Will.i.am, the frontman for the Black Eyed Peas, has spent two and a half years and his own money to create i.am+. The main product being a wearable wristband called PULS (pronounced 'pulse') that holds a music player, fitness tracking, GPS, pedometer, and popular social apps like Facebook and Twitter. It can also email, call and text, sans phone. Puls looks like a watch but it’s more. It brings together fashion, technology and music to create a new way to communicate.Are wearables a new channel opportunity for brands? Does the celebrity cachet stand a better chance with Puls than its competitor's?
Puls is not a watch, this is a new type of communication
“The reason I started i.am+ and moved into the tech world is because of what the tech world is calling Wearables,” he starts off in a blog post for the Huffington Post. "Success in wearables isn’t going to be driven by the giants of yesteryear. Instead it is going to be developed and brought to market by the unlikely candidate,” he says.
"This is not a watch, by any means", he said at the unveiling of Puls, which was held at the Dreamforce conference in San Francisco. "Watches don't have SIM cards. This is a new type of communication."
And right he is! Puls was seen exclusively at the Wired 2014 conference and revealed jaw dropping never before-seen designs. The device itself is impressive-lightweight, sturdy and with a responsive screen which has been built for voice. It features an industry first... its own SIM card! It has a 16GB onboard memory and 1GB of RAM, multiple speakers, Wi-Fi and 3G capabilities, GPS, pedometer and accelerometer. And of course, you can make and receive calls.
The music feature has an in-built music streaming service which Will.i.am has given users the subtle difference why you would choose the Puls over a smartphone without naming any of his competitors. He states “It should be totally different kind of device in how you utilise it, you should still be able to communicate when you’re truly mobile. When I’m at the gym, I don’t want to have to strap something to my arm, I don’t want to worry about cords while I’m jump-roping”
The "cuff" and not "watch" has so many unique features such as an app that is able to read the mood of the wearer by detecting changes in voice tones. Puls, will also respond to more natural commands (than its much more rigid competitor Siri), 'Aneeda' will respond to commands such as "call that girl I met yesterday."
Check out one of the super slick video Ads for Puls below. Its easy to understand why a hip-hop superstar like Will.i.am is ushering wearable technology into mainstream today.
Complete your Puls style
Watch the Will.i.am space as he has been busy designing a variety of clothing, which will work in conjunction with the smart cuff. Jackets, backpacks and shoes will complement the device. The shoes will come with in-built scales to help the wearer make better use of the fitness app that comes with the cuff and the backpack will double as a speaker and a charging station, and jackets that embed streaming music and power charging right into the fabric.
Google and Apple are not competitors
The wearables market is set to bring in around $14 billion in 2014 and is estimated to rise to $70 billion dollars by 2024, and its because of this reason that you have some of the largest corporations in the world such as Apple and Google releasing their own brand of technology smart watches.
Many of you will be asking how the musician-turned-tech investor can compete with the likes of Google or Apple. And he is adamant that he is not in competition with them. He states "When you have something you want to put on your body, there are options. You don't have one pair of shoes or jeans. In the world of fashion you need options. And in the world of wearable tech: I'm providing another option for you."
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Could Puls be a new channel for brands to connect with their consumers?
Its amazing to think that only ten years ago the first smartphone was just a way to communicate with our friends. But the smartphone's development quickly became a new way for brands to keep in touch with their customers. Integrating media, voice, geolocalisation, social network, apps... Puls is for sure the new efficient channel for advertisers and companies. With all the technological brains out there, this wearables space would become even more interesting and innovative as the market grows. It must be the next device for advertisers and brands to consider using as part of their marketing strategy in attaining and requiring the consumer. First step, I.am+will release SDKs so that other brands and companies can create apps for the smart cuff.
Do you think that smart wearables have the potential to raise brand engagement? And will they become as acceptable and vital as the smartphones have become, or is it just a fad phenomenon? We would love you to share your vision.
Copyright pictures property: rnews.ro, dezeen.com, digame247.com, dailymail.co.uk, mashable.com, freshnessmag.com, Puls video ad courtesy of i.am+.com