I blogged a few weeks ago about the possibilities that the smartwatch might offer market researchers. Of course there is one bit of kit already – well almost sort of already – out there today. Google goggles …or GoogleGlass as it is more properly known. If you want to check out what GoogleGlass can do for you take a look at this video on the Project Glass site (I only wish my life was that exciting). Surely portable hands free connectivity like this has to be the ethnographers ultimate fantasy tool right? Seeing (almost) what people are seeing. Literally getting to know exactly what something looks like to a person has been one of the holy grails of market research (along with surveys people will actually complete).
The possibilities really do seem endless: unaccompanied shops, product testing, website testing, any kind of experiential research will be brought to life through the users perspective. It gives us a (rough) form of eye tracking, without all the kit, calibration and intrusive nature of the hardware.
If combined with other technologies coming onto the market,such as the rather funky/quirky apps from innovation companies like neurowear we are getting closer to the stage where we can measure what people are seeing and thinking.
Maybe this kind of technology has the power to completely disrupt the whole quant survey industry too. Through measurement of what people do, rather than asking them questions directly – we can get the same answers less obtrusively, more honestly, and quicker.
Of course we’re nowhere near there yet, but there is nothing wrong with gazing into the future, with hope, excitement and a healthy dose of cynicism about what this technology could means for our personal freedom, and the power the corporations that wield this tech will have over us. But that’s a different story altogether.