To Apple Watch or not to Apple Watch – that is the question! Wearable technologies have been disappointing up to now.

OK I realise this is my second post on wearable technologies but I’m starting to rethink my love of these devices. I’m focusing on health devices here, and I have been a huge supporter of them as they make me a much more health-concious person. My constant checking either on the device itself or via an app the number of steps I’ve done; the calories burnt; the accumulated number of kilometres per week is making me compete with myself – and this is impacting positively on my health. But they just don’t work like they should and this is a problem. My Fitbit – stopped charging or more precisely, the little ‘prongs’ in the charging dock bent and hence I couldn’t charge it. This was only 7months into our relationship. Disappointment number 1. Don’t suggest calling or trying to contact Fitbit, did that, got ignored, did it again, was ignored again. Nuff said, the device is now gathering dust on my bookshelf. Shame, as I really liked it. Moved on to a Polar Loop, OK this made sense as I have a Polar watch and heart strap – so everything will sync right? Nope. Turn again, no matter what I do, they don’t. Disappointment number 2. So I’ve given up and treat them all as separate devices. Don’t get me started on the battery charge, I usually only get 3 days before the ‘Battery Low’ message appears, not the 7 days it is supposed to last. My dream of have a fully synchronised health device system is once again in tatters. I gave my partner a Garmin Vivofit for Christmas, thinking he could possibly achieve the level of synchronisity that I can only dream of – our issue here? The dratted thing won’t sync with the software program, it is always 7-10days ‘behind’. Disappointment number 3. I’ve also tried apps on my smartphone, with some success, but then you have to carry your phone with you whilst you exercise, not ideal.

apple-watch-0So in this general fug of disappointment I’m looking at the Apple watch with both excitement and a growing sense that it probably won’t measure up to what I imagine it could do. The idea of replacing all my other devices, and even my smartphone, for one wearable device – SUPER appealing. But I will wait, I will sit back and watch and see. The reviews have been quite mixed, largely the criticism seem to be around the interface and the fact that it is confusing. Maybe its because it is different to other Apple devices and we have been trained to use them one way and now we have to change? Not sure, but as with all new Apple products the reviews are often mixed, yet the market remains strong. They look great, they look really nice and I imagine they are going to be as fashionable as the old Swatch watch when it first came out – you never had just one, you always had multiples and each year there were new ‘must have’ designs. So am I going to stop pursuing wearable technologies, no, as an idea I really like them but I don think they need to slow down on the production of new models and fix some of these issues. Don’t loose users through bad experiences its really hard to get market share back.

Digital Convergence

digital convergenceOne of the consequences of living in a digital age is that all of my different roles, parts of my life and pursuits are starting to converge. I hesitate to make any statement beginning with “my generation” but the reality is that when I first started working my private life, my interests and hobbies and my professional life were all very separate. They were much more physically tied to specific places – such as where I spent free time or what I liked to do in those moments were not at all connected to a device nor were they online. Now, these different aspects of my life are tied to different digital devices; I have a work ipad, desktop computer and other digital tools – when I go home I have my personal ipad and laptop. Some of devices are used in both spaces, such as my iphone and laptop but its what I am doing on these devices that has made me think about the blurring and convergence that is happening. Time is a big issue, the separation between these two spaces is no longer constrained to being a ‘working day’, I rarely leave work at work. The sense of being connected to that part of my life is constant, either through email or databases or even just Googling a particular topic or idea. How I spend my leisure time is increasingly digital – I have a huge addiction to games, love them in all forms, video, music, apps – I find it relaxing and addictive. I also seem to have been using more web-based tools to replace things I used to do ‘physically’ such as bookshops replaced by virtual libraries, book by ebooks, my personal trainer has been replaced by an app and smart device, tv by the web, going to a shopping centre and walking around replaced by online shopping…..its all quite endless. The nature of my work has started to closely resemble my personal life and how I spend it – I feel like my worlds are converging, no longer do these feel like separate spaces. This isn’t a bad thing, I don’t regret any of these changes, in fact I think it has made life much easier as the skills I need and constantly use keep improving making both spaces easier to use and negotiate around. Not sure if many would agree with me, but I think the convergence has been a really interesting side effect.