I have to admit that I was originally excited about the onset of smartwatches – I am from the 'Dick Tracy' era and the infamous '2-way wrist TV radio' that every kid dreamed of owning. My excitement soon died down when the first wearables for the wrist were introduced and you either had to be into fitness (which I am not) or own a smartphone to get the most used from your new smartwatch…and not only own a smartphone, but one with the same branding as the smartwatch, so it was fairly easy to resist my impulse buying defect and wait for the next generation.
The smartwatches are starting to evolve and adding more features and very soon we will be able to use our smartwatch as a totally standalone device, just like Dick Tracy. I know that each current device has its pluses and minuses, some excel at certain tasks better than others, but I am talking about an all-in-one standalone device to make and receive calls, messaging, emailing, and even exercising…if it must. I actually envision that smartwatches will be right up there with Google's Glass – highly functional and useful – and not just to an individual, but from educational purposes to even military applications.
This will not happen overnight, but studies are showing that by 2020, only six years away, smartwatches will add a tremendous value to our society by running applications that can truly enhance our lifestyle. First and foremost, they will become a highly efficient means to assist us in our everyday lives – not simply a calendar, but able to remind you of meetings or offer up real-time traffic assistance via GPS capabilities. Medical and health monitoring will also be big – it can monitor your pulse, manage medical records, and could even alert you to a possible heart attack. Your smartwatch could monitor exercise routines, body movements and even help you eat healthier food. They can play a big part in our personal safety – it can notify the proper authorities if it senses that you are being mugged or in a car accident, getting first alert personnel on the scene faster.
The study also believes that corporations will actually use smartwatches as a means to optimize the workload and safety of their employees, all by using a smartwatch for repetitive data. It would be a quick and convenient way to enter data on the go – parcel deliveries, building security checks, etc. With real-time notifications, doctors and nurses could either receive alerts or communicate with each other…the possibilities are endless. Secure payments could even be made with a smartwatch in a matter of seconds. Even a simple communication of notifying someone that you will be late for a meeting or lunch engagement.
Smartwatches could help in the area of education – use it as a translation device when visiting a foreign country, or simply to learn a new language while driving to work each day. When visiting a new place, use it as a tool to give you some fun facts, or even to find your way around town. How about when shopping, you can scan the objects to want more information about or even ones that you wish to purchase – giving you a running total of your bill and help facilitate your checkout.
On a more serious note, smartwatches will have access to public service announcements to help increase the public's awareness of natural disasters or epidemics, or simply to cast an e-vote. They will be an invaluable tool for researchers in the field of medicine, sports, and psychology studies as well as for clinical trials in the pharmaceutical industry. Let's not leave out the many military applications from simple communications to increased security and ways to monitor and improve tactics. Rather than looking around a corner with your head, you will look around the corner with your wrist.
The smartwatch field is going to grow tremendously over the next few years – there are only about 30,000 programmers right now and by the end of 2014 that number will reach 100,000. Android Wear makes it easy to work on the Android side and the need for iOS-based programmers expected to grow next year. Pascal Koenig, Managing Director of Smartwatch Group said:
"Visionaries around the world have started to realize exciting smartwatch applications: from airlines in Spain to banks in New Zealand to car manufacturers in Japan to data analysts in San Francisco. Based on watches that become more and more elegant, these visionaries will be at the core of smartwatch growth."
With an expected sales figure of 1.6 billion smartwatches sold in 2020, compared to 1.2 billion sold in 2013, shows an annual growth rate of 4-percent. However, in 2020, 50-percent, or 800 million of those smartwatches will be connected to the internet and that is where the possibilities are endless. Mr. Koenig predicts that the term 'smartwatch' will be lost as people will begin to expect that a watch can do more than simply tell the time – a smartwatch will become every watch. Please join us on our Google+ Page and let us know how you feel about the smartwatch industry – have you already purchased one, waiting for something more, or think they are a waste of time and money…as always, we would love to hear from you.