Wearable Tech Trends … out of CES 2015

Another CES 2015 over. It was clear that this year is going to be a big year for the wearable category. In fact, more than 500 exhibitors were dedicated to wearable tech. Here are some major trends out of CES 2015.

1. The death of the activity tracker

Fitness and health continue to be the primary focus for wearables across the board. Wrist-worn wearables that track steps, monitor sleep and measure heart rate were abound at the show but one noticeably trend was the move away from the basic band to more of a smartwatch design. Fitbit, Sony, Polar, Casio and Zensorium all highlighted fitness trackers which doubled as a watch providing a screen to review fitness stats, tell the time and in some cases get notifications.

2. Fashion Wearables

Many wearable companies were showcasing efforts to make wearable devices look like something people would actually want to wear. Misfit announced its partnership with Swarvoski which featured two jewelled devices (one solar powered) and a line of nine accessories including bracelets and pendants. Sony was featuring a classic stainless steel SmartWatch 3 and designer bands from Ted Baker and Roxy for its SmartBand it launched last year. A wearable tech fashion show was also held during CES this year hosted by Living in Digital times which featured LED designs by Toronto-based startup, MeU.

3. Virtual reality headsets 

Avegant was showing off its impressive final design of the Glyph, a device that looks like a pair of headphones combined with an optical display. But Glyph-like designs could also be seen from the likes of Vuzix in its next generation IWear and a device called Mask from Dashbon. Samsung was demoing its Note 4 powered Gear VR and Oculus had a massive booth featuring its latest virtual reality headset Crystal Cove. Along with hardware players, there was also a huge push behind the creation of VR content. Samsung unveiled its VR content platform, Milk VR, along with a commitment to regularly creating VR content with partners like the NBA. And new 360-degree cameras such as the Giroptic 360cam could be found at the show which give amateur filmmakers a chance to create VR ready content.

4. Selfies … again

Wearable cameras were another huge trend this year. Leading mountable camera company, GoPro had a major presence this year showing off its Hero4 and competitor cameras could be found in the Polaroid, Casio and Toshiba booths. But it wasn’t just mountable action cams that will satisfy our need to capture every waking moment. Lifelogging auto-camera Narrative launched its second generation Narrative Clip 2 at the show which now boasts WiFi and Bluetooth connectivity for easier sharing and iON announced a small wearable camera, the SnapCam, which has the ability to live stream video. For a more fashionable option, UK-based Lyte was showing its camera glasses which have a 1080p/14.2MP camera integrated into a pair of seemingly normal pair of stylish sunglasses. Of course, the most memorable wearable camera at the show was Nixie, the wearable flying drone which won Intel’s « Make It Wearable Challenge » last year The device flies off your wrist, takes a picture and then comes back to you – perfect for the ultimate futuristic selfie.

World Rare Disease Day – February 28th

Today is Rare Disease Day! 300 million people worldwide are affected by a rare disease. Lymphangioleiomyomatosis is one of them, a progressive lung disease that affects women in their childbearing years.

The European Organization for Rare Diseases (EURORDIS) estimates that as many as 5.000 to 7.000 distinct rare diseases exist, and as much as 6% to 8% of the population of the European Union is affected by one. Only about 400 rare diseases have therapies…

Check out www.rarediseaseday.org

Corporate Identity Sonos : it sounds like a fresh start

From time to time I like to highlight some of the nice corporate identities I see. Today my focus is done on Sonos. For the ones who don’t know, Sonos is the leading manufacturer of wireless music systems. It allows you to stream all the music wirelessly in every room of your home with control from your Android smartphone, iPhone, or iPad.

To support their aggressive penetration on the European market, the Californian electronics manufacturer, have re-built a totally new corporate Identity in collaboration with the agency Bruce Mau design.

The result is a fresh, dynamic, vibrant, modern new identity. I personally like the fact that the initial logo has been unchanged while the whole identity is totally new. This advances the idea of a totally new music experience. Good job guys.

 

U2 & I & New York … July 30

As most of you know it already for years… I am that kind of fanatic of our dearest Irish paddies Bono, the Edge, Adam & Larry. And this year, for their Innocence + Experience tour, I have the chance to be one of the privileged to attend one gig … well actually 3 gigs … IN NEW YORK … but also in Amsterdam … and yes also in Antwerp … Stay tuned !

 

Can you say Lymphangioleiomyomatosis ?

Lymphangioleiomyomatosis , also called LAM, is a very rare (1 case on 1.000.000 patients) progressive lung disease that results in a proliferation of disorderly smooth muscle growth throughout the lungs and lymphatics, resulting in the obstruction of small airways and lymphatics.

LAM occurs in a sporadic form, which affects only women, usually of childbearing age. LAM also occurs in patients who have tuberous sclerosis.

There is currently no cure for LAM, but there is a huge hope.

BLAM! is going to be a non-profit organization, and is committed to serving women diagnosed with LAM, with a triple mission :

1. Gathering all patients being diagnosed with LAM in Belgium
Being diagnosed with LAM can be scary and requests education.
We make our mission to provide a knowledge center about LAM to help all patients and families to understand and to better deal with the disease.

2. Increasing awareness of LAM
Unfortunately, most women and many health care providers, including pulmonary specialists, are unaware of its existence or symptoms.
We make our mission to talk frankly with people about the existence of LAM.

3. Raising funds to accelerate the research to find a cure for LAM
Finding the cure we seek cost millions.
We make our mission to raise funds until we conquer LAM.

And remember, BLAM! is also known as that explosion onomatopoeia when the good smacks the villain in the face in the Marvel comics. So whatever “Blam », « Bang », « Wham », or other « Woosh », … this is exactly how it will sound like when a cure will be found !

You’ve got the gig, so … can you say “Lymphangioleiomyomatosis ”?

Stay tuned !

6 Trends in Web Design

The dawn of a new year (best wishes, by the way) is a good time to consider possible trends for the web and digital world in 2013. Picking apart what has been written on the topic and analysing how the sector has evolved in 2012, we can piece together the key processes and methods that may well feature in 2013…

Of course, we don’t have a crystal ball and this is just speculation …

1. “Responsive design” will still be with us

If we had to name one revolution in web design in 2012, a sound choice would be responsive design. Multi-media access has become today’s top priority. It is now an (almost) automatic reflex to make content accessible from any device, mobile or not, while maintaining the graphic quality of the original site. It is very likely that this way of working will be even more important in 2013 with the advent of the mobile age. There will probably be further developments in terms of ergonomics, UX and optimisation*.

Of course, we need to consider how we will adapt to different media formats such as television screens and consoles. Every year there are new formats…and, believe me, this is just the beginning! I’ve even heard talk of responsive acoustic design. Technology will never cease to amaze.

2. The mobile first era

This is hardly a surprise: mobile is in vogue…It is handy and trendy…So why stop here? Mobile designers are thriving in the digital world. This clearly indicates a desire to give people products tailored to their needs. User habits are the foundation of developments in design, ergonomics and experience – not the other way around.

Interfaces are getting simpler, which will make it easier to be “responsive”. Meanwhile, in terms of touch screens and touchpads, we are seeing a lot of “big buttons”…since people with “big fingers” are tired of tapping two keys at the same time. But be careful not to compromise the speed of access and use!

3. Typography

Just as at the end of 2012, typography will have pride of place in design. It will even be considered the signature of a site. Riding the wave of minimalism, simple letters with an attractive style, good chunkiness and just the right size, will give a design its unique stamp.

There has been a decline in the use of “classic” fonts such as Arial, Verdana and Times New Roman, leaving the field open to original typefaces (and, no, Comic sans MS, will not be making a return!). “Full” visuals and “atypical fonts” will probably remain linked, allowing photographers to create master constructions in websites, mobile and other applications. Of course, for all this to work, we need to consider the efforts of integrators and developers who are keen to lighten the weight of this type of content.

4. Icon-fonts

Just like webfonts, icon-fonts came on to the stage in 2012. The term refers to a set of icons available as a web font and thus directly integrated and usable in web design, without any need for image manipulation. Hello vector graphics, bye bye bitmap…

Amongst other things, this will allow us to resolve display problems that might be caused by Retina Display, for example.

5. Skeuomorphism vs flat design

These are pretty obscure terms, so you might like a few reminders:

Flat design reflects the current wave of minimalism. Recent Windows interfaces have been created in this mould.

Skeuomorphism (yes, this is a neologism) represents the objects or materials that surround us as faithfully possible. In other words, it is about a realistic appearance within a digital interface. Apple is a great fan of this trend (see its notepad, compass etc…).

Opinions differ on how popular skeuomorphic design will be in 2013. Some believe that it is a flash in the pan, and that minimalism will take over most of the digital world when it is gone. Others are predicting a year in which the two trends will co-exist. Finally, some people envisage a new and wholly original movement appearing … Who knows?

One thing is certain: in 2013, content will be king, above even design. The goal is to serve and prioritise content. It will no longer be good enough for a site to be good-looking, technically successful or easy to use … It will also be intrinsically useful.

6. Goodbye Flash

Finally, many people have the secret (or not so secret) desire to see 100% Flash sites disappear completely. This would hardly be a surprise, given the way this type of site is dwindling towards extinction, and the arrival of HTML 5.

 To conclude…

Whatever trend comes to the fore this year (existing or new), the objective will be to optimise internet sites (including mobile and other applications) and make them effective and visible. All of these predictions are abstract. That is why we must conjure up our own vision of the digital world and bring our convictions to life.

And never forget: “Keep it simple!”

Think outside the blog