With news that Google is developing futuristic glasses as well as a possible competitor version made by Oakley, it seems everyone uses the word “smart” when describing high-tech products. These are being called “smart glasses” or “smart goggles.” While this moniker has only been attributed by the media so far, my recommendation to both Google and Oakley is to create another category name. “Smart” just is not that smart anymore.
When it came to tech, “smart” once meant something. It seemed to imply simplicity, innovation, and change. Thanks to the TV and phone industries, however, the word now seems hollow and thrown away.
For the past two years, “smart” televisions and set-top devices have been all the to-do. It was a promise made by the industry with words that never actually translated into action. Every manufacturer touted its own version of how it perceived “smart” and it all turned out to be rather dumb. There was equity in being “smart,” but when words do not translate into action, they become meaningless. It is for this reason we tell companies we rebrand that they are better off executing none of our strategies if they are not willing to perform the operations that make it true.
“Smart” in many ways has been relegated to a buzzword, like synergy or streamline in business speak. You can use it as a filler, but you never want to use it for substance.
My message to Google and Oakley, don’t let the media paint your glasses with the tarred brush that the television market created. Define the category and give it meaning. Right now, “smart” glasses look like glasses with apps. My imagination, however, would like to imagine so much more than that.