的销量将会达到1.119亿件。瑞士信贷(Credit Suisse)预计,在接下来的2-4年中,这个行业的价值将会高达300亿至500亿美元。不过,在这一切实现之前,这个方兴未艾的市场需要摆脱人们对于“穿戴这种设备就是出丑”的成见。

The June announcement of collaboration between Google and fashion designer Diane von Furstenberg to create a new line of Google Glass underscored Silicon Valley’s current strategy to enlist the fashion elite to sanction wearables as de rigueur.

The line of prescriptive frames and sunglasses, named “DVF | Made for Glass,” costs upwards of $1,600. Google has already partnered with Luxottica, the eyewear conglomerate behind Ray-Ban and several high-fashion eyewear offerings such as Prada. It also hired fashion executive Ivy Ross, most recently the chief marketing officer of Art.com, to lead its Glass team.

The company is hardly alone in its efforts to woo talent of a different sort. Earlier this year Intel announced a collaboration with the Council of Fashion Designers of America, or CFDA, kicking off a partnership with the high-concept retailer Opening Ceremony to design its smart bracelet. Tory Burch partnered with Fitbit to design pendants and bracelets akin to the Shine Tracker by Misfit Wearables. And Apple AAPL -1.03% has tapped a diverse group of people, including former Burberry chief executive Angela Ahrendts (to lead its retail efforts), former Yves Saint Laurent CEO Paul Deneve, and former Nike NKE -0.71% design director Ben Shaffer.
在牵手其他领域的精英这一点上,谷歌并非独家。今年早些时候,英特尔(Intel)便宣布与美国时尚设计师协会(Council of Fashion Designers of America,CFDA)和奢侈品零售商Opening Ceremony合作,设计智能手镯。时尚品牌汤丽柏琦(Tory Burch)也与Fitbit携手设计了与可穿戴技术创业公司Misfit Wearables的无线运动跟踪器Shine Tracker类似的吊坠与手镯。而苹果(Apple)也发掘了各行各业的人才,包括博柏利(Burberry)前任首席执行官安吉拉•阿伦德茨(担任零售主管)、伊夫•圣•洛朗(Yves Saint Laurent)前任首席执行官保罗•丹尼佛以及耐克(Nike)的前任设计主管本•谢弗。

These collaborations signal a moment where the cradle of innovation and the arbiters of fashion are finally embracing one another, says L2 research director Colin Gilbert. Style is not the only missing piece to the wearable puzzle, but it’s something to look forward to, Gilbert says. More than half of the report’s respondents want devices that feel more like jewelry while 62 percent would like more than wrist-worn devices.

“Brands that are known for going it alone are partnering with unexpected allies,” Gilbert says. “If you dig into Apple’s investment, the special projects team reads like a who’s who list of some of the best talent in the world coming from every sector imaginable.”

The “cool” factor isn’t the only issue. Security and privacy, particularly around the management of consumer data, remain a concern as the tech industry seeks to bring more of our body parts online. As The Economist notes, the glamour of developing sensors and algorithms for wearables is distracting everyone from glaring missing elements, “standards, interoperability, integration and data management” and “intellectual-property rights and regulatory compliance” among them. All this in an environment where paranoia remains over the National Security Administration’s activities.
要让产品显得很“酷”并不是唯一的目的。科技行业如果想让我们身体的更多部位连上网络,那么安全问题和隐私问题,尤其是顾客数据管理问题,依旧需要慎重考虑。正如《经济学人》(The Economist)所说,蓬勃发展的传感器的魅力,以及可穿戴设备的算法,分散了人们对于其他要素的关注。这些关键的其它要素包括:“标准、互通性、一体化、数据管理”,以及“知识产权、执行标准”。对国家安全局(National Security Administration)而言,这些技术发展都必须以网络安全为前提。

Atlas Wearables founder Peter Li says battery technology and user retention are two more obstacles facing the wearables market. Some use cases require significant improvements to battery technology for a compelling experience, he says, and there’s always a balance to be struck between wear time between charges and processing power and features.
可穿戴设备公司Atlas Wearables创始人彼得•李表示,电池技术和用户的保守是可穿戴市场面临的两大障碍。他说,在一些情况下,电池技术需要有足够大的改进才能实现足以激发用户兴趣的体验,而在穿戴时间、充电时间、处理能力和产品特点上,各家公司也需要做出平衡。

The pace of innovation has been rapid. Fitbit has released five or six distinct models since the company launched in 2008, and Samsung released three or four variants of the Galaxy Gear in a nine-month period. Sony SNE 0.77% , Pebble, Google, and Facebook’s FB 0.25% Oculus Rift are positioned to follow.
这个领域的创新速度非常快。自从Fitbit于2008年成立以来,各家公司已经发布了五到六个完全不同的产品。三星(Samsung)则在九个月内发布了可穿戴设备Galaxy Gear的三到四个衍生产品。索尼(Sony)、Pebble、谷歌和Facebook的头戴式虚拟现实设备Oculus Rift也紧随其后。

“It’s very easy to see the leaders in the current market are in a fairly tenuous or precarious position right now,” Gilbert says. “That’s evident by how quickly they’re innovating on each new device type.”

Interest in wearable technology isn’t limited to technology companies. Mercedes-Benz is porting its mobile experience to a wearable device, while Virgin Atlantic is exploring the customer service aspect of Google Glass on a trial basis. Kenneth Cole is also using Glass as part of a marketing campaign.
对可穿戴技术有兴趣的不止是科技公司。梅赛德斯-奔驰(Mercedes-Benz)正在将移动体验移植到可穿戴设备上,而维珍航空(Virgin Atlantic)正在试验性地探索谷歌眼镜在顾客服务上的应用。

Continued experimentation with wearables is important, but the near-term requires a conversation “about whether current wearables, driven by a combination of organic efforts and corporate tech efforts, are really adhering to customer needs and wants or if companies need to explore a different set of partnerships to push wearables beyond early adopters and into the mainstream,” Gilbert says.

The winter holiday season will help thin the herd, but the true litmus test will be when a company can introduce a wearable that passes the “turnaround test,” Gilbert says—when a person walks a few steps from their front door and decides to turn around to retrieve a forgotten wearable device like they would a forgotten wallet, keys, or phone.

“Right now the fitness tracker isn’t on that list,” he says, “but the next generation of wearables has the potential to pass that critical milestone.”

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