Tech pros share 15 costly mistakes in wearable device and app development. Continue reading below to discover the most cost-effective way to join the world of wearable technology.
Wearable technology has become a hot topic in the tech world, and it shows no signs of slowing down. However, there are many challenges that come with developing and implementing wearable devices such as fitness trackers and smartwatches and the apps that run on them. Without a solid strategy and user base for your device or software, you may end up wasting a lot of money before it ever gets off the ground.
If your business is planning to develop new wearable tech, it’s important to understand the obstacles and pitfalls you may face along the way. To help, 15 members of Forbes Technology Council discuss the costly mistakes tech companies need to avoid when developing wearable technology.
1. Not Having A Defined Purpose
A wearable app must have a defined purpose to stand out from the crowd. What problem will your app solve that has not yet been reasonably solved? Defining a purpose automatically involves the identification of the target consumer or business-to-business ecosystems as well as a simple human experience design. I would recommend a “Blue Ocean” strategy to help you to decide the right value proposition. – Soumen Chatterjee, Wipro
2. Choosing The Wrong Platform
Choose your platform wisely. There are many wearables on the market, and many of them are of poor quality and not built to last. Build on a platform that’s stable, has solid hardware—a good battery life, connectivity and so on—and a large and loyal fanbase. – Marc Fischer, Dogtown Media LLC
3. Not Mastering The Basics
Privacy, data security, battery consumption, stability, a responsive user interface and integration with mobile apps are all keys for any wearable app. For me, the biggest factors to consider are user experience choices for different age groups, ease of use and a well-defined contextual solution for solving a problem (whether related to health, productivity, monitoring or something else) with transparency, accuracy and predictable behavior. – Gaurav Aggarwal, Avanade Inc.
4. Not Having A Plan For Data Collection And Usage
Companies creating wearable tech need to think about the data they want to gather from consumers to make use of specific features. Consumers are hyper-aware of their privacy. We need to collect data in a responsible way and clearly tell users what we intend to track when they use our wearables. – Thomas Griffin, OptinMonster
5. Ignoring Cyberthreats
Wearable devices and connected apps are all part of the expanding surface area of Internet of Things opportunities and challenges. Cyberthreat actors have proven and will continue to prove that anything connected to the internet can and will be hacked. Whether your product is for personal or corporate use, you must think about its security and how the device can be managed to be relevant. – Aaron Pritz, Reveal Risk
6. Making Updates Difficult
The main issue with wearable devices and apps is the ability to reach scalable pricing in a form and factor that is user-friendly and affordable. As you develop the hardware and software, the main obstacle is finding an easy-to-install over-the-air BIOS upgrade. The update will drive a lot of future enhancements, and if it is difficult to apply, the user won’t stick with the product in the long-term. – Antonio Altamirano, Tangelo Technologies
7. Not Supporting Multiple Applications
In the larger scheme of things, a wearable gadget should support multiple applications. A user cannot wear several gadgets to support different purposes. The architecture should evolve to define generic gadgets, which in turn should evolve in the same way as an all-purpose mobile, where only software modules and apps bring new features. – Satyam Bheemarasetti, NeoSilica Technologies Private Limited
8. Not Prototyping The Device
Don’t forget people will be wearing the device. Any time you are building a wearable device, make sure to prototype it—including its size, weight and placement—and try it out. Use design thinking to put yourself in the user’s shoes (maybe literally). If you don’t love it, neither will your users. – Tim Kulp, Mind Over Machines
9. Forgoing Early Design And Usability Testing
Tech companies often mistake wearables as just being a tech solution for the user. The reality is that for a user to agree to wear a piece of tech, they need to be convinced of its quality and their ability to integrate it into their lives. You must invest in design and usability testing early in the game to ensure that the features live up to a high standard. Companies often start the other way around. – Yotam Drechsler, BrainQ Technologies
10. Overloading Features On Your MVP
There are many mistakes organizations can make with wearable tech. They may burn a lot of money on the proof of concept by testing and trying to perfect it all in one go, overloading features up front. Don’t try to bring all the features in one go—start with an MVP and then scale. Finally, a lot of wearable apps try to copy the best in the industry and end up failing. – Srinivas Arasada, Evolutyz Corp.
11. Not Providing Immediate Value
Focus on providing value in just a few seconds. People won’t use a wearable app for long, so focus on the one piece of information or the one task that your users want to see or do on the go. If there’s a tiny bit of info that users might want to see throughout the day, consider a feature that could be added to the watch face. Then it can be a frequent positive touchpoint for them. – Luke Wallace, Bottle Rocket
12. Ignoring Early User Feedback
Just like normal apps, wearable apps are driven by user feedback. The better the feedback, the better the app. The greatest mistake those overseeing a wearable app project can make is to not get user feedback early on. Many wearables, and their apps, disappear from the market for this reason. – Pierce Brantley, Cytracom
13. Mismanaging Business Data
Tech companies must manage and secure business data. Whether personal data is located on a physical server, a cloud, a mobile device or a wearable, software developers and architects must consider data security. Security should not be an afterthought—it should be baked into the software development life cycle. – Bob Fabien Zinga, Directly, Inc./U.S. Navy Reserve
14. Cramming In Features
A costly mistake that is all too easy to make is getting over-excited and adding every feature possible to your app. Users want simplicity—your app should be simple to learn, simple to use and simple to update. You can geek out and make a one-of-a-kind app with a complex AI, but if the user experience isn’t simple, the difficulty will lose a large percentage of the targeted audience. The app needs to absorb complexity.