“Once a new technology rolls over you, if you’re not part of the steamroller, you’re part of the road.” – Stewart Brand
Seeing just how quickly mobile and social media became pervasive parts of business – from advertising down to mom-and-pop shops – there’s a lot of drive to recognize the next big tech trend early and make sure your business is a part of it. Maybe it’s virtual reality, maybe it’s quantum computing, maybe health and fitness or maybe those are a little too tech-focused and less widely accessible. Seeing as leaders at CES and SXSW can’t stop talking about wearables, smartwatches are a popular candidate, but if that’s the case, when is the right time for your business to start investing in smartwatch tech?
Smartwatches Could Revolutionize How We Do Business
On the one hand, smartwatches seem to have strong potential for revolutionizing both the business and consumer spaces. Easy-access scheduling tech like smartwatches have the capacity to bring back the beeper style of scheduling and communication, making it easier to organize quick meetings, keep real-time conversation going about projects, and have more durable work schedules. Many of the time-management apps in development are similarly driven to make it easier for businesses to coordinate temporal depth and focus, time management making conversations about time more clear. At the same time, the popularity of smartwatches would change the face of SEO and website design. Google recently updated their search metrics to optimize mobile-friendly sites; if smartwatch tech becomes popular, the same may apply to smartwatch-friendly search in 2-5 years.
The most talked-about smartwatch, the Apple Watch, as shown above, was released four weeks ago. Debated for months before its release, there’s little argument that the technology is impressive. A 42mm display, stainless steel case, Apple S1 processor, 8GB onboard storage, and upwards of 18 hours of battery life is nothing to laugh at, and Apple’s release strategy in itself made the Apple Watch newsworthy. Marketed as a wearable technology – much like existing smartwatches – the Apple Watch was not available in Best Buy or Walmart but sold online or through fashion outlets. By doing so, Apple made it clear that their newest release is not just a smartwatch; it is a duel technology/fashion accessory.
Promising Tech With Significant Issues
Sounds promising, right? Unfortunately there are a few very serious reasons why wearable technology isn’t exactly convenient yet. For one thing, the Apple Watch in particular is only compatible with the iPhone 5 and above. Smartwatches also currently use the same texting and email apps as your smartphone, but it’s much harder to send messages or scroll using one hand and the small screen. Overall, it’s hard to make use of some of the search settings and activities fitted for larger tablets or smartphones. This means most people aren’t using it for more than basic blackberry-style scheduling. However, the biggest difficulty for smartwatches, if they want to take over the social technology space, is a working app landscape. The Apple Watch may not have reinvented the wheel of smart technology, but it sure changed the way we’re interacting. Until they can adapt this to smartwatches, a lot of the big players who pride themselves on seamless UI aren’t going to be moving to smartwatches.
In a lot of ways, the Apple Watch and smartwatch tech in general is a lot like Samsung’s new Galaxy Edge. The curved edge seems to have some ergonomic benefits, and you see it and think, “That’s pretty cool.” Yet, at the end of the day, aside from a few minor features, neither is doing anything overwhelmingly new yet. If you’re the kind of person that likes to be part of the conversation while new technology is being developed, it may be time to get a smartwatch. The tech is interesting, and the knowledge you’ll gain from using it may be pretty powerful if smartwatches start to become major mobile devices. It’s worthwhile to have an idea as to what’s going on, if it only qualifies you to contribute to conversations with major advertising execs. However, if you’re looking to revamp your company tech, consider skipping the smartwatch for now.