Is It Time For My Watch To Smarten Up?

Is It Time For My Watch To Smarten Up?

The “right” technology usually arrives shortly before we are ready for it.  Wearable technology is here to stay but how long before these uber-smart fashion accessories start to provide real benefits to business and consumers? asks technology director at App Factory, Daniel McKinnon.

Daniel McKinnon
Posted by Daniel McKinnon

“Television won’t be able to hold on to any market it captures after the first six months,” – Darryl Zanuck, executive at 20th Century Fox, 1946.

“There is no reason anyone would want a computer in their home,” – Ken Olsen, founder of Digital Equipment Corporation, 1977.

“I predict the Internet will soon go spectacularly supernova and in 1996 catastrophically collapse,” – Robert Metcalfe, founder of 3Com and inventor of Ethernet 1995.

The wearables market is currently focused on fitness trackers, smart watches and Google Glass.  Fitbit, Jawbone and other fitness trackers are experiencing huge growth with the other two areas struggling.

The launch of the Apple Watch in April will give a significant kick to the slow-growing smart-watch market.  As a self-confessed uber geek I have been using the LG G watch for a few months now and find it useful but unnecessary.  What’s my next appointment? Which way do I turn next? Do I need to take this call? Do I need to read that email? How active have I been today? These are the kind of things you can now get from your watch. It will even tell you the time!

The smart-watch needs to decouple from the phone –without your phone near you just have a big watch.  When near your phone, it means less rummaging in your bag, or struggling with a skinny-jeans pocket to retrieve your phone.  This is not where the smart-watch benefits will end.

Google Glass uptake has been stymied by technical and privacy issues with widespread use some way off yet.  However those proclaiming the death of smart-glasses are not grasping the full opportunities they can provide.  A re-focus on industry, enterprise, and accessibility applications is currently under way meaning Google Glass and its ilk will concentrate on assisting trained people with specific tasks rather than everyday use.  At the heart of these tools is a hands-free, enriched consumption of the real world with a million possibilities.

The question is not: is wearable technology going to be useful, but when.  Our job is to imagine the potential and build the reality and that time is already here.