April 16th, 2015

Weighing In on Wearables: Confessions of a First-Time User

We’re only one week away from getting our hands on that Apple Watch, so I thought I’d share my experience as a virgin smart watch user. A Samsung Gear 2 device to be precise. It’s not an “Apple Watch” but then again I’m not interested in comparing the two devices, as much as talking about the utility of a smart watch in this fast-paced, crazy busy and chaotic world we live in. Whether you’re a corporate type or a soccer mom I’m sure you can relate to this.

My story begins a few months ago when I was gifted a Samsung Gear 2 device, a sophisticated piece of technology that is a watch and a camera, can record your heart rate, track the number of steps you take, act as a phone and make you an omelet when you are on the go. Ok, just checking to make sure you’re paying attention.

My first time out with the watch was quite an experience. You see I’m a road warrior. I’m always on the run to catch my next flight, bag and lunch in one hand and dragging a roller bag in the other. And my phone rings. It’s the call I’ve been waiting on all day. Do I drop my bags and miss my flight to answer the call? I notice that my wrist is buzzing with the incoming call, so instead of putting everything down, I push a button on my watch and take the call as I run to catch the plane. If ever in my life I came close to feeling like James Bond, that moment was it. Then came the need to check out all the other features – I used the tiny camera and freaked people out, checked emails randomly, monitored my heart rate for no apparent reason– it was the coolest feeling. My Samsung Gear 2 was the topic of every conversation at meetings, parties and everything in between. It lasted for about a month before I realized that it was another device that needed my attention. It buzzed, dinged and lit-up in unison with my two other phones and my iPad. Like a long never-ending echo. It had its own care cycle – by that I mean charging it on a three-day pattern, as opposed to my phone that was on a twice a day pattern and my iPad that was on some other unpredictable pattern. So where’s the utility in this watch I thought to myself?

Utility?!? Who said anything about utility! Didn’t you hear my diatribe about how cool this thing is? Well if you’re dropping a few hundred dollars on your Apple Watch or Samsung Gear, cool might not be enough. I’m assuming you want to get some value out of it. I’m here to tell you that you’ll get incremental value from your smart watch at best. At least in its current state. It’s only a matter of time before standalone smart watch apps are available on Apple Store or Google Play. Real apps that can help you find your keys or turn the thermostat up or check your vitals and update your electronic medical record. But until then you’ll have to be happy with the coolness factor. I know that’s not going to stop any of you from buying that Apple Watch, but at least you’ve been warned.

Sam Ganga, President, Global Mobility Services & Mobile Innovations Officer

Tags: insights wearables

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