The ITProPortal team has once again set up camp at the Olympia conference centre, this time for the Wearable Technology Show, one of the hottest new events on the tech calendar.
Taking place in London from 18-19 March, the show is dedicated to the fledgling but extremely exciting wearable tech market, which you cannot take your eyes off at the moment. We'll be on the ground throughout, getting our hands (and heads, wrists and ankles) on as many devices as we possibly can.
Wearable gadgets have seriously split opinion so far. While Google's infamous Glass headware has been deemed creepy and Samsung's original Galaxy Gear smartwatch has been universally slammed, the South Korean firm's latest wristbound offering was hailed as Mobile World Congress 2014's "best mobile device".
Despite not being the most trendy of folk, our biggest issue with wearables is their fashion appeal, or lack thereof. As explored in the first of our weekly podcasts, we wouldn't be seen dead with most of the devices currently on the market, and their fairly watered down specs hardly make up for the clumsy design.
What this sector needs is a generous helping of out-of-the-box thinking, and where better to find that than here?
Three rooms will play host to all the sessions that will cover fashion, sports and fitness, health, M2M and live product demos. There will also be a developer hackfest and a business startup track that will aim to assist those looking to enter the wearables sector for the first time.
Alongside all of this there will be an exhibition to give companies the chance to show off products to anyone attending the event. The event will also play host to The Wearables, an awards ceremony recognising the UK's leading large and small companies in the sector.
Ready? So are we. Let's get this show on the road.
- 20 March
Stay tuned as well, because we've got a few more juicy tidbits to come from our time at Olympia, not least our special wearables podcast
If you were unlucky enough not to have joined us yet, don't fear - you can catch up on all the action from London's Wearable Technology Show below
Apologies for that but here we are - thanks for joining us for the Wearable Technology Show the last couple of days. It was genuinely one of the best events ITProPortal has attended and we all left significantly more enthused by the prospects for wearables
Well, it appears we got so caught up in our podcast at close of play yesterday we forgot to sign off!
- 19 March
The office studio has been relocated to a back room of the wearable technology show to record the latest episode of our Tech Weekly Podcast. We like this room more though, it comes with added beer.
Are any of you guys at the Wearable Technology Show at the moment? Give us a friendly nudge on Twitter @ITProPortal to let us know which devices have got you most excited.
Fighting off a hoarde of zombies you can't actually see is a heart racing experience to say the least, and one of the first augmented reality games we've tried that is truly immersive.
Alysia gets ready to fight the zombie apocalypse through "Intelligent Headset," the world's first headset with 3D audio. In the game, you are surrounded by the undead.... but you can only hear them.
Just seen a man wearing Google Glass in the men's room, only to be told off by another guy who felt uncomfortable that he could be filming. Awkward conversations ensues, and our smart glass tally count has just reached 25.
"In terms of where ARM are, we take a very pessimistic view in terms of innovation in batteries. Not because we don't believe they'll innovate, but our job is to get as much efficiency and performance out of the energy budget we have."
In terms of "ingestible" wearable technology, "there's more energy per gram in broccoli than there is in a lithium ion battery."
"The always on always connected world is achievable, but the challenge is to make ourselves literally always connected because that's a power hungry reality."
We were chatting earlier to Noel Hurley of ARM about how exactly the new revolution of wearable technology will be powered. Check back with ITProPortal later for the full interview, but in the meantime here are a few of our favourite soundbites.
This waterproof Samsung Galaxy S5 makes for one of the strangest fishes we've ever seen.
If you didn't have time to read some of the key points we liveblogged from our chat with Anastasia Emmanuele of Indiegogo yesterday, you can find the full interview online here. Read more: "Crowdfunding is a crystal ball into the future of wearable technology"
Stay tuned, as we got to spend a good amount of time with the Vuzix M100 smart glasses and will have a full first impressions preview as soon as possible.
And as a quick follow up from the demo with Vuzix's M100 smart glasses, here's our very own Paul Cooper doing his best West London cyborg impression
Somehow, the biggest news in the wearables world isn't actually coming out of London today, thanks to a certain Google unveiling its extensive plans for a smartwatch army
We're going to have to zip away now though to catch up with ARM to find out just how the next wave of wearable devices are going to deal with the vast amounts of battery power they'll need to function properly. Hopefully they won't tell us we're going to have to work around with huge power packs on our backs.
(.... The eye glass is pretty nice too.)
(Seriously though, the puppies are lip-bitingly gorgeous.)
Apart from showing us pictures of his incredibly adorably shiloh puppies that he breeds back home near Boston, he's actually here to demo to us Vuzix's M100 eye glass.
We're sitting down with Dan C. Cui, Vice President of Business Development at Vuzix.
Google Glass Tally update: Two brightly coloured speccy techies spotted sipping tea on the walk between the auditorium and the press room. Total reaches 22.
And on that note, the panel leaves the stage.
Simon: "As we wrap up I'd like to leave everyone with one thought: Just because we can doesn't mean we should. If we're going to reinvent this thing on our wrist, let's do so by adding apps, features and services that actually enrich our lives."
Though - it's worth mentioning - looking around at the amount of female designers, journalists, exhibitors and delegates around the room, women are more than willing to splash their cash on high-tech smartwatches too.
Simon: "The reason I wear my watch is that it's a marvel of design and engineering. Women spend their money on purses, I obviously don't need a purse, so I spend my money on a smartwatch."
I'm not sure about that one though, solar panels on a smartwatch would make the device pretty bulky. Slimmed down sizing is a big part of making a wearable device actually wearable.
The issue of powering smartwatches is a contentious issue at the moment in the industry, The panel believe that solar power could be a solution.
It should be noted that at this point, two delegates wearing Google Glasses have just walked into the auditorium, notching up our Wearable Technology Show connected glass count to 20.
Simon: "If we're going to look at a smartwrist device that's connected, that's a great feat in engineering. A smartwatch as we're seeing them today is low down on the scale of technical development, and the money that it takes to create."
Ioannis nods emphatically. He believes that absolutely, an independently connected smartwatch is the future. A smartwatch introduces a lot of unique features such as health, biometrics and fitness that smartphones cannot fulfil in the same way.
The bulk of the market at the moment is introducing smartwatches as an accessory to smartphones - will we start to see smartwatches introduced as standalone products in their own right?
Mladen: "Voice has a key role to play in wearables. But it's hard to create a system for input on your wrist in general. It's a small screen so typing doesn't always work, but the wrist is also very noisy so that complicates things too."
Mladen Barbaric of Pearl Studios agrees: "We're going to see a lot more use cases this year. Fitness has been one, but we'll be seeing a lot more personal use cases that a simple smartphone cannot solve."
Simon: "Smartwatches are really just watches with a few added features. They're just a warm up to much more advanced wearable tech down the line. The question should be 'what does wearable technology on your wrist do to answer real questions and problems that we're seeing today?'"
Simon Tian of Neptune Pine: "I'm going to be slightly controversial - 2014 will be the year of the smartwatch, but I'm not sure it's the ultimate product. If we look back in time at how the watch came about, it was an amazing, revolutionary solution to a problem that was real. It changed our world - it'd be hard to get the panelists here today if we didn't have watches"
Ioannis Verdelis of Flesky says: "People will be connected to everything at all times, and a big part of that will be smartwatches."
We start with a million dollar question: What can we expect from smartwatches in 2014?
"Smartwatches: Hype or Hope" will discuss the pros and cons of the much-discussed wearable tech. Will smartwatches be a game changer for consumers?
As Ellie Goulding's dulcet tones fill the auditorium, the first panel of the day sets up.
And on that note, Mullen leaves the stage to a round of applause.
Mullen calls upon the audience to "become a digital disruptor" and think for themselves when it comes to wearables rather than waiting for governments to implement the legislation - I fully expect the audience to leap up, march out of the auditorium and start constructing a Les Misérables barricade out of smartwatches.
Mullen says we need to move on from this talk though, and implement richer trust models as new social dynamics emerge. Whilst legislation will struggle to keep up with the increased numbers of connected workers, we have to start educating ourselves as to what these devices can do and demand ethics from coders.
Mullen is pointing to the concerns that Google Glass wearers can use those around them as data mines, snapping information such as what another person is wearing.
It's time to talk about the big bad wolf of wearables: security.
Mullen: "The implication with this, of course, is that we need to move towards an ambient computer. We often focus too heavily on the cloud."
According to Mullen, this "Wearables Ecosystem" is what will bring the smart city to life.
Mullen: "It's much easier for businesses to roll out coherent services using a family of devices" - he believes that a future of connected devices talking to each other and working together will be first perpetuated through the structure of enterprise and healthcare.
Mullen: "Many people envisage wearable tech in a business environment initially. Businesses can more easily create joined up use cases, whereas consumers have more of a price barrier."
Mullen is extremely excited about the emotional side of wearables, for example the idea that a Google Glass could have an app that helps read emotion. By wearing one, an autistic user could be helped through social situations by reading other people's faces.
Europeans are also more inclined to buy technology embedded into jewellery, with 18% vs 13% of Americans. Clearly just as wearable technology itself is homogeneous, so are the wants and needs of the customers looking to buy it equally varied.
According to Anthony, 43% of Europeans would wear wearable technology on their wrist where only 23% would do the same.
Anthony: "Smartwatches have relatively short usage times with little real estate to play with. On the other end of the scale smart contact lenses and VR headsets have much longer session times with more real estate to play with."
Anthony: "Wearables aren't a homogeneous category - smartphones are. Smartphones sit in our pocket,all essentially perform the same function and exist as similar tools."
Anthony: "What's special about wearables is that they bridge the physical and the digital."
Anthony Mullen of Forrester research, a Glaswegian with an impressive set of side burns, has just taken to the stage to run us through the future of wearable technology and just what trends are going to shape our world over the next few years.
Welcome to day 2 of the Wearable Technology Show 2014 at London's Kensington Olympia! We're in the main auditorium where one of the first talks of the day, "Wearable Trends and Innovation" is about to kick off.
We're just about to brush our teeth and jump (or squeeze, rather) on to the train - stay tuned, the action is nearly underway again!
Good morning and welcome to day two of the Wearable Technology Show, which ITProPortal is covering LIVE from London's Olympia conference centre
- 18 March
That's all from Olympia today boys and girls, ladies and gentlemen, children of all ages - ITProPortal will be back LIVE again from the Wearable Technology Show in London tomorrow with plenty more to talk about. See you then!
In other news, for those interested our Google Glass count has reached eighteen. The only other place on earth with this many high-tech specs packed together in one place is the Star Trek museum's special "Borg" exhibit.
Intrigued? Check back with ITProPortal tomorrow when we'll be liveblogging Dave's keynote address from the front row - like the eager, techie swots we are.
"There's about 12 billion things today connected to the Internet, and in a decade there will be 50 billion."
"If you think about Moore's law in action, within roughly two decades, the power of a smartphone can be packed within a red bloodcell."
"I believe we're in a continuum when we come to wearables. You look back at human history, and people have always adorned themselves with jewels, tattoos and clothing to symbolise status. This is phase one, we're now in phase two which is wearable."
His job is to basically evangelise about all things technology (we bit our fists in jealousy too) and boy did he have some things to say. We'll be writing up the full interview in due course, but as a tasty preview here are some of his most interesting soundbites.
We've just had a fantastic chat with Dave Evans, chief Futurist at Cisco, and born and bred Brit (with a Californian accent).
Racing through the conference hall, we were forced to a halt by the glittering stand of Kiroco. Looking for a Mother's Day gift? These guys will put together beautiful designs that use interactive NFC technology to imbue jewellery with a personal emotive message, video or photos. Who said wearable technology couldn't be fashionable?
In the meantime, why not recap some of this morning's highlights?
We're about to head over to meet Anastasia Emmanuel of Indiegogo, check back with ITProPortal later for the full interview.
Dominoes pizza has just been delivered to the press room. This is probably not liveblog worthy since pizza is not a technology, and it most certainly is not wearable (sadly), but the world needs to know how wonderful this day is nonetheless.
In the meantime, we've been gazing into our crystal balls and have come up with an in-depth look at how wearable technology will evolve in 2014.
And that wraps up the crowdfunding panel. Don't worry though, we've still not had our fill of the crowdfunding pie, so we'll be chatting to Indiegogo later this afternoon to delve deeper into some of today's unanswered questions.
Despite extensive market research, it wasn't until they started their crowdfunding campaign that they realised their customers wanted a necklace option for their wearable devices.
Anastasia from Indiegogo also says that crowdfunding can be a useful venture to gain not only much-needed capital, but to gauge the market as well. She points to one of Indiegogo's startup companies, Misfit, who changed their product halfway through their campaign due to investor feedback.
"Making hardware and wearables is really hard. If you successfully crowdfund you can turn your crowdfunding page into a pre-order page and circumvent what is dramatically called 'The Bridge of Death' where you have to take an idea connect it to cold hard business sales."
So is there anything special about hardware and how it scales?
Tom: "The biggest threat to crowdfunding is not fraudulent behaviour, but the dangers of not regulating our sites enough."
"Crowdfunding essentially democracises democracy."
Anastasia agrees: "Crowdfunding is not a new thing, people have always been willing to invest money in others, but all that's happened today is that technology has opened doors to allow it to be done on a larger scale. It won't replace other methods, but it will work together with traditional finance to help support businesses."
Tom: "Your relationships with your investors will last longer than the average marriage."
Besides, he says, crowdfunding has always existed in one form or another. For instance, just look at the stock market.
Tom from Seedrs doesn't think so. Whilst you may scoff that he'd probably say that (representing a crowdfunding business to a huge room of techie experts and all) but he says that putting the power of decision into consumers hands is growing and gaining relevance, whether launching a product or gaining control of their data.
Do the panelists see a continuous increase in applications or will one day the effectiveness of crowdfunding be called into question?
Anastasia: "If you go to an investor they don't know how good your product is, and they're going to take a lot of equity as a result. Crowdfunding flips that model and places the power in your hands."
Anastasia: "I would say to any hardware startup, don't give any equity away until you know your market."
Patrick Hussey, meanwhile, is from CrowdRooster which is the only crowdfunding site that exists only for technology sites. He also believes crowdfunding is ridiculously hard work.... not to put you guys off or anything.
Anastasia Emmanuel of Indiegogo says that crowdfunding is of particular benefit to a hardware business, where you can test out the idea of a product with a market before spending lots of money developing it.
Tom Davies of Seedrs: "The one myth about crowdfunding is that it's easy. It's not, you have to work for it, you have to show you deserve it with an excellent plan, great marketing and a lot of support generated already."
They'll be talking about crowdfunding as a dynamic way to fund your business, the realities of it and some insights into how to run a successful campaign.
We've raced over to the other side of the Olympia just in time for the start of our second panel of the day, "Crowdfunding head to head" with speakers from Seedrs, Zequs, Indiegogo and CrowdRooster.
A pack of Google Glass wearing delegates sipping coffee has just brought our tally into the double figures. 11 and counting!
If you agree, you might want to check out our roundup of what we think will be the hottest mobile trends of 2014. The moustache twirling "glassholes" stereotype is only one of the obstacles wearable technology must overcome to gain widespread adoption.
Businesses and the medical sector have been keen to jump on the wearable technology bandwagon but the consumer space will be much slower to win over. Until more is done on the design front, and more useful apps are developed, it is likely only enterprise will benefit from wearable personal computers.
And with that, the panel wraps up. So what are the key takeaway points?
"Part of it is vanity. In the consumer space people want to look good. The second is the killer app, to have the perfect app that is not just superfluous and 'cool' but a vital part of living."
In the medical and enterprise spheres we're seeing an eagerness to adopt wearable technologies, but in the consumer space most are suspicious and reluctant to start wearing, say, a Google Glass in the streets.
Dave Slocombe from Race Yourself points to the adoption of mobile technology, how strange it was when people walked down the street with strange bricks held to their ears. Now however, everyone owns a smartphone. He believes wearable technology will see the same thing.
Is the average person ready for augmented reality though? Where we are bombarded by constant information?
"Enterprise is the area in which we see the most interest in augmented reality is coming from."
Dan Cui of Vusix skirts around the question saying that it's largely down to safety and the importance of peer-to-peer communication. We translate that as "because smartphones don't look they popped out of an episode of Star Trek, and therefore aren't as cool."
But why can't that just be done on a smartphone?
For example, if you walk into a retail store and ask a sales clerk a question they don't know, if they're wearing something connected to the system they can check the info on a screen in their glasses and give you an instant answer. Businesses, consequently, become more productive.
"Augmented reality is a nebulous, slightly geeky term but what people need to really realise is that today little tiny things of your daily life, your mundane tasks, can be solved through augmented reality."
It should be noted at this point that three of the four panelists are wearing Google Glasses, thus sending our tally count skyrocketing up to six.
According to the panel, augmented reality is something truly immersive where the reality around you is augmented by a computer generated experience.
Next up is a panel entitled "Augmented Reality - the future of this hands free world" which is being moderated by Tom Emrich, a Google Glass explorer and Co Founder of Wearable App Review.
It's interesting that the Wearable Technology Show has made its home in London's Kensington Olympia, especially since last month a recent survey revealed that two thirds of Brits are unenthused by Wearable Technology.
Up to three now on our official-not-so-official Google glass count....
And with that Steve Power Brown leaves the stage to a round of applause.
If you agree with Steve and have an idea for redefining personal computing through wearables, Intel are running a "Make it Wearable" competition to work with some of the most innovative developers in wearable technology and make their ideas reality. Learn more at makeit.intel.com.
"Thinking about how to personalise and add meaning to these devices is key. You didn't expect to hear this from an Intel futurist did you?" he laughs. "Wearables will only be successful when they do things that people really care about. Ultimately, we use technology to become better at being ourselves."
Steve: "This is where many devices today are failing. They're not learning about the history of what is important to people. It's not wearable."
According to Steve, this is a lesson to apply to wearable technology. No, that doesn't mean we're going to start creating huge iron helmets imbued with a digital display, but we need to start thinking of wearable technology as less "What can it do?"
A photo of King Henry VIII's armour comes on screen, armour that Steve says symbolises "protection, identity, power and myth." Not only did it protect him, it struck fear into his enemies on the battlefield. In other words, it created an identity as well as being functional.
Steve: "Humans have been putting things on their bodies for thousands of years. Wearable technology is nothing new, it's just that now it is connected."
Steve calls upon the room to stop thinking of Wearable Technology in terms of "what is it?" and "where will it be?"
Steve: "These big breakthroughs will happen in the next ten years - this decade is going to be huge."
He says that we've moved from keyboards and mice, to communicating with our devices with touch, to wearable devices that will require a new language to be communicated with.
Steve: "The third trend is that computers are becoming more natural. We're now in the era of touch, where we'll have to generate a whole new language to communicate with our devices."
The second trend though, is that computing is also getting very big: Huge data centres are able to do massive amounts of number crunching, thus connecting small computers to a larger, powerful server.
What that means, Steve says, is that anything in the world can now become a computer, "whether our shoes, a coffee cup or our bodies."
Steve: "Computers are getting smaller and smaller, so they're getting closer and closer to our finger tips, our nerve endings and our brains."
By getting smaller, computers can be put into smaller and smaller devices or even into our bodies.
The first, he says, is that computing is becoming smaller.
According to Steve there are three mega trends driving this increasingly connected relationship.
Steve: "The physical world and the digital world are becoming ever closer. They're all becoming connected to the cloud, big data and huge amounts of computing power."
Enthusiastic applause as Steve takes to the stage, though when he says "Good morning" only the most caffeinated delegates can muster up a reciprocal greeting.
John Weir, Director of the Wearable Technology Show, has just taken to the stage to introduce Steve Brown and welcome the packed auditorium of guests to this year's event.
District Line malfunctions braved, ITProPortal is now all assembled here at Olympia and it's already looking like a smashing event
Just seen our first conference guest wearing a Google Glass. That's strike one on our running tally...
We're not sure whether Power is his actual middle name, bestowed upon him by ascendant parents, but at the very least it's an apt moniker for a man who's about to tell an entire room of techies about how low power processors are going to transform everything into computers. So we won't giggle too much.
First up, we're about to head over to the show's opening keynote address by Steve Power Brown, Chief Futurist and Strategist at Intel.
The ITProPortal team will be here over the next two days to bring you the latest insights into one of today's most exciting technology sectors. With everyone worth their salt now sporting a Fitbit or eagerly eyeing up the latest developments of the Google Glass, this is the show that sets the bar for wearable technology developers everywhere.
Boxes of gadgetry are being unpacked, bleary-eyed journalists are forming orderly queues for their first espresso of the day and the Wi-Fi is already groaning under the weight of so many visitors: Welcome to the Wearable Technology Show 2014 live from the Kensington Olympia in London!