The Premise. Everyone’s had a moment where they meet someone new and everyone pulls their phones out and circles up to swap information and add a new contact or two. It’s more convenient than it used to be, but interrupts socializing for much longer than a simple pass of the business card used to do.
The Product. Looking to bring back that elegance and seamless networking is PIE (Personal Interactive Experience), a smart band that users wear on their wrist to interact with the world around them. PIE can take advantage of its proprietary protocol called FLEX to interact with other PIE devices. However,, for the foreseeable future, it will have to interact with other products using NFC and Bluetooth 4.0. PIE can be used to make purchases at any contactless terminal, trade information with other PIE users, and download any data from NFC hotspots. With a simple shake of the hand, potential employers can get a copy of a resume, or simply swap contact information.
The Pitch. In the extremely clever campaign video, we see a bearded PIE user go through his day, mostly through his eyes and perspective. While out and about, he does what people do: networks, enjoys company, meets new people, and engages in business, but does so with the assistance of the slim band on his wrist. Because the video is largely artistic in its narrative, the rest of the campaign goes over exactly what PIE does and how. PIE needs to raise $150,000 for pretty much the entire process, from materials and design to packaging and shipping.
The Perks. A PIE unit with all features, diary app, and charging base can be had by the end of this year for $110, plus $20 outside of Europe for shipping. A limited Indiegogo version is available for $165, a 2-pack for $200, and for those that can’t wait, a developer tier is available for $345 that will ship in August.
The Potential. The PIE is kind of a neat idea that’s just a little too late. Because it operates entirely on NFC and Bluetooth, there’s no reason that this kind of functionality can’t be employed on a smartphone or other smartwatch or band, either by hardware or by app. It doesn’t do enough to supplant any form of human interaction, and potentially could only be brought to its full potential by other PIE users, meaning early adopters will have a hard time getting the most out of the device, let alone explaining to a store clerk that they can just tap their wrist on a POS terminal to make a purchase. There’s more here in theory than there seems to be in practice, making the hopes of this product rather “PIE in the sky.”