First Month with the Apple Watch

Following up on my ‘What Time is It!?!’ blog post, I am finally ready to write about my Apple Watch. I’ve had it for about a month – long enough to share my early thoughts.

RMwatchI purchased the 42mm Stainless Steel case with the Black Sport Band, which will set you back $599.00. I really wanted the black stainless steel version but it was only available with the Steel Link Bracelet, which added another $500 to the already high price. The only difference in the Sport version and the Watch is that the Watch has a different metal for the case and the glass is sapphire instead of glass.

The setup process is very easy and Apple-like. Out of the box you will receive notifications, phone calls and, if you elect to install 3rd party applications, you will get notifications from them as well.



Notifications are a major reason why someone would want the Apple Watch in the first place. Notifications appear much like they do on an iPhone with the ability to be managed individually.

fitnessOne of the things that I loved about my Fitbit was it’s ability to accurately track my Fitness. The Apple Watch does a great job of tracking different fitness activities while also capturing heart rate too. Personally, I really like getting credit and awards for meeting my fitness goals. Knowing that at some point I can show off how constant I am adds fuel to my motivation. However, one thing that is starting to get old is having my watch tell me that I have been sitting too long and need to stand up for a few minutes. I guess I am not ready for machines/computers to start telling what to do just yet.

heartCommunication also plays a significant role in the user experience of the Apple Watch. Receiving my notifications for text and phone calls when I am away from my phone means that I can properly screen my calls without having to sprint across the room. But the fact that if someone important is trying to reach me I can speak Dick Tracy-style on a phone call or have Siri dictate a message for me is pretty handy.

One thing Apple wanted to do was add another level of simple but useful communication (probably as a differentiator). I can tap my watch and that will send a tap to someone else’s watch, send animated emojis, send my own heartbeat and even send simple drawings. I did not think I would like the new communication types, but I find that my wife and I use them quite a bit.

One of the less talked about features is that the Apple Watch has 2gigs of storage for music and can be paired to a BlueTooth headset. Keeping with the spirit of an iPod, it is ideal for working out, walking or jogging.


  • Stylish
  • Precise (Touch Interface and Haptic Feedback)
  • Easy Integration


  • Expensive. I bought the stainless steel 42mm version and could have easily bought a new iPad Air 2.
  • Battery life is not ideal. One solid day of normal use

Screenshot 2015-05-27 09.05.04

My Verdict:

I like it and I am pleasantly surprised. I was honestly prepared to have wasted my money on a first version Apple product. I know in true Apple fashion there will be a slightly better one next year and I will convince myself that being first was cooler than having the latest version. However, I am already over one negative in the fact that I have already purchased the device and if a 3rd party band can extend the life of the battery then I would not see any negative for purchase.

Wearables and the Worker

Earlier this year I wrote about wearable devices and the various devices I have worn over the years, ending with my decision to purchase the Apple Watch. With this post I wanted to take the time to highlight how wearables could make the enterprise workplace better; more productive, safer and smarter. With computing devices getting ever smaller, faster and providing more data; wearable devices will provide a unique opportunity to make work easier for some.

Enterprises are already looking for appropriate use cases within their business that can take advantage of wearable devices.

Advances in consumer mobile devices, the availability of next-generation ruggedized enterprise devices and the possibility of wearables are providing an array of benefits from notifications/alerts, health tracking etc. Now that smart phones are here to stay, the gap between enterprise ruggedized devices and consumer devices is narrowing. So much so that the same next generation devices used in industries can run the same applications that millions of us enjoy on our personal phones. With such a parody of technology it should be an easy transition for wearables to become common in the workplace.

I wanted to explore a few areas where efficiencies could be gained:


In the Warehouse workers could use wearables to track the steps and position in a facility while performing task. This could provide useful pattern data that could be analyzed for more efficiently planning and delegation of task. Think UPS no left turns for workers performing task.


Store associates could be notified of pending Buy Online Pick-up In-Store (BOPIS) orders, remove a task from the queue and mark it complete from a wearable watch device. Also, store associates could be notified of customers waiting to be helped in areas that require associate interaction to complete a purchase. Blinds, Carpet, Appliances, etc


Accident Prevention and worker safety is a serious concern for some companies. Here are some statics from OSHA:

  • 4,585 workers were killed on the job in 2013
  • Out of 828 construction deaths:
    •  302 resulted from Falls
    • 84 – Stuck by Object
    • 71 Electrocutions
    • 21 – Caught-in/between

I do not have a practical analogy but what I think would be interesting is a wearable that provided a ‘spidey sense’ haptic feedback to warn of potential dangers. Kinetic is working on a cool wearable to reduce the injuries caused by workers lifting heavy objects.

How can wearables improve quality of life? The Microsoft Band already detects stress and there are rumors that the Apple Watch could detect glucose levels. A company with an aging workforce or a workforce tied to products known to lead to health problems could leverage wearables to provide feedback and education to make workforce health a priority. Being able to detect stress, anxiety, overwork, irregular breathing or heart problems could provide timely alerts and/or notifications that suggest a resolving action/behavior.

Rising healthcare costs are a real problem for large organizations and our nation as a whole. There are some of us that wake up every morning and live life like tomorrow is not promised. But there are some that care about what they eat, how active they are and overall longevity of life. For those people tracking their fitness and body composition, providing additional data points allows for healthcare premium rates. For those that need improvement, the same data can be used to provide a plan and show potential savings. Think Progressive Snapshot for healthcare insurance.
Contextual Awareness

With a combination of natural disasters and violent episodes happening in schools, responding to random tragedies is a job requirement. Office safety is sometimes over looked and not taken seriously even when training or information is being disseminated. Having a discrete way to notify administrators of a possible dangerous situation or knowing how to account for (and potentially communicate with) victims after a disaster could be improved upon with the use of wearable devices.

In retail, possibilities include a contextual based watch face that knows where I am in the store and provides only the data that I need (current sales information, recalls, what items are out of stock). Even clienteling applications that provide store associates with customer data could provide valuable insight when making purchases.

Another interesting development is exoskeletons. Although, they are not what you typically think of when discussing wearables. I find them extremely interesting and I am excited to see what the future holds.


Virtual Reality, Not just a Hobby

When I was 12 years old, Virtual Reality was this mind-bending technology and experience that I just had to try. Reading articles about VR and seeing its applications in movies only spurred my curiosity. Through the eyes of a 12 year old, VR seemed like a life-changing experience. However, my only outlet to experience VR was a first person shooter game at a Dave & Busters. Eventually, after spending way too much money on said experience, I was left unimpressed and have not paid much attention to VR again, until now.

VR has been around for quite some time. Some of the first uses of the term virtual/artificial reality can be traced back to the 1970s. MIT created the Aspen Movie Map in 1977, which was a virtual simulation of Aspen, Colorado. The “goggles and gloves” systems that pioneered the systems we have today were created in the late ’80s by VPL Research.

Ok, enough with the history lesson. The issue today is why VR is not just a hobby or research project but has actually been adapted in various ways in order to have a more tangible impact:

VR systems over the years have become extremely powerful and sophisticated. Especially for institutions and enterprises that need to train a workforce to master a task that has inherit risk and/or expense. Some of our biggest institutions are leveraging VR to re-invent how we perform a task.

  • Medicine: VR combined with remote surgery can allow doctors to perform surgery anywhere while simultaneously being present in the same room.
  • Training: VR is being used to make certain training scenarios safer, affordable and scalable, e.g. flying an airplane, battlefield training, vehicle simulation, dealing with emergency/hazardous conditions.

My interest in virtual reality has been piqued by the VR renaissance in the consumer space. Sega and Nintendo tried to trick us with some expensive and crappy systems in the ‘90s. Now—thanks to the efforts from Oculus—people are starting to rethink how VR can be leveraged in the consumer space again. (Not to mention that Facebook’s $2 Billion [with a ‘B’] acquisition of Oculus sent a clear message to other tech giants about who thinks VR is back.)

Even as a developer, there are really affordable kits that allow you to start creating your own VR experiences.

Entertainment is where, I believe, we will see the most VR-related augmentation. Sony and Microsoft  are both working on projects related to VR and Augmented Reality (AR) that will surely leverage their console gaming platforms.

Google and Samsung are leveraging their mobile devices to provide VR experiences; today is the day that you can strap a pair of googles on a toddler as a babysitter.


So, for us everyday consumers, VR is back and this time around it will be more affordable, immersive and widespread than ever before.

That being said, I’m not sure if I can get over how ridiculous people look when wearing VR headsets in public:

Screen Shot 2015-03-25 at 10.16.11 AM



South by Southwest Festival is this week in Austin, TX. Although I have too much work to attend this year, there are a number of confirmed sessions for SXSW Interactive that I would definitely attend if I was present.

There are a number of interesting technology topics and demonstrations ranging from security/privacy, drones, virtual reality and bionics. The year for me is starting off with enterprise companies embracing mobile UX/UI and a willingness to entertain usability suggestions. Below are a few sessions that I would definitely attend in the hopes of finding the next tidbit that will help me continue to deliver innovation solutions for other companies.


Interesting Topics

Electric Car – Thoughts

A friend of mine recently asked for my thoughts about electric cars: which one would I purchase? As a car guy at heart, I am constantly reading news about current cars and new companies looking to have the “next big thing.”

I am not in the market currently, but if I was to purchase an electric car, here are my thoughts:

What’s Your Range?

This is important because some people just do not do well with stress and lack of range could cause said person to spontaneously combust. I recently moved to Midtown Atlanta, Georgia; I work out of Midtown as well. On a quiet day, I probably drive all of 4-6 miles. On the weekends— even if I plan a day full of errands—I am probably not driving more than 60-70 miles.

No Compliance Cars

Compliance cars are a battery-electric vehicleS sold only to keep an automaker in compliance with California’s zero-emission vehicle rules.

As of right now, I would not consider purchasing the following cars:

  • Honda Fit EV
  • Fiat 500e
  • Toyota RAV4
  • Ford Focus Electric
  • Chevrolet Spark EV

I’m not saying that anything is wrong with the cars above, but they were developed only to meet a state’s regulation. The design, technology and passion that were a part of the car’s creation are not appealing to me.


What Features are Important?

This is not a complicated question, but think about what features in a car are most important to you. Also, think about what you would be willing to sacrifice if budget became an issue.

  • Do you need navigation?
  • Heated seats?
  • A mobile application so that you can monitor your car from halfway around the world?

Electric cars tend to cost more mostly because of batteries and the technology that supports the electric architecture. So, knowing what you can live without may make the final difference in price.


Chevrolet Volt (MSRP $34k): This is an all around solid car. For my needs I would rarely need to purchase gas and I could still drive this out of town if zombies ran us out of Midtown. Chevy put a lot of passion into this car and proved that Chevy could produce something innovative (and tangible). I dig its story and the fact that most of the auto journalists I respect have positive feedback about this car.
Nissan Leaf (MSRP $29k – $35k): This is almost a no-brainer for those who want an all-electric car but cannot afford a Tesla. Nissan has sold a ton of these cars and given federal and state tax credits, purchasing a Leaf is very affordable.
BMWi3BMW i3 (MSRP $42k – $46k): I am a BMW guy at the core of my soul. I have been driving some form of the BMW inline 6 for the last decade plus. Although the i3 is not a great looker, it drives like a BMW and you are surrounded by all of the creature comforts that make a BMW special. Also, BMW has a loaner program through which you can checkout an X5 for the weekend when you need to drive out of town for those family visits.
Tesla Model S ($70k – $104k): I am really excited for Telsa and I love the Model S. Although it is pricey, it’s the most capable electric car you can purchase. As a tech and car guy, I have enjoyed watching Tesla grow and prove the car industry pundits wrong. The fact that they are constantly improving the car with over the air (OTA) updates and even creating an upgrade package for the out-of-production roadster is a testament to how committed Tesla is to creating wonderful products.

Since Tesla released the Model S with the autopilot feature, I feel like a Model S is worth every penny. If I am not willing to spend all of those pennies, then the BMW i3 would be my next choice.

3 Ways to Make Innovation A Priority At Your Company

Why are companies creating innovation centers when being an innovative tech company is not their core competency? Is it for press, to attract new hires or to win the lotto of being the “next big thing”?

The Merriam-Webster dictionary defines innovation as:

1. a new idea, device, or method
2. the act or process or introducing new ideas, devices, or methods

So let’s put a process in place that can create real innovation at your company:

1) Focus on hiring the right people

– Is this person a good fit for the role that we need?

If they just don’t have the skill set, they probably won’t work.

– Are they passionate about their job?

Tech employees need to be constantly learning to stay ahead of the curve. Are they living and breathing their work?

– Are they a good fit for the company?

Will this person be someone I want to work with on a project? Will they bring the team morale up?

2) Focus on company culture

– Don’t just be a project manager that’s another excel guru.

You want a PM that cares about having projects completed on time and building great products.

– Don’t just sit in meetings to go through the motions.

Give each employee a voice and let them participate, give feedback and create new ideas.

– Is it a fun place to work?

You can’t be innovative if you are stressed out and have no mental bandwidth to think outside the box.

– Do your leaders rally the troops?

– Do they motivate the team? Stay late to finish projects?

– Do you reward people for good work or celebrates successes?

3) How do you rally your team to accomplish their goals?

– Provide space and opportunities.

– Are you supplying your team with the tools needed to succeed?

  • Technology
  • Training
  • Resources—team hours, reflection time to make the process better

– Are you giving incentives to improve company culture?

We give out bonuses for employees at BlueFletch that go above and beyond:

  • Most viewed blog post
  • Referral bonus for new talent
  • Finding new sales leads

What other ideas does your company implement?