At Dreamforce 2014 in San Francisco, artist turned tech entrepreneur will.i.am introduced i.am/PULS, a wearable smartband that works untethered and independently from a smartphone, yet works with wifi, bluetooth and data (via AT&T) to make and receive calls, uses a voice assistant powered by Nuance, plays music, has maps, tracks fitness, connects to apps, social media and much more.
there are leaders
and there are followers
and followers… follow leaders
and leaders… are followers too
but they don’t follow the crowd
they follow their gut
they follow their instinct
the dance to the beat of their own drum
they have the pulse because they follow their dream
they go against all odds
they’re the odd balls
they’re punk rock
they are artists
the black sheep
and a lot of people think they’re outcasts
cast from society
but the reality is
they are an army
of strange, imaginative, wild and complex, beautiful people
and they are leaders
they are cultural tastemakers
they are trailblazers
these are the people that set the stage
these are the people that rock the stage
they are the ones who think of things you can’t fathom
and imagine the things that have not been imagined
i am will
and we are fashionology
Calling it fashionology, a vision for wearable technology based upon fashion, will.i.am’s keynote launch included his personal story of where he came from to how he intends to transform tech as well as leverage youth’s interest in culture to learn more on how to connect to tech, code and develop apps.
“It’s not a smartwatch…don’t call it a watch” he told the packed hall at the Moscone Center. While it tells time, it’s just one of many features. AneedA, the voice assistant, using Nuance’s voice recognition technology, will address one of the key challenges for a smartband, being able to interact with voice more than just touch.
Salesforce CEO Marc Benioff, who has invested in will.i.am’s company, called the product “phenomenal” and part of the revolution to mobile and wearables. Salesforce also is working on enterprise apps for this and other wearable devices.
During the presentation, will.i.am explained his deep respect for Jimmy Lovine, who together were part of the founding shareholders of Beats by Dre. With the acquisition of Beats by Apple and the new Apple Watch coming soon, will.i.am says people will want options and while the Apple Watch is amazing, this will be another option.
will.i.am’s foray into tech includes a full team of over 40 engineers and after funding the initial buildout, he’s raised a 7 figure number, saying he’s dedicated to making this a success for the long-term. Several times during the presentation, he talked about the importance of connecting fashion, culture and technology, but also how this will be an opportunity to engage more people into tech. He brought Andre Leon Talley, contributing editor to Vogue, to speak on fashion and technology.
Near the end of his presentation, a student (Cynthia Erenas) from his home community of Boyle Heights of Los Angeles, where he grew up in the projects, came up on stage to talk about how will.i.am’s efforts to bring STEM programs to schools have had massive impact, from raising GPA’s to interest in robotics, learning Mandarin and developing apps for the new PULS device. She thanked will.i.am and it not only brought him to tears, but much of the crowd.
i.am/PULS will have a data plan option with AT&T in the U.S. and O2 in the U.K when it’s launched.
To register for the pre-order interest list or learn more, visit www.iampuls.com.