Wearables & The Quantified Self Movement

I was recently asked by ADWEEK about opportunities for brands and fitness wearables. The discussion focused on utility and the future of the quantified self movement and whether hardware or software is the way to go. The final portion of the conversation was focused on fashion vs. function and the importance of aesthetics for mass adoption. Below is my full commentary.

Brands and Utility

For the right brand there is a significant opportunity to capitalize on the quantified self movement and create new streams of revenue. Market analysts project significant upside for wearable tech over the next few years.

SOURCE Business Insider

The value for brands comes in the form of ongoing engagement and value to the consumer. By providing active utility the brand is taking something that used to provide a passive function and unlocks behavioral patterns of the consumer, activity and in some cases emotional data and any positive results can be equated with the brand.


The other point to consider is the quantified self data and utility will ultimately be a part of a larger connected ecosystem. In the near future data from a fitness tracker can coincide with smart grid technology to predict your needs. An example would be you just returned from a long run, your tracker communicates with your smart fridge and it prepares to dispense your favorite after work out beverage while ordering more via a real time delivery service such as Amazon Fresh.


Hardware vs. Software

Brands like Nike were at the forefront of the quantified self movement. The Fuel band resonated with innovators and early consumer adopters. With success came competition from device manufacturers that had a longer heritage and provided additional utility. They expanded beyond fitness to include emotional measurement, sleep sensors, etc… which began to move away from the Nike value proposition. The learning from this was the real value was less in the hardware and more in the data collected and the visualization of results.


The industry shift that brands like Nike see on the horizon is the shift from hardware and more around software and data. What this means is that brands like Nike see the day coming soon where it is less about the hardware and more about sharing and visualizing the data that is collected through whatever the device, be it smart clothing, watches, glasses, etc… and making thier API’s available.

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Fashion vs. Function

One of the primary barriers associated with wearables has been tied closely to aesthetics. A rubber bracelet that glows is not always the ideal choice for the fashion conscious. And for the early & late majority of consumer adopters, going beyond simple utility will be important for mass adoption.


Recent studies have shown that women outnumber men among prospective buyers of wearable technology devices. What I see happening in the short term are a number of partnerships such as the announced Tory Burch and Fitbit partnership or cross-industry hiring, similar to Apple hiring Burberry’s former CEO to bridge the gap between aesthetic form and function.

Tory Burch & Fitbit Partnership
Fitbit & Tory Burch

Here is a link to the ADWEEK commentary


Follow Tom Edwards @BlackFin360


UBER rolls out with Optimus Prime

For my family summer brings cookouts, movies & travel. This past weekend I was one of the thousands to see the latest entry in the Transformers movie franchise. I have been a fan of the series since it’s debut in 1984. Seeing the dinobot Grimlock on the big screen was something I was VERY excited to see!

This past week also had my family in NYC for summer vacation. We had decided that each of our children, once they turned 12, could pick any city in the US and we would take a trip with just them. So my oldest son Gavin chose NYC.

Edwards NYC
Now you might be asking… why are you telling us about what movie you just saw and your recent trip to NYC? Both topics have something in common and that connection is UBER. When I travel to a major city and I need a car service my go to is UBER. This past week in NYC was no exception.

Last year we (The Marketing Arm/Fanscape) partnered with UBER and Callaway Golf to create the #MyCallawayDriver experience. This was tied to last years US Open and was all about providing utility to attendees by providing free UBER service during the event.


UBER and Callaway were great partners and I have since seen other partnerships with UBER. Google, with their recent integration with Google Maps, as well as an OEM relationship with AT&T where UBER and AT&T will partner together by having the UBER app installed on all AT&T Android Phones with AT&T then becoming UBER’s primary wireless provider in their 60 city expansion.


Google and AT&T are great partnerships, but the UBER partnership I was the most excited to see roll through Dallas recently was the Transformers 4 film integration with UBER where you had the opportunity to Roll Out with Optimus Prime.

When you opened the app you were prompted with the intro to the program that details the potential of a 15 minute experience.

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A new “Autobots” selection option became available complete with the autobot insignia on the slider.

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Then you were able to finalize the location and make the call for Optimus.

Roll Out

Unfortunately all autobots were “on a mission” when I made the call, but here is a shot of Optimus in the wild in downtown Dallas.

Optimus Dallas

When creating partnerships with technology providers and brands I always look for a natural extension of the technology that will create value for all parties. What I like about the recent Transformers 4 integration is the local relevance and attention to detail when integrating the storyline into the application. It was a well executed integration and I look forward to future programs with the UBER team.

Follow Tom Edwards @BlackFin360