Brands that use tech to inspire not impress will win

Technology is growing at an astounding pace. Barriers to entry to disrupt a new market are at an all time low; technology costs are reducing dramatically; smart devices are

Jonathan Earl

It’s also never been easier to be an entrepreneur. I can buy a laptop anywhere in the world for less than $100; learn programming and have a website set up in a day and then be talking to like minded individuals through an online forum within a week, that’s if I am being slow, and I can achieve scale overnight – think Candy Crush.

There is a wealth of content, new products, services and digital experiences being generated everyday. However, technology hasn’t fulfilled our needs.

People are more stressed than they ever have been; more overwhelmed with the choice available and are trying to fit so much more into their lives. Balancing work, family and trying to make ends meet is much harder than it ever has been and technology hasn’t helped as much as it should.

Take the fitness industry. Millions have bought products that measured the number of steps they took, hours they slept, calories they burnt. When initial excitement faded, however, consumers realised the products didn’t talk to their running, swimming or cycling needs. As a stand-alone product, therefore, it was interesting but not especially useful.

However, all that is about to change. At CES this year, the eureka moment came with technology companies admitting that they can’t do everything themselves. There should
be open platforms and products should work together to provide richer and better information for consumers, it was argued.

There are products about to hit the market that will help and inspire us and more importantly allow us to quantify ourselves. They will ask what your fitness goal is and they will tell you as you are running whether you are too fast/ too slow and work out the type of music you respond best to when running up that killer hill or sprinting for the finish.

Going forward, it will work with other devices you are wearing to offer you choices on your wellbeing with questions like “did you know that your heart rate and blood pressure goes up dramatically every Tuesday at 10am?” (coinciding with your 1-2-1 with your boss).

Technology is about to change. Those brands that look to help, those brands that look to inspire will win the technology battleground.

Jonathan Earle is head of strategy, planning, innovation and experience at Telefonica UK