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Early adopters

My Take | February 27, 2023 | By: Janet Preus

With any new technology, innovation, product or idea, there are certain people, market segments and enterprises that are most likely to be willing to try it. Many, in fact, look forward to trying out something new just because it’s new. The husband of a friend of mine was always the first one to get a new vehicle: the first minivan in town, the first Lexus, the first Hummer. It was his thing; he was the sort of person who was taken with experiencing the capabilities of these new offerings. 

Businesses survive—or not—by how effectively they engage with these “early adopters,” because it’s the early adopters who will convince the rest of us to give up our ten-year-old sedan—or Fitbit when our clothes will be able to do what a Fitbit does.

There are certainly many more wrinkles to iron out in the wearable devices market arena, but solutions will be found, and improvements will come. The question that’s a bit trickier to answer has to do with consumer acceptance: when will the timing be right? What price will be acceptable to the potential buyer(s)? And (here’s the big one) how do the producers of this smart device guide possible early adopters to an understanding of the product. They need to fully grasp what it can do, its reliability and safety. 

So, somebody has to convince the early adopters that the product is worth the price that producers must charge in order to commercialize it. In reference to launching a new business, a highly successful entrepreneur once told me, “Somebody has to sell.” I would add, “and share the news.” 

The success of a new smart product also depends, of course, on need, or what’s at stake. If it’s your health, or the health of a loved one, there’s a lot at stake. If a new smart wearable can give you or your loved one a better quality of life, more freedom, less stress and worry, a reliable means to (effortlessly) sense and track vital signs, the product’s price starts to look like less of an issue. 

That’s where smart textile products have taken hold—at home, in healthcare facilities and in work environments where health considerations are especially critical. That’s where our feature by Marie O’Mahony, “Trends in smart textiles for health and wellbeing,” picks up this story, and shares the news that someday may be just the thing that you need to know.

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