During the past few months I have been spending quite a lot of time travelling between clients and our offices located around the world. I am always looking for ways to streamline various aspects of my life with technology, travel in particular. However a recent trip to the UK made it clear to me there are changes happening and smart watches can no longer be dismissed as a novelty or just a geeky toy. They are on their way to replacing your whole wallet and more.
Now let me start by saying that I have had an Apple watch since they were first released in the UK, and during that time I have endured my fair share of questions and ridicule, not least from those at my office… Even my co-founder at spaarks, Catherine, questioned my jumping on the smart watch bandwagon. During this time I have stayed tight lipped, but thought what better way to talk about it than to share my recent experience.
My Travel Buddy
Let me take you through my day:
5:30am My alarm on my watch wakes me up. Thanks Apple watch, but I do ask myself why I booked such an early flight.
5:45am My Tripit app on my watch advises me that my flight is on time and tells me what the weather is this morning at my destination, raining in London, surprise surprise!
6:00am Arrive at the airport and my boarding pass is ready for me on my watch and I can use this to go open the fast track security gates with no need to pull anything out of my pockets or bags; nice.
6:15am Listen to Spotify on my phone. Wait, how did Justin Bieber get there? Must have been my wife who added him to my playlist… I look to my watch and quickly swipe to change songs and Bieber is banished. Phew!
7:35am Land in London, flick my watch out of flight mode and my watch informs me my bags will be on carousel 4. Thank you very much Apple Watch and Easyjet.
8:20am I head to the tube to get to my first meeting, which my watch had sent me a reminder about. I rummaged through my bag for my oyster card but couldn’t find it. Guess what I used instead. You got it! I used my watch instead of a paper ticket or oyster card.
11:00am Coffee time, paid using my watch.
1:00pm Lunch, paid using my watch.
7:00pm Dinner, again paid using my watch.
9:00pm Check in to the hotel with my booking on my trusty Apple watch.
The thing I realised at the end of the day was that my wallet never left my bag. It got me thinking, do we need a wallet anymore?
All this is just the first generation of smart watch too. With inevitable improvements in hardware to come in future releases, as well as many more apps being specifically designed for this growing market, smart watches are definitely becoming more mainstream, and it looks like they’re here to stay. And for me proof of this is that some of the very people who were making fun of me a few short months ago have now purchased their very own smart watches (you know who you are).
Where to from here
I believe the exciting part of innovation is not the technology in itself but the ideas on how to use technology, applying it to our everyday life or business. The watch or other wearable devices will be increasing utilised for all of the following uses and many more:
- Security pass
- Hotel room key
- Bar tab
- House key
- Bike lock
- Car key
- Personal alarms
- Health alerts
It is interesting to see the merging of technology and fashion, especially combining functional technology with designer brands. Recently Apple collaborated with Hermes for the Apple Watch Hermes edition. They look set to continue to focus on the high end market with the recent hire of Paul Deneve, the former chief executive of Yves Saint Laurent. I think we will see a huge number of new collaborations in this space and traditional watch makers and fashion brands need to be moving towards having a smart watch range.
This is just one area of technology which is changing rapidly and it is an exciting time for people and businesses who know how to look for opportunities to use new technologies to enhance their business offer, stay ahead of their competition or create new industries.
I love keeping on top of the changes in technology and I will continue to explore interesting gadgets, innovative applications and highlight new trends. As we say at spaarks; businesses must be ambitious, be excellent, or be gone.