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Techie fashionistas

A new fashionable computing trend is on the rise, and regardless of your industry, profession or position, it will affect you thanks to an impressive growth expectation hovering between US$10 billion and US$40 billion by 2016.

The quest for slimmer and smarter phones and tablets will continue, but investors and trend watchers are keeping close tabs on electronic devices integrated into clothing or worn on the body.

Wearable tech is definitely moving from the sci-fi screen to our own bodies, and it’s conceivable that in the near future we will witness fewer employees carrying cell phones and instead staying connected via something worn. 

This wearable device trend could trigger a chain reaction with some positions no longer needing a desk or office. In fact, these devices could be the backbone to a separate trend where staff members would use community-style offices with several occupying the same room — very similar to the traditional offices in Japan where several staffers are positioned in one large, non-partitioned office. 

Let’s take a look at some of the items set to become the next big thing in consumer tech and think about how these could eventually affect your staff and properties.

Watches 

A customizable smart watch is due out early next year. Palo Alto, California-based Pebble Technology has raised US$10.2 million from more than 68,000 backers on Kickstarter.com for the Pebble Watch, and early testers are ecstatic with its electronic paper displays that can be changed instantaneously. Besides showing the time, it syncs wirelessly over Bluetooth to Android and iPhones, allowing the wearer to control music, email, weather alerts, social media, calendar notifications and caller ID. Used with a variety of apps, it also becomes a GPS device or will track distance and speed.

Goggles

Goggles are part of the next wave, and this trend is the one experts say will in time enhance and even replace many of the smartphones we’re carrying now. Recon Instrument Goggles are raging with popularity in the professional snowboarding world as they show your precise location, speed, destination and phone calls via a wrist-worn, ski-glove-friendly control. The control even allows you to switch between taking calls or changing the music on your headphones. 

Glasses

The highly touted Google launch expected in 2014 is Project Glass, a pair of clear, wraparound glasses that message you when something significant happens in your Internet life. They are equipped with a mounted camera that sees what you’re looking at and sends that back to Google’s servers to figure out where you are and what you’re doing! Google Glasses also get you to your next appointment quickly via a map projected onto the glasses in your visual field. 

Vibrating tattoo

With the Nokia Vibrating Tattoo, a substance on the skin alerts users to calls, text messages and even a low battery signal. (Patent has been filed).

These are just a handful of the newly touted wearable technologies that are getting us closer to the tipping point. And a conference, appropriately titled the WT Conference (Wearable Technologies), launched four years ago due to the number of launches underway. 

One question came to mind while researching the endless list of innovations: Will the iPhone actually sink into irrelevance? Ironically, I learned that patent filings have been registered that indicate Apple is indeed looking at the idea of head-mounted displays.

This triggered another question: What if Apple and Google were to both get into tech-wearables? This I could not find a valid response to; however, I am confident if it happened, we’d see an explosion of users!

How about you? Do you see yourself wearing tech, or will you continue to hand-carry a smartphone?

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