Consumers Are Obsessed With Products That Give Them Information



onsumers these days have an insatiable demand for information, according to the consultants at new possibilities unlocked by technology, consumers want to visualise data, map it, track it, alert it, evaluate it, and use it in ways that make life better.

“Info Scarcity” is one of dozens of megatrends listed in the premium database at trendwatching to identify some products that fit into this trend. We see it everywhere, like in the following products.

This clock tracks your sleep patterns in order to wake you up at exactly the right time.

Available from July 2012, the Renew SleepClock from UK-based electronics brand GEAR4 is a dock which facilitates the tracking and management of sleep patterns in conjunction with an iOS device. Via inbuilt sensors, the Renew SleepClock detects users' deep and light sleep phases, and can then wake them up at the most appropriate time. The device generates personalised recommendations based on individual sleep patterns, while the associated free app enables users to monitor sleep habits over time. The Renew SleepClock retails for USD 129.95.

Trends: Benchmarked Life, Data Divinity

Courtesy of

Twine connects everyday objects to the Internet, like sending you a text when your laundry is done.

Available to buy from September 2012, Twine is an wireless electronic device which enables consumers to connect everyday objects with the internet. The device is integrated with a cloud-based service and equipped with a temperature sensor and accelerometer (which detects orientation). Via a simple web app, individuals can program and monitor Twines; for example, users could track their home's temperature, with Twine sending them a tweet if it's over 90 degrees, or opt to receive a text message when their laundry is done. Twine was designed by US-based MIT Lab's project Supermechanical, and is priced at USD 99.

Trends: Alerting, InfoLust, Eco-Metering, On

Courtesy of

Stick-N-Find means you never have to lose your keys again.

Stick-N-Find is a Bluetooth-enabled sticker that consumers can place on their possessions so that they can be found via a smartphone app. The disc-shaped sticker is 4.1mm thick and can be affixed to TV remotes, phones, house keys, passports or even pet collars. The corresponding app can be set to Radar, which displays the distance from connected items, or Virtual Leash mode, where the user receives an alarm if their possession is removed from a certain radius. After launching on crowdfunding site Indiegogo in December 2012, the US-based creators received the funding needed to go into production. A pack of two Stick-N-Find stickers is priced at USD 35.

Trends: Infolust, Time Saviors

Courtesy of

Trakdot shows exactly where your luggage is.

Available in the US from April 2013, TrakDot is a small signal-transmitting device designed to track the location of luggage. Users register the device, adding details of their mobile phone number and email address, and then place the TrakDot in their suitcase when travelling. Via technology similar to GPS, the location of the tracker is monitored and its sensors detects when it is in the air. When that the plane has landed, an SMS or email is sent to alert the owner if their luggage has made it to the same destination. The TrakDot is priced at USD 49.99, with an additional activation and annual service fee.

Trends: Alerting

Courtesy of

Lernstift lets you know when your writing is illegible, misspelled, or grammatically incorrect.

Unveiled in Austria during November 2012, Lernstift is a electric pen which alerts users when they make a spelling, grammar or legibility mistake. Electronics integrated into the pen enable it to recognise a wide variety of writing movements and alert the writer by vibrating when a mistake has been made. Calligraphy Mode points out flaws in form and legibility, while Orthography Mode detects spelling and grammatical errors.

Trends: Alerting

Courtesy of

This jug will tell you when your milk is going bad.

In May 2012, the winner of the The Quirky + GE Project competition (a contest looking for ways to incorporate software into daily activities) was announced; a container that sends an SMS when it detects if milk supplies are low, or if the milk is turning. The jug sits on a plastic base with integrated sensors which track how much milk is in the container, whether it has been left out too long, and if it is still OK to use, and a green LED slowly turns orange as the milk goes off. The base also contains a GSM radio module, SIM card and antenna which alert consumers if they need to buy more milk.

Trends: Alerting, Infolust

Courtesy of

This app will tell you the best thing to order at every restaurant.

Available to download from May 2012, is a mobile app developed in the US which helps diners find out which are the best-reviewed dishes at any restaurant. The free app displays the best dish, drink and dessert at restaurants, based on the results of reviews sourced from sites including Yelp and Foursquare. Photos, reviews and overall ratings are available for each dish, and users can also share their own opinions by voting for the dishes they like.

Trends: Transparency Triumph

Courtesy of

This educational game responds to kids' emotions as they learn.

Released by SMARTeacher in July 2012, the Prodigy computer game uses an immersive approach and a wizard fantasy world to teach kids more than 200 maths skills spanning grades one through five. In Q1 2013, the Canadian e-learning company added the feature of a wireless emotion-sensing bracelet to the game, which uses lie-detector technology to recognise kids' emotions. If a child is feeling frustrated by the game, they might might be offered a hint in response; if they are feeling bored, Prodigy might increase the difficult level. Reports generated by the game allow parents and teachers to keep track of progress.

Trends: Infolust, Time Saviors

Courtesy of

This body scanning booth will help you pick out clothes.

In April 2012, Canadian technology company Unique Solutions unveiled Me-Ality; a free and non-invasive body-scanning booth designed to measure body shape and suggest apparel to fit customers. Installed in malls in the US and Canada, when individuals step into the booth, radio waves are emitted and reflected off the water in their skin, giving accurate body measurements in under 10 minutes. Data is then analysed, generating apparel suggestions from different stores inside the shopping mall for the best fit.

Trends: Data Divinity, Infolust

Courtesy of

This site will tell you the best time to buy any electronics.

Launched in July 2011, US based Decide is a website that advises consumers on the right time to buy electronics. The site uses data from a range of online sources to calculate the best time to buy a particular product. Each product on the site is accompanied by a cautionary note; either 'buy before prices rise', or 'wait for price drop' or 'buy just released', which refers to holding out for a new model. The website does this by searching through blogs, news websites and web articles for information pertaining to previous product models, historical pricing, product rumours, and the latest product news to reach a decision. The service is free to use and covers cameras, laptops and PCs, prices are given in USD, however the service can be used by consumers worldwide. The company plans to add mobile phones and tablets in Q4 2011.

Trends: AlertingCourtesy of

This tennis racket will provide in-depth data on your game.

Set to launch during 2013, Play & Connect from French brand Babolat is a tennis racquet which features integrated sensors providing real-time information on gameplay. The device can detect service speed, the power of each hit and ball spin to give players feedback on their performance. Sensors located in the handle also monitor the type of stroke and the position of the ball on the racquet, enabling analysis of both technique and game statistics. Data is sent wirelessly to a computer or smartphone, enabling users to view data and set goals.

Trends: Benchmarked Life

Courtesy of

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