Watches on your wrist

I haven’t worn a watch for many years.  There’s no need these days.  There’s the date and time on my mobile phone, computer, TV.  There’s wall clocks, bedside clocks, clocks on my landline phone, on the tablet – just about everywhere.

As I sit here at my desk my Android tablet, telephone, mobile phone, computer are all in agreement that it’s 08:47 on a Saturday morning.  The clock on the wall ticks away and is the only device that is out of sync.

clockfacesOn my wrist however, is a new device that looks like a wrist watch.  It does tell the time, but in this day and age it does so much more!

My Sony Smartwatch is linked to my HTC One Android phone by Bluetooth.  It does a few more things than the digital watches of the 1980’s did.

Yes, it tells the time, but as an added bonus it has many clock faces so that I can pick the one that best suits me, or my mood, or something.

It also does the weather for me.  It tells me that I’m in Melbourne, and it’s 14°, I think the picture of a blue cloud in front of the sun indicates its partly cloudy, if I swipe my finger along the face of my Smartwatch I know that today will be a top of 27° and  do the swipe thing again I get a 4 day forecast.

Well, that’s useful!

Technology that is wearable is nothing new.  Elizabeth the 1st found a wrist-watch upon her royal arm back in 1571 and the monks wore glasses way back in 1286.  Wearable technology has been around a long time, but it’s only with the advance in technology that we see such a range of items becoming available.  The humble wrist-watch became digital and I well recall having a full calculator on my arm in the 1980’s.  It was a very ugly device with buttons so small it was hard to work.

Today’s watch gives me much more, but as yet it doesn’t give me anything I can’t live without.  It’s very much a novelty, a toy.  It’s true that it makes my life just a little bit easier, but not that much really.  As I sat talking in the CEO’s office last week, my mobile phone was ringing on my desk about 10 steps away.  As it rings my watch vibrates on my wrist, I look at it, see it’s my son and press the little red button on the watch to hang my phone up, followed by a button that says “Send SMS”.  I send a message to him that says “I’m busy, will call back soon”.  I continue with the conversation.

As I sit watching the TV in the evenings my watch buzzes and I look down to see a tweet from ABC News 24 that tells me a breaking news story and I flip across to watch the breaking news story – something I may have otherwise missed.

As my emails roll in my watch buzzes and I can read the message and if it’s important click “Read on phone” then pull the phone out of my pocket to read it.  When an SMS arrives I can read it on my wrist and respond with a pre-determined message if I want.

The watch has a phone book, I can click the icon of Michael and it will dial him, which is great if you’re on a Bluetooth headset or sitting in the car on hands free.

My appointments make my wrist buzz, that’s one thing that is handy.  During the hectic day I often find myself needing to move on to the next appointment and a gentle reminder is a simple way to tell me it’s time to get up and move on!

Wearable technology is taking off – or probably more accurately continuing to grow.  Glasses, activity trackers, smart shirts, surveillance devices to name but a few of the growing market that is about to descend upon us.  I’m not at all sure that we need this stuff, but it will be interesting to see how these novel devices can be used in a practical sense that shows a useful application to aid in everyday life.  A great example is the use of Google Glasses to help breastfeeding mothers.

For now, I’ll continue to have my wrist buzz when non-important things are happening in the world around me and wait for my  new smart watch to include a calculator

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