Tag Archives: Wearable Technology

5 Reasons Wearable Tech Has Become A Crucial Tool for Market Researchers

This month Jason Davies wrote for Huffington Post Canada: ‘Not so many years ago the idea of monitoring blood sugar levels on your watch, checking your email via glasses, or using a winter glove to pay for a cup of coffee seemed like the impossible. But rapid growth in the Internet of Things and innovations in wearable technology have made all those things a reality.’

It looks like wearable tech has finally hit the mainstream. What does it now mean for market researchers? Here are the top five ways market researchers can use wearables to solve key problems, compiled from market research bloggers and other experts in the industry.

  • Integration of data to see the complete picture. One of the major challenges in market research right now is figuring out which data sets are important, and stringing multiple sets together to tell a story. Even with all the software available, market researchers still find gaps in the data and difficulty telling the whole story. Cathy Harrison, Project Director for Forbes Consulting had this to say about wearables and new technologies to MarketResearch.com: ‘Some of the most exciting technological advances in marketing research involve the integration of multiple data sources, permitting a holistic view of the person or situation. Unconscious motivational-emotional data can now be integrated with passively collected data, such as biometric measurements via wearable devices or smartphones, and social media or other digital data. Market research will continue to evolve as we shift toward creatively combining new data inputs and developing models that lead to more meaningful insights and practical applications.’  

  • Real world data is more authentic. Medical market research agency GKA explains in their blog: ‘Wearables remove the need for a researcher to be physically present; for example, ‘always on’ head-mounted displays that send a live stream of video and audio could transform the way we understand both the behaviour of patients and healthcare practitioners. In healthcare market research, smart wearables have the potential to give companies far greater insight into how a patient uses a device or their attitude to their medication or how a doctor reaches a diagnosis, for example.’ In fact Bob Relihan, Senior Vice President of C+R Research sees wearables changing not only the way we track consumers, but the methodology of how we track them: ‘If consumers want to track and monitor themselves and they have the technology in the near future to do that seamlessly, insight professionals should be able to tap into that stream of self-reflection. But in this world, the consumer and the response are one; we will be less able to ask direct questions. Rather, we will need to align what consumers are “tracking” about themselves with the questions we might want to ask.’

  • Wearables can allow you to get to the ‘whys’ not just the ‘whats’. Adam Rossow, CMO of iModerate had this to say at the MarketingProfs blog last year: ‘For the marketer, wearables provide research without “doing” research, which allows you to layer on other enlightening methodologies, including qualitative questions, without it being too much. Beyond that, you can get a total picture of the customer journey that’s clear and concise. You can discover where someone was before and after he or she visited your store or restaurant, as well as how much time was spent in each place. Perhaps even how his or her heart rate changed as the person moved from location to location.’ .

  • Get closer to real-time brick and mortar data. 92% of retail purchases still happen in retail stores. Market research helps brands to know what’s going on with that brick and mortar data. Wearable tech, such as the way consumers are paying or otherwise interacting with products in the store can allow researchers to collect data in real-time and at a deeper level, providing brands and retailers much more thorough insight.

  • It will bring advanced neuromarketing research out of the lab and into the real world. Readwrite wrote in their Neuromarketing Primer late last year: ‘As more companies seek to study the phenomenon (neuromarketing), wearables will become an important tool in gathering the necessary data to inspire the desired reaction from a target audience.’ Neuromarketing expert Darren Bridger had this to say to readwrite about wearables increasing in use for market researchers: ‘I see neuroresearch tech at a point analogous to computing in the late 1970s: poised to move from being a big/expensive lab application to something more accessible to a far wider range of organizations.’

By 2020, the typical U.S. consumer will have eight wearables - that’s less than 4 years away! Are you incorporating wearable tech into your market research strategies?

Don’t miss The Market Research Event this October 17-20 where some of the largest companies in the world will share their insights on everything from apps to big data as they apply to market research.

Wearable Technology Could Become the Future of Day to Day Life

The most recent wave of wearable technology is showing vast
improvements in its development since the first products. Many of the first
attempts such as Fitbit had high prices for products that sometimes were
lacking in accuracy and were not discrete in terms of blending with the user’s
day to day appearance.
Recently, there has been a push for improvements that make
wearable technology more desirable and useful. An attractive feature of
wearable tech is whether it can be ‘invisible’; a lot of the recent innovations
are becoming smaller yet gaining efficiency due to increased power. Wearables
now are more intertwined with fashion as users in the past were likely to not
wear devices due to them standing out. Jewelry is seen as a way of keeping the
technology on the user every day; for example, future innovations could have
the technology in a thin film under something as small as a ring.
A product that is due to be on the market soon is the
eagerly anticipated Apple Watch. The new Apple product is designed to make the
best of smartphone technology available on your wrist. The watch will enable
the user to see notifications, messages, GPS systems and all the useful tools
from a smartphone without having to get out your mobile device. The watch comes
in many different designs so that the consumer can have something stylish as
well as practical. The device most importantly has the potential to manage your
money. You’ll soon be able to manage your bills, make transfers, check
statements and pay with it.
Many wearable technologies are focused around health and
fitness; however one company is involving the technology that senses bodily
functions to be involved with payment systems. The Nymi band recognizes the
unique rhythm of the user’s heart to act as a way authenticating your identity.
It can be linked to devices to use instead of having to type in pin codes,
passwords and soon for payments.
Seamless integration of wearable technology to other devices
has been identified as being very important in the future of the products. The
most common are fitness devices that link with smart devices such as phones,
tablets and laptops to track health information that now can include things
such as BMI, blood alcohol level and even a posture coach. Other technology
goes past just human use to now having collars that can monitor your dog’s
vitals to help check for illness and can be shared directly with the vet.
The future of wearable technology is becoming ever more
efficient and informative. Products are more fashion conscious and
interconnected with other devices to make them more desirable for everyday use
for customers. The question in my mind is how long until wearables connect with
home devices? Will we soon get home and your heart monitor unlocks the front
door, your wearable fitness device will tell the fridge to pour you a cool
glass of water as your hydration levels are low and the air conditioning comes
on because your body temperature is found to be slightly high. The rate at
which the technology is developing means it may not be too far off.

About the Author:
Harry Kempe, a marketing intern at IIR USA, who works on various aspects of the
industry including social media, marketing analysis and media. He is a recent
graduate of Newcastle University who previously worked for EMAP Ltd. and WGSN
as a marketing assistant on events such as the World Architecture Festival,
World Retail Congress and Global Fashion Awards. He can be reached at hkempe@IIRUSA.com.

TMRE Spotlight: Betty Adamou, Research Through Gaming

At TMRE, we unite leaders across market research, consumer insights, strategy, innovation, marketing, analytics, shopper insights, media research, UX, customer experience, business intelligence, competitive intelligence and more, dedicated to blending art and science to fully understand today’s consumers.
As we curate best practices across industries and disciplines from practitioners in Market Research all over the globe, we’d decided to spotlight a few notables from the trenches.
Meet Betty Adamou, here’s what she’s shared with us:
Betty Adamou is the Founder of Research Through Gaming Ltd, I’m a ResearchGame’ designer where she carries out academic study of market research and games for my PhD. She is doing her PhD with the University of Winchester, where she is putting her invention of ResearchGames as a methodology under the academic spotlight for the very first time.
What Betty Does:
In the literal sense of what I do every day, I do a bit of everything. Some days I am conducting lectures at Universities (in the UK and internationally) teaching game-based research methods to students. Sometimes I am even looking at students’ work as they might ask me to check out their writing on game-based research. Other times I am designing and implementing ResearchGames, attending sales meetings and project managing. 
Other days I’m designing and implementing game-based apps or providing one-to-one consultation to market research agencies on how they can improve their research products. Other days I will be reading, writing and generally studying. And if that’s not happening, I’m speaking at conferences and 
filling in interview questions with TMRE. So I do a bit of everything! 
How She Got Started
I started Research Through Gaming Ltd three years ago (RTG are about to celebrate their 3rd birthday!) and started from my bedroom where I lived at the time in North London. I started with energized inspiration and this is the fuel that keeps me going to this day. I left my old job to start RTG, sacrificing a good pay-cheque (especially for my age at the time) and the stability that 9-5 work can bring because I believed that there was a better way to conduct research through games, so here I am today.
Why MR
Initially, not a lot, if anything at all. I was studying at the University of the Arts (London College of Fashion) and when I finished, I found myself making clothes from home and being a tailors apprentice on the weekends but that wasn’t paying my bills. A friend of mine got me to work with her at a small fieldwork agency near my home at the time and that’s when my career in MR began. 
Although it seems disconnected, the use of game-based research may help students like I was at the time to understand that there is such a thing as ‘the market research industry’. And not only does this industry exist, but it’s interesting with many facets and many opportunities to grow. 
Industry Evolution
I think the first question to ask is ‘is the industry changing’ and the answer is yes in general, but it’s not changing for everyone. How is it changing? I think the answer to that depends on where you sit in the MR industry. My healthcare clients still need to be conservative because of the clients they have, and their expectations. For studies commissioned by governmental bodies, in the majority, they still want to stay traditional too. For studies concerning customer satisfaction and FMCG, I think that market research has evolved in many directions but based from a fundamental need to engage respondents. 
Engaging respondents may take on the shape of an increase in use of online communities, or game-based research methods for instance, but the point is that the entire industry has been on it’s knees, then realised it needed to put respondent engagement at the heart of everything they do, and now it does. Respondent engagement is the spine of our industry and I’m glad researchers are increasingly understanding that. 
What’s Next
Everything is next! But again, this is dependant on where you sit in the MR industry or even outside of it. Wearable tech is now a consumer product and one in which MR will buy into (or already has, in some cases) so in many ways, I could say ‘this is next’, especially when we just saw the launch of Google Cardboard on August 2nd. 
But it’s not just wearable tech that’s next, it’s a host of other tech, methods and understanding. Kantar bought Zappistore, and market research software companies are having to offer more in terms of analytics and digestible insights. 
Non MR-companies are merging into ‘our field’ and as a result, we’re having to behave more like non-MR companies just to keep up. For instance: how can we expect to compete with respondent engagement with the traditional surveys we send out to respondents, when richer data (from more people, across longer periods of time) are being captured by Facebook? 
How can we expect to compete with our traditional tools on diary-based studies (where we need the respondents’ attention across weeks, or even months) when non-research companies are doing so as part of their platform for free, and with much higher levels of participant engagement? 
Right now in the Market Research industry, the world is our oyster, we just need even more people to be savvy and future-thinking enough to tell us what’s next. One expectation I have is for MR companies that exist today to evolve, merge-with, buy and become less recognisable as ‘MR companies’ in the next year and beyond. 
What is your best tip for researchers in the trenches to become a catalyst for impact?
It depends what kind of impact you want to have and where you want this impact to be felt. If you want to have a positive impact on the entire market research industry with an idea you may have, grab a stage and speak at a conference. Write a paper and publicise it wherever you can. Write in an industry magazine.
If you’re impact is a little more closer-to-home, (i.e. you want to create impact in the place where you work) I would suggest to first get your ideas(s) water-tight before you present them to your boss or other decision-maker. 
To do this I would suggest the following; read, talk, go out of the office and discover. Most of my inspiration has come from and still comes from reading, studying, playing games, going to exhibitions and speaking to people who, at times, have nothing to do with market research or gaming industry. In turn, the ideas I have become more developed or new ideas start to grow. 
Once you’re happy you’ve created the 360-degree account of your idea for impact, present this to the decision-making authorities where you work in a creative and professional manner which shows your heart in the idea and how it will work.
Plan B: If you did this already, and no one is listening to you, go out and make impact elsewhere (another company) on your own. Being an entrepreneur can be scary but is one of the truest tests of ‘putting your money where your mouth is’. 
Reading Recommendations
Read anything that allows you to understand human behaviour. Respondents, or as they may be increasingly known as ‘data-givers’, NEED to be intrinsically motivated and engaged in research because without that, we go back into the dark ages of no-one caring about surveys. Try to understand what engages people and what motivates people. Read papers, read books, speak to people outside of MR and ask them how they engage their users. 
In this day and age where the online survey is competing with at least 6 other interactive platforms for your respondents attention, we need to be on top of how we can grasp participant engagement, allow them to enjoy the experience and come back for more studies in the future. Only through engaged participants can we save time and money and provide more accurate data to our clients.
Tools to Use
What can I say, I am biased. Use any tool you like, as long as you make the research study into a game. Game mechanics tap into our basic needs as human beings (as evidenced by massive amounts of academic research) so borrow tips of the most engaging medium the human race has ever encountered: the game. In terms of new tech to keep an eye on, first understand older tech which hasn’t come out as a consumer product yet, but will or has already. 
For instance, virtual reality headsets aren’t new (I used to play with a Tomytronic when I was 6, that was 22 years ago) so researchers should look at how these technologies are evolving and how they can be used for data collection in an ethical, enjoyable manner for the participants. Augmented reality, again, isn’t new, but still market researchers should think about how to utilise this technology. 
The list is endless: QR codes, GPS footwear, smart clothing etc; it all has existed for some time. Instead of looking at what’s new, we should try and catch up on the technologies have been available to us but under-utalised for the last 5-10 years.
Random Fun Fact
Haha, a random fact! I could give you something totally boring now couldn’t I, like ‘I recently had my hair dyed’ but who would care? Maybe a random fact about me might be surprising for those who haven’t met me’I genuinely and absolutely KNOW game-based research methods are the future of our industry. It’s not some commercial stuff I spout off, it’s real and it’s what I live every single day. I hope the students I’ve been speaking to in the last three years will make those changes in the short-term future when they join our industry. 
Oh and in other news, I got married in June. 

Digital Tattoos and Pills Could Replace Passwords in the Future

Sick of remembering all of your passwords? Your frustration may be solved. Motorola’s vision for mobile isn’t just its new smartphone – the Google company also has wearable, tattoo-embedded, and swallowable gadgets in the works.
Recently, Advanced Technology and Projects Group Chief Regina Dugan attended D11 with an electronic tattoo that could be worn on human skin for one week at a time, and used to cut through the numerous authentication processes we go through every day.  Slashgearreported that the tattoos use a stretchable electronics system that can work even as it flexes on a moving arm. (Crazy, right?) There has been some criticism of wearable tech like that young people won’t wear them, but she believes it is far more likely they would wear a digital tattoo.