The Gadget Show Live returned to the Birmingham NEC with the aim of showcasing the latest technology. As you would expect there were the predictable robots, 3D printers and sleek sound systems, but there was also a number of products on display that really connected with the work we are doing for a number of clients.
One prominent theme was wearable activity trackers ranging from strict fitness monitoring to wellbeing enablers showing there is a lot of competition in this growing market segment. Fitbug, Fitbit, iFit, Misfit, Jawbone and Activ8rlives all had a presence. There was even Fitbark a wearable activity tracker for our four legged friends. In such a crowded market the products delivering the most positive user experience and service will win. It’s not about the device alone; it’s about the whole service wrapped around it.
Also sharing the spotlight this year were devices for the connected home. These included energy management systems like Lightwave RF or Energenie and other devices like Boosty that use your mobile to improve your broadband speed. Mogees was another ingenious device that cleverly links the physical and digitalworld capturing noises and vibrations and turning them into sounds and music.
As I was leaving the event I noticed a small stand, OwnFone. I’ve always been a great believer in ‘Less is More’ as a design principle which these folks have applied to the mobile phone market. While most manufacturers are trying to add more and more features to devices, OwnFone proposes a light, compact and shock resistant product that is stripped of all the expensive and heavy components. With no setup or settings, it just does the job you’d expect from a phone: makes calls and receive calls. It is aimed at children and the elderly. I wish more gadgets would be so well designed for their target market.