A few weeks ago I wrote about the boom of the mobile wallet and how mobile isn’t something the industry can or should ignore. This week I write of another current technology innovation I’m sure of which you’re aware. Does “wearable technology” ring a bell?
Wearable technology is said to be the biggest tech innovation since the smartphone. Examples of wearable devices include glasses, contact lenses, smart fabric and jewelry such as rings and bracelets, to name a few. And how could I forget sport wearables such as FitBit and Fuelband? But arguably the most popular form of wearable tech is the smartwatch. Interestingly, the smartwatch is also another way the consumer can pay at the point-of-sale.
What is wearable tech?
According to WearableDevices.com, wearable technology, wearable devices and wearables, “refer to electronic technologies or computers that are incorporated into items of clothing and accessories which can comfortably be worn on the body.” Wearables allow the user to access information in real-time. They also allow for a Web connection and connect to a smartphone through Bluetooth. Wearables use smart sensors to connect the device to the person and vice versa. It sounds like something out of Star Trek, does it not? Devices that you wear that can tell you how you slept, track your heart rate, help you pay your credit card bills and update your calendars.
But wearable technology is already here and it’s already very much available. Apple came out with the Apple Watch this year, joining the many other brands of smartwatches including Sony SmartWatch 3, Moto 360, Samsung Gear S, KeldD, QOne, Pebble — the list keeps going. Research released by GlobalWebIndex earlier this year found that 9 percent of adults owned a smartwatch while 7 percent owned smart wristbands. This number is expected to grow.
Connected devices, connected machines
Technology innovation is happening on a rapid scale, there is no doubting that. While our industry has made strides to keep up, there is still more to be done. In fact, early indicators from our 2015 State of the Industry report set to be released this month revealed that the percentage of machines online remains less than 5 percent. Connected machines expand vending machine capabilities, including enabling multiple payment methods.
In the consumer-driven market of vending, it’s important to familiarize yourself with the newest technologies—especially when they involve how consumer may one day pay. So look into wearables and how they might affect the future of vending.