From the computer to the smartphone and now the smartwatch. Tech is getting smaller, but is smaller better? The concept of a smartwatch is that it allows the wearer to use apps that increase the abilities of the “timepiece” and improve facets of your business and personal life.
Growing Interest in Smartwatch Applications
In 2013, those companies working in smartphone technology included Apple, Acer, BlackBerry, Google, LG, Foxconn/Hon Hai, Microsoft, Toshiba, Sony, Samsung, and Qualcomm. Avi Greengart, a consumer-device analyst at Current Analysis, suggested that 2013 would be the “year of the smartwatch.”
The Apple Watch, released on April 24, 2015, was highly anticipated by early adopters. Though users enjoy the relatively long battery life, they are unclear about how to fully utilize smartwatch technologies in their lives. Is the smartwatch more than just another high-tech toy or smartphone accessory?
Google has seen users fall into two main groups, the hyperconnected and paradoxically, those wishing for a measure of disconnect. David Singleton, Android Wear Director, states: “We actually started to notice this [divide] internally developing the products. We knew before we launched, there was a set of users who felt being hyperconnected was something they wanted strongly, “[Knowing there’s nothing urgent helps them feel really relaxed.” Singleton continues, “In the second camp, the folks want to be connected, but they work more in triage mode, which means, it’s great for me to be able to know if any urgent interruptions came in, like a phone call, or SMS from my wife. But other stuff, maybe my email, I’m happy to deal with later.”
What do you want from your smartwatch experience and can it help in business?
Prospective users of the smartwatch are at different places within their technological needs. For the adventurous, there are new things to discover with the smartwatch. Smartwatches can extend the functionality of other devices and offer apps that can customize the user experience. A full spectrum of features awaits the curious.
1. Tell time, you know, like a watch. This should be a no-brainer, but according to Eric Migicovsky, chief executive of Pebble, their first device missed this obvious feature. As they scaled the business, Pebble smartwatch features and abilities grew.
2. Run a mobile operating system. Smartwatches allow you to integrate apps and extend usage of all of your smart devices.
3. Get every communication or tailor for specific alerts. For example, Google’s Android L smartphone software has a feature called Priority Notification Mode. Users can specify how they want to receive business and personal communications from all calls and emails, to select parties, to none. Whether you need to know everything in real time or need a short hiatus from the world, smartphone and smartwatch features let you expand or limit your communications as preferences change.
4. Customize the notifications that you wish to see. Be informed about breaking news, stock trends, the weather, how your team played and your social media feed.
5. Extend your calendar to your wearable. All of your appointments and alerts can be forwarded to your wearable, ensuring that you never miss an important meeting or special date.
6. Feel when there is an important call or message. Vibration settings can immediately let you know when a new alert appears, without the need to stare at your wrist.
7. Travel smart. Smartwatches can provide live traffic information, report public transport schedules and flight schedules.
8. Know where you are and where you are heading at all times. GPS navigation and maps can assist you in arriving at an unfamiliar tradeshow or important business meeting. Walking with Google Maps helps to keep you on track towards your destination with on-screen directions and vibrations when you need to change streets.
9. Portable remote control. Playback audio and video files using a Bluetooth headset. Watch webinars, tutorials, updates on products and in-house meetings at a time and place that suits your schedule.
10. Communicate. Make or receive phone calls, dictate text messages or use suggested responses without the need to pull out your phone.
11. Translate. Smartwatches with cameras can point to and translate text with the Google Translate app. Microsoft’s first translation app lets you translate a phrase from English to specified languages. The translated phrase can be read out or shown to other parties. Phrases can be pinned for later use.
12. Hassle-free payments. Pay your bill with a tap with the Apple Pay feature. Your business credit card information can be stored and used without opening a wallet. The Wear Tip Calculator that runs on Android Wear is one app that allows you to quickly figure out gratuities.
13. Pull up or create notes without a Smartphone. Retrieve recent notes on the smartwatch and dictate new notes with the Evernote app. Very useful for when you need to remember something for later use or recall a key fact for an upcoming meeting.
14. Get organized. Trello is a free app that helps users create to-do lists to prioritize the urgency of their tasks, what is in progress and what has been done. It allows an individual or a whole team to ideate, create boards and work together on projects. It is available for use across devices on multiple platforms including Android and iOS.
15. Manage working hours. With the simple At Work app, a tap records when you begin and end work. Track hours that may be paid separately, for different clients or at different hourly rates. Figure out your working hours over the month, calculate overtime and add in work events.
16. Know who you need to know before the introduction. Highlight, available from the App Store and Google Play, allows users to find out more about people in their proximity who have uploaded their information. You can learn how to work together and about interests that are valuable to kick-start and steer a conversation. Networking and sales can benefit greatly from more insight into leads and potential business associates.
17. Send and store important messages securely. Goldkey’s Secure Communicator boils down to having an Android smartphone attached to your wrist. Goldkey’s app allows for sending and storing encrypted files.
18. Catch up on your reading of important documents when you have a few moments. The Smart Reader for SmartWatch is an application for the Sony SmartWatch (1 and 2). Users can open text files when they need to read on the go or find that factoid for the upcoming presentation. The app is available on Google Play.
19. Get food! Eat24 is an app that offers convenient online food delivery service 24 hours a day. This app saves your payment information, locations and previous orders for the ultimate in convenience.
20. Healthy worker, happy worker. According to the CDC, absenteeism costs employers $225.8 billion. Work-related stress costs employees and is the number one workforce issue and a serious occupational risk. Employees need to be energized at work. The fitness and health functions found in smartwatches provide reminders, incentives and stat tracking to get people moving. Reduce stress, increase focus and improve work performance. This is just as important as other software tools for virtual or remote teams.
Some recurring health conditions can worsen during particularly busy or stressful times. Did you know that medical costs for diabetics are double the costs of those without diabetes? The Smartwatch Group offers a brief summary of hardware and software that enables your smartwatch to monitor your health continuously and discreetly. Jawbone and Samsung, among others, have sensors that can “watch” your activity, pulse rate, and sleep cycles. Smart Monitor targets patients with Epilepsy. Carunda24 helps those with high blood pressure, and Biovotion is useful for diabetics. It is astounding that the smartwatch is considered to be a device that can assist in helping users with health conditions and offer electronic patient records in the case of an emergency. In other words, a watch that can save your life.
21. Make communications and behaviors conditional, connect with the Internet of Things. Google’s If This Then That, or IFTTT app, will perform a function if a specified event occurs. Receive a text message if your boss sends you an email. Turn off lights or a nest thermostat when running out the door. Generate an automatic, personalized response for particular individuals. If the UV index is high, a text can tell you to reapply sunscreen. The uses are endless.