Two cents blog

Functional #Fashun

by Jessica Berry on 20 November 2014

I’ve been noticing lately an increase in claiming downright ugly items as ‘fashionable’.

Take these Birkenstock shoes for example:

Image1Yuck.

I’m not a fashion blogger, so maybe I’m ‘off-point’. But if I was to wear something that ugly in the hope to be fashionable, I’d want to reap at least one benefit from the item. Like… wearable tech!

There has been a significant increase in the selection of smartwatches available despite consistent negative feedback about how generally unappealing they are. I think it’s safe to say they haven’t been received as successfully as first anticipated. But how are you meant to compete with traditional watches, especially if it’s a Rolex? So, I guess it was only a matter of time before companies really started to delve into ways to make wearable tech more appealing.

Behold My Intelligent Communications Accessory by Intel, shortened to MICA because that’s so hot.

If you didn’t see its initial release at New York Fashion Week then here’s the scoop. Tech heavyweight Intel partnered with fashion label Opening Ceremony to create the touch screen smart bracelet. It can tell the time, receive email/Facebook calendar alerts and send or receive texts via your ‘VIP list’ which you can even set up auto response texts for. Aside from that you can access Yelp to find restaurants, shopping centres and other establishments nearby. That’s some high tech ‘haute couture’!

However, one downside is that there is no keyboard function, so you have to speak to it in 50 words or less to create a text.

Another great feature is that you don’t need to sync MICA with a smart phone as the tech has its own 3G cellular radio and sim card. But this does mean that you would have to sign it up to a data provider and obtain a second phone number. Little MICA can last on 48 hours of battery (take that iPhone!), charge wirelessly or via USB with the input tucked away in the bracelet’s clasp.

image2

But enough about the tech specs. Intel have stated MICA is all about aesthetics and that their primary focus is for MICA to be fashionable.

It currently comes in black or white.

Well, black water snakeskin with pearls from China and lapis stones from Madagascar, and white water snakeskin, tiger’s eye from South Africa and obsidian from Russia to be exact. Both with 18K gold coating. Ooh-la-la.

MICA is set to be released in the US early next month, just in time for the festive season shopping madness. I’m not entirely sure if something like this would be on my list to Santa, I’d like to see some other styles first as ‘water snake’ and pearls just isn’t my thing. Perhaps there’s an opportunity there for ‘personalised’ smart bracelets in the near future?

What do you think? Will smart jewellery be the way of the future, or just another #fashun blogger fad?

 Jessica Berry is a Social Media Specialist at BCM

- Paul on November 20

Great post Jess. As we've blogged about before one of the main limiters of wearable tech is its clunky design. Put simply, you wouldn't be seen dead wearing it no matter how well it functions. We discovered this recently while playing with our Google Glass. Let's see what happens with this new MICA device as it looks like its objective was fashionability first and technology second.

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