There are a lot of areas in the field of mobile and wearable devices that still have room for innovation, but companies are starting to pave the road to new consumption methods that lead to greater device adoption.
Let's face it - as fast and as much as technology has been changing in recent years, the way we consume and engage with content has remained the same, dictated by our biology and our historical way of presenting that content. This is especially true when it comes to text; our eyes must move from character to character, line by line, in order to read and retain information.
While device hardware continues to evolve, I believe there is a lot of opportunity for innovation in the field of content consumption. I'm talking about the type of innovation that we saw when Apple first introduced the iPhone in 2007; it was a great hardware platform, but the major adoption and change in behavior was really driven by the level of innovation and ideation that happened in the field of application development. This type of creativity is what shaped today's mobile-first behavior.
I believe we are at a similar tipping point when it comes to wearable devices. We are starting to see some innovative and creative technology solutions, but there is obviously still a lag in adoption of these devices.
One of the reasons for that slow-moving momentum behind wearable devices is that it is still hard/challenging to consume content in a meaningful and user-friendly way.
Therefore, as we move to a world where wearable technology and smaller mobile devices are commonplace, the way we consume content on them has to change along with them.
While doing some research into the future of content marketing and distribution, I came across something very interesting - a Boston-based company named Spritz.
Spritz provides a solution that delivers "spritzed" text quickly, in single words up to 13 characters in length in a special display called the Redicle. The words flash on the screen one by one (at variable speeds according to user preferences). The reader can consume books, articles, Web pages - any written text - more quickly. The text is delivered right where the person is already looking (you can read all about how Spritz works and the technology behind it on its website - where you can also spritz a page to sample it). There's no lag time inherent in reading because there are no eye movements, no pages, just fast-streaming text that is easily viewable on small screens. It's super efficient because your brain wastes no time searching for the next word. It's spritzed right at you.
What's so cool about Spritz (well, there's a lot of coolness about it) is that it can deliver large volumes of textual content onto small screens. I believe that this is the type of innovation that will give wearable devices, connected homes, and smaller screens everywhere the type of momentum they need among consumers. After all, why are we reading in the same way we did 100 years ago when everything about the way we can create and receive information has progressed so far ahead?
This could be the game-changer for getting more widespread Google Glass adoption. For example, people complain that Glass has a small display field that shows only a few lines of text. Spritz solves this "problem" because of the way the app serves content one word at a time. I wonder if we'll see more people walking around checking emails or text messages on Glass. Smart watches will become more usable as well because Spritz is purpose-built for the very small screen.
Aside from being able to deliver the content on a small screen, Spritz studies have shown that users retain the content better as well. By enabling the brain to focus on each word it promotes faster reading speeds and higher retention rates...not to mention the portability and super convenience it provides. Imagine being able to:
Spritz may create a new world of speed readers. It will certainly usher in a new way to consume content on mobile and wearable devices as well as connected homes. While I am in no way associated with Spritz and its partners, I urge you to test out one of the many apps available or the demo on spritz.com. I am up to reading at 700 words per minute (this article took me just a little more than a minute to complete using the Skim iPhone app). Spritz is a great step forward toward better content consumption and leveraging smaller screens, but as of today it's still a standalone. I would love to see it become a default option in mobile browsers, mail, and message readers.
So to bring it back to the beginning, I believe that there are a lot of areas in the field of mobile and wearable devices that still have room for innovation. I hope that companies like Spritz will start paving the road to new consumption methods that lead to greater device adoption.
(Obviously my advertising-focused mind is already thinking about ad delivery in Spritz and how you could theoretically have a customer complete an ad before he realizes what it is.)
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Benjamin Spiegel is the managing partner, vice president of innovation at Catalyst, a GroupM agency. He is a digital advertising veteran with more than 14 years of experience in media, data, and technology. For the past three years, he led the search practice across the GroupM Network; today, Ben leads the innovation practice at Catalyst providing thought leadership and innovations for its Fortune 500 client brands.
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June 10, 2015
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