News Column

Get the news from wearable technology

August 11, 2014

WASHINGTON, USA: Even if you don't open a newspaper, turn on a television, log on to a computer or pull out a smartphone, you can get news using wearable technology.

News Republic'sGilles Raymond says that news on wearable devices opens many new opportunities for aggregation services. Image: WAN-IFRAAs wearables gain traction, news purveyors are eyeing these devices for their potential to deliver headlines and more to people who want to stay up to date.

Some news apps already have the capacity to deliver news notifications, or full articles, to smartwatches or eyewear such as Google Glass.

"We are going full speed on smartwatches," said Gilles Raymond, Chief Executive of News Republic, a mobile app that delivers news to mobile devices from hundreds of outlets.

Raymond told AFP he expects people will find it useful to not only get headlines but full articles on a smartwatch as the wearable trend gains popularity.

"When the iPhone came out, people were saying that not one would read news on a phone. Now nobody is saying that," said Raymond. "People will read articles on a watch. They may not read 300 stories, but the thing is people adapt quickly to new technology," he added.

Raymond founded News Republic in France and has expanded to other European markets as well as North America and China, aggregating news from hundreds of outlets, including AFP, Al-Jazeera, Reuters and The Associated Press.

Quick notifications

Roman Karachinsky, Chief Executive of the news aggregation app News360, also sees a future for news via wearables, but mainly for quick notifications they might not otherwise see.

Roman Karachinsky of News360 says that news alerts will prove more popular than full articles for wearable devices rapidly being developed by major manufacturers. Image: Show You"We want to change the formula from one where you go and seek information one where information finds you when it's relevant and useful," Karachinsky said.

He said the newly introduced Android Wear platform for Google allows for News360 alerts to be sent to some smartwatches, and to Google Glass.

These alerts fulfill a need of getting information out quickly and unobtrusively, whether it is a sports score, stock market figures or a breaking news story.

"Instead of digging around in your pocket for your smartphone, now you can just look at your wrist or glance up to your Google Glass," said Karachinsky. "It's a very transformative experience."

It remains unclear at the moment how fast wearable technologies will catch on, and how people will use the devices.

While News Republic's Raymond sees a demand for full articles, he differs from News360 on Google Glass.

But he said smartwatches may gain more traction when they become independent enough to allow people to shed their phones.

Short items to drive readers to news sites

Analyst Roger Kay says that the glanceability of news on wearable devices will be a fundamental element for their success. Image: Analyst RelationsRoger Kay, Analyst at Endpoint Technologies Associates, said news on smartwatches and Google Glass will probably be limited to short items that can be absorbed in a glance.

"The glanceability of it is important," Kay said. I don't foresee people squinting at their watches to read articles; they have enough trouble reading on their phones," he added.

Ken Doctor of the media research firm Outsell said news organisations may be able to bring in more readers with alerts tailored to their interests, by delivering through wearables.

Doctor said that major news organisations are now delivering millions of email alerts on important news for readers who register, and this drives more traffic to their websites. The same could be true for alerts on wearables.

"The news alerts business, which has been around for 20 years, is undergoing a huge revival," he said. "This is a technology that works well on smartphones and will be adapted for wearables," he added.

"People expect alerts for news that is important to them," Doctor said. "And I would think the ability of wearables to deliver these alerts could spur news reading," he said.

Source: AFP via I-Net Bridge

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