Nearable technology has created a new, interactive frontier that is set to complement mobile connectivity, transform digital services, improve the retail experience and make ordinary actions such as making a coffee, a stress-free experience.

The emergence of living services, where a customer’s involvement with products and brands is measured by user experience will have a significant impact on the payments industry.
According to Mark Curtis, Chief Client Officer at Fjord, Design and Innovation from Accenture Interactive, this proliferation of new nearable technology is largely being driven by consumers’ positive experiences with technologically advanced payment systems: “Take the seamless and largely invisible payment systems providers such as banks offer. Now consumers want payment experiences like this in every industry.”
Consumer experiences, such as travel booking and shopping in real time, will have immediate impact on payment gateways, which will have to be more intuitive than they have ever been before.

Six crucial technologies

A new report by Accenture called Living Services: The next wave in the digitisation of everything has identified six technologies that will enable the rise of living services. They are:

1.    Growth of connected devices
2.    Connected sensors
3.    Network Connectivity
4.    Cloud
5.    Data and analytics
6.    User interfaces
Nearables are an important element in this evolution and when used in context can have a powerful impact on business, brand and lifestyle.

How nearables work

One company leading the way in nearable technology creation is Estimote. Estimote Beacons and Stickers are tiny computers consisting of a powerful ARM processor, memory, Bluetooth Smart module, and temperature and motion sensors. Estimote beacons broadcast radio signals through built-in antennas. Smart devices loaded with relevant apps pick up the signals and are then able to make an appropriate response. 
Beacons can be placed on any item, turning that item into a nearable. For instance, you can place a beacon sticker on a bike and then track a route or be alerted to someone who is moving the bike without your permission.

Practical uses

 As technology writer Ainsley O’Connell explains: “When entering a movie theatre beacons could automatically silence your phone. Place beacons around your home, and LaunchHere, a self-described shortcut app, promises to launch appropriate apps as you move from your coffee maker (start brewing) to your sofa (turn on Apple TV). Retailers like Macy's are already testing the waters, sending shoppers discounts specific to the department where they're browsing.”
Nearables will change consumer behaviour by enabling retailers and brands to influence purchasing decisions, while at the same time allowing consumers to tailor their buying decisions.
Adobe’s latest Mobile Marketing Survey found that 18 per cent of marketers surveyed were already using beacon technology, with another 36 percent planning to do so in the next 12 months. This includes brands such as Safeway, American Airlines and Marriott.

The future is nearable

According to Stuart Taylor of Cisco in his 10 Predictions for the Future of the Internet of Things, “One day soon, it will be hard to imagine that all things weren’t connected.

The Internet of Things will fundamentally transform businesses, generate enormous economic wealth and create immeasurable social value.”
This article represents the views and opinions of the author and do not necessarily reflect the opinions of BPAY.
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