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Is wearable tech redefining real time marketing?

‘Google glass is here’ – screamed an email to me from a colleague. And then what followed was even more surprising – a one day sale across the USA alone. Google was taking a leaf of Steve Jobs’ book and trying to create a larger marketing hype around the glass. It set me thinking about how the proliferation of devices that are much more personal is revolutionising the way we live our lives. From shoes that can communicate with us to bands that encourage us to exercise more, devices are truly shaping the way we live.

Glass is taking this a notch higher and is ushering in a paradigm shift in the way we perceive and use technology. It has applications across diverse areas from healthcare to policing and even in military. Being a technologist wedded to the digital marketing space, I cannot but help think how Glass is going to revolutionise marketing and advertising.

Glass is going to usher in true real time marketing. A person wearing and looking through the glass is at the same-time providing tons of information back to Google. Information on their location, activities, or even a simple glance at a building can all be sent back to servers that are analysing this information in real time. All this can be crunched by complex algorithms in the backend to produce real-time totally in-context ads that are relevant and tailored to the user.

True real time marketing is finally here
Glass will enable true real time marketing and also influence purchase decisions as users get access to product information as they shop. Imagine a user walking through a neighbourhood store, looking for a bottle of soap. As he glances at the bottle of soap, glass streams in real-time information about the product – the skin type it suits, what benefits they can get from the product, offers and promotion, any type of marketing content that the brand can provide about the product. To make it more personalised, combine additional information about the user from their personal Google+ account to both tailor content and product in real time to get a truly unmatched personalised experience.

Augmented reality could just become much more personal. Billboards can come alive and pass information to the user right in front of their eyes, just as they wink. A person travelling in a train can be watching brand content streamed from the internet by simply glancing at the display ads in front of them. No more complicated QR code scanning, no more looking at devices, everything is right in front of the customer as they look through the glass. The above are just a few of the myriad of opportunities that technologies such as Google Glass can provide.

Roadblocks ahead
The challenges that marketers would face in the near-term using glass would be
#1. Adoption: Glass was released yesterday to the public in the USA and costs a whopping USD 1500. It will be a while before glass becomes more affordable and generate the mass that brands can invest in.
#2. Privacy issues: Glass can provide a wealth of information to marketers, a lot of it, very relevant and private information about the user which can be leveraged for marketing. There will be challenges as all users may not part with private information posing challenges in personalised marketing.
#3. Technology: While it may be possible to get a ton of information back from the Glass, the technology that is required to drive real-time marketing will need to become more robust. If the back-end technology is not robust, brands run the risk of showing information that is not necessarily relevant that if not managed properly would end up creating a negative user experience.

There are several other ways to use Glass and real time marketing to run great campaigns. In fact the opportunities are endless and are only bounded by what the human brain can think of.

Go Glass!!

Rajiv Babu Balaji

The author, Rajiv Babu Balaji, is the Technology Manager at SapientNitro. This column is part of the regular thought leadership series hosted by SapientNitro on digitalmarket.asia