Smartwatches have been around for a few years now, but only with the release of the Apple Watch have they really started to become popular.
However, there is a bit of confusion about these devices. What are they really for? Do you actually need one? The public at large remains unsure just how necessary they are, and many people do not know what the watches are capable of.
Here's a guide to keep you up to date, complete with tips on how you can make the most of a smartphone's features in a professional capacity.
The smartwatch basics
Smartwatches are currently designed to pair up with smartphones, and they are capable of transmitting data from the phone to the watch, usually via Bluetooth. At the time of writing, they can do very little on their own without an accompanying smartphone, but there are rumours that the next Apple Watch will be designed to be used more independently.
At the moment, you have two main options to choose from: the Apple Watch, which runs on iOS and pairs up with iPhones; and Android Wear watches, which work with Android phones. In addition, there are other watches like Pebble that work with both phones.
What can smartwatches do?
Smartwatches are capable of many tasks, most of which will involve connecting with a smartphone to take advantage of the more powerful technology inside. Some of the most common tasks include:
- Send and receive calls, texts and emails
- Dictate voice messages
- Get turn-by-turn directions on a map
- Share your location
- The Apple Watch has a Digital Touch feature where you can draw a sketch and send it, or tap on the phone and send the tap to another wearer
- Health features such as counting your steps and keeping track of your movements, working out how many calories you burn during the day, and providing you with daily targets.
How smartwatches can benefit busy professionals
Smartwatches are about more than just fitness apps and keeping in touch with friends. They can also be used by professionals to become more productive.
Firstly, they speed things up when it comes to getting quick updates on the go. If you regularly communicate with many people throughout the day, taking out your phone each time you receive a message can be time consuming. With a watch, you can get everything you need at a glance before deciding whether or not to reply.
Making calls via a watch may seem strange at first, but it can actually help to save you time at work. You can also reply using pre-written responses, which saves more time. In addition, if you work in a noisy environment, it may be easier to feel vibrations on your wrist when someone contacts you compared to the phone in your pocket.
If you travel for work, you can get travel information on the go, which can make things like getting your boarding pass and checking your reservations a lot quicker. If you arrive in a new location, you can also get turn-by-turn directions right on your wrist.
Keeping on top of your schedule is always essential when it comes to being productive, and a smartwatch can make this quicker. Simply speak something into your watch to book a meeting, take notes, make a voice memo and more. Then you will receive a notification directly on your wrist when you need to be somewhere or do something, and there is no need to check your calendar.
Choosing your smartwatch
If you already have an Android device or an iPhone, this is likely to affect your choice of smartwatch. Alternatively, you may want to choose a Pebble or a similar watch that works with both systems.
Some watches will have more advanced features even if running the same OS. So a cheaper Android Wear watch will not necessarily be just as good as a more expensive one, and you should always check all the features the watch comes with and compare it to other watches to make your decision.
The battery life is likely to be an important factor. Most watches will last through the day and require a nightly charge. However, others like the Pebble use e-paper and can last longer. This will affect the sharpness of the display, but you will get more life out of it between charges.
Watches have always been about style, and smartwatches are becoming more stylish all the time. However, if you are planning to use yours at work, make sure you choose something smart that you would not mind having on your wrist in meetings. You may also want to look into customisation options, which are better for some smartwatches than others.
Improve productivity with a smartwatch
Smartwatches are still in their early stages, and they have yet to catch on in a big way. However, they are constantly improving, and new features are being developed all the time.
As a busy professional, you can take advantage of many of the features smartwatches include while you are working, so find a model and see how you can use it to boost your productivity.
Robert Barnes has spent many years in a senior position within the telecoms industry. He relishes the opportunity to share his opinions and advice online.