In the realm of technology start-ups or new product launches, the introduction of the new Pebble E-Paper watch is remarkable more for how it was born than what it is.
News media coverage of the Pebble focuses on the way it was funded: through Kickstarter, the crowd-sourced independent project financing start-up located in lower Manhattan mere blocks from both the NYSE and Zuccotti Park. The Pebble E-Paper Watch project sought $100,000. They have received, to date, well over $10 million.
And their funding round closed Friday, May 18th.
One could expect interest to die quickly on this story. But the Pebble E-Paper watch has relevance far beyond its actual launch date. That relevance is captured in three letters: SDK.
The introduction video created to generate interest in Pebble mentions that there will be an SDK – which stands for “software development kit” – available. What this means in English is that anyone who is so inclined can create custom functionality for the watch. Thus, the Pebble Watch can be repurposed to become a form factor to suit a business objective.
In even plainer English, the Pebble can be a new iPad ultra-mini, sharing data access with another Bluetooth-enabled device, to deliver all manner of content and directives to participating users. Consider the following potential use cases:
- For the pharma industry, Pebble could be a way to deliver truly personalized medication delivery prompts to an individual person on a real-time basis.
- For major content distributors, Pebble allows them to create opt-in customized licensed experiences for fans on a 24/7 basis.
- For retailers, the Pebble linked to a location-aware device can ensure that notification of a special in-store offer that is only available for a limited time is – well and truly – close at hand.
- For entertainment companies, Pebble enables a reinforcement of the artist’s presence on an hourly – or more frequent – basis through loading in of relevant content cued to appear according to a baked-in schedule, updated when the device itself is updated.
In today’s world, the presence of an SDK facilitates and speeds the evolution of the item it serves. By having an SDK, Pebble went from being a clever watch to a multi-purpose form factor that brands will clamor to be a part of. The company has opened itself up to the world, and now has the potential to become much “bigger” than the sum of the units they ship. This evolution will result in even more interests and use cases being served. The ability for companies to establish even closer connections with their stakeholders – to establish even deeper engagement – has taken a giant leap.
The only question that remains is, which company will be first?