Smartwatches, Why and Why Not


One can’t turn on normal broadcast media these days and not be inundated with the latest smartwatch advertisement. So the question that must be asked is this: Do you need one? When the first smartwatches entered the marketplace, they were a novelty at best. They tracked your steps, maybe monitored your heart rate, and maybe buzzed you with reminders about incoming emails, phone calls, sms messages, or just to get up and move around. These early devices were more of an extension of your mobile phone, an external sensor that via bluetooth and the appropriate app, could log the data coming from your wearable and summarize your activity or lack thereof.

If you look up on Amazon, “smartwatch” you will see that the range of devices that are presented. If what you were looking for was a “Dick Tracy” styled, phone on your wrist, they make those. Untethered from your mobile device, the smartwatch can have you talking to your wrist in no time. The advantage of these SIM card wrist communication devices is that they allow the wearer to be tracked via the built in GPS signal. These types of devices are perfect for monitoring an elderly parent or keeping track of your children. These devices will typically have an SOS button that rings an emergency list of numbers.

Where’s Fido?

The next tier of devices are commonly called pet trackers. These are not the bluetooth/wi-fi enables devices. These, too, have their own SIM chip and are not meant for voice communication. Rather, these devices, using the very available 2G communications spectrum, allow for the tracking of anything you can attach the tracker to, as it moves about in the outside environment.

How about FREE

So, the question remains, should you invest in a smartwatch? Can you afford the steep price of the higher-end models? Would you be willing to finance that watch for two years at $20 per month? Some things to remember: when you pair that smartwatch with it’s corresponding app, your data, your bio-data, is now being captured and stored (quite possibly sold or shared) in a way that helps to build out an even more complete meta-profile that is you. Are you OK with that? But wait, there’s more… What if a health insurance company was willing to “give” you that same watch, for free? Now, they know when you are moving, when you are sedentary, and when your blood-pressure is going through the roof! Is “free” worth a more expensive health insurance policy next year when it’s time to renew?

No matter your choice of device, there are benefits to having the technology on your wrist. It can help you become more mindful of your health. It can encourage you to move around in a manner that benefits your life. It can help you break the habit of lifting your phone every few minutes to check the time or to see if you have a text message waiting. Smartwatches are the future that has arrived. We can move towards them or hang on the watch you already own. Either way, with the Christmas season around the corner, don’t be surprised if little elf doesn’t gift you one this season!