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.

notification

 

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.

Pros:

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

Cons:

  • 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:
wkplcwearable

Labor

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.
 

Retail

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

Health

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.
workplacewearable2
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.

workplacewearables

What Time is It!?!

It finally happened…the wearable watch is the “new thing”—not just for early adopters.
This year will either make or break public perception of wearables as a watch. With the Apple Watch soon to hit stores, there are viable options for almost every consumer (some people will never be satisfied).
samsungGear2
I have been ahead of the trend for about 2 years now, sporting a Samsung Gear 2, which proved difficult because my primary device is an iPhone. Let’s face it, I’m an Apple junkie and will never depart from my iPhone; however, I did have a Galaxy S5 to pair with the watch just to test out the compatibility.
force
My Fitbit Force was great for counting my steps, tracking my sleep and playing to my competitive nature by providing a leaderboard of active friends that I could always monitor. As part of our fitness challenge at BlueFletch almost two years ago, most of the company purchased a Fitbit.  I always made my target goal but my team was ultimately crushed by our competition.
So, being a self-professed tech snob, I’m ready for a fresh device to play with and share my thoughts with anyone that will listen.
Now that the Apple Watch has arrived, all of the big players in the mobile space will have a watch wearable offering. Here are a few of the heavy hitters.
avsa
Google released the Android Wear Operating System (OS) last year. There are a number of companies that have released Android Wear devices, including Motorola, Samsung, LG, ASUS, etc. At the time, I did not want another Android-specific wearable, but with Google hinting at supporting iOS devices I could be persuaded.
microband
Microsoft Band was released last year as well. The biggest feature that caught my eye the band’s ability to support the big three mobile OSs’ (Android, iOS, Microsoft). I had a chance to get a live demo from a Microsoft employee and I was surprised by all the functionality they were able to pack into the device’s form factor.
The next watch wearable I sport will be the Apple Watch. It seems like a natural progression from the FibFit Force and Samsung Gear 2. There are a plenty of built-in applications to be excited about, including: Apple Pay, Wifi & Bluetooth Support, Messages, Phone, Navigation, Activity Tracker, etc.
But I am most excited about the Third Party applications that will be available. Although the BMW and Telsa Apple Watch apps look cool and want to replace your key fob. I would need more than 18 hours of battery life if I am going to leave the house without my key.