Wearables are expanding to consumers’ eyes and at least one agency executive sees opportunity for brands.
In addition to recently filing for an IPO expected early next year, Snap just began releasing a very limited number of its Spectacles camera-equipped sunglasses. Spectacles are only available for purchase through a branded vending machine ‘bot,’ which currently moves every day to a newly announced location.
The IoT Daily met with Cramer’s Lindsay Nie, who was one of the fortunate few to get their hands on a pair of Spectacles, to take a look at the glasses and see how they might impact marketers and advertisers.
“What I think is really important about it is that we’re no longer capturing our pictures through this phone,” Nie, who is the head of creative technology at the Boston-area agency, told the IoT Daily.
“Now, we’re going back to not having a device and capturing the world through our own eyes again,” she said.
The glasses look and feel like most high-end sunglasses, but have two circular additions on the top outside corners of each lens. The circle on the right lens houses a camera that records circular videos and the left circle is lined with white LED lights that illuminate when a video is being recorded.
“The cool thing about these is you can talk to people. So if I was a brand ambassador and I’m telling you about iPhones and how great these are and you should buy an iPhone, I’m now capturing you looking at me, not you looking at me holding up a camera, not you looking at the camera while I’m talking to you, and I’m getting a more natural response from you and it’s more like an interview,” Nie told the Daily.
“As far as brands are concerned, you’re getting more direct contact with your customers that you’re trying to reach and then you can re-share that,” she said.
A physical button on the top left of the sunglasses triggers a 10-second video recording, which is then automatically synced to the Snapchat app on the user’s Android or iOS smartphone. The glasses currently are limited to recording videos, although Nie suggested that photo and other capabilities could be easily added to the mix by Snap with a future firmware update.
Using Spectacles is a bit awkward at first, given that the behavior of taking a video no longer requires looking at a screen. However, Nie said that the user behavior will ultimately become more natural as these types of devices are adopted by more consumers.
“The more that hardware options like this come out and it becomes more commonplace, because you know this is just the first of many, I think the more comfortable people are going to be capturing that moment when they want it and it’s going to become more natural.”
The videos recorded by Spectacles are circular in format, so playback in Snapchat is full-screen regardless of the phone’s orientation. The app crops into the circle to fill the screen accordingly as the phone rotates, giving landscape more field of view than portrait orientation, but filling the screen at all times.
However, the videos do not maintain this auto-cropping, dynamic orientation behavior when saved and shared outside of the Snapchat app. Instead, they appear as the full circle format video.