Here come the hearables

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With voice UI becoming commonplace, the race to develop the must-have hearable is on.  If you’re not familiar with the phrase, a ‘hearable’ is tech that you wear in or on your ears.  More than just headphones, these new gadgets offer a wide range of applications and are being developed by everyone from crowd-funded start-ups to big name brands.

A few of the physical advantages of hearables are clear, such as having hands-free feedback or prompts that you can’t miss even when you’re not looking at a screen. Some are not so obvious – such as the ear being a good place to sense body temperature or heart rate.  Either way, hearables are fast becoming a viable alternative to wrist-worn fitness trackers and personal assistants, while also offering extra possibilities such as real-time language translation and listening enhancements.

Some hearables need to be linked to your phone; some are self-contained; some specialise in a particular area, like fitness coaching; some offer more general help throughout your day, but what they all have in common is the interface is audio led.  It’s another indication that we’re moving away from the screen for many of our online interactions and, although it’s not quite clear yet how this will affect and search, it seems inevitable that audio will be increasingly important for brands in the years to come.

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