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Why Not Try Wearable Technology on for Size?

March 14, 2018

Why Not Try Wearable Technology on for Size?

Wearable technology has been around since the 1970s, albeit the devices were primitive. In 1984, Microsoft produced a watch called the UC-2000, which was programmable through a keypad using the BASIC language. Jump to 2002, and Microsoft created Smart Personal Object Technology, which redrew the technology playing field by integrating its smart software into everyday products.

Is wearable technology going to be around for a while? It’s certainly gaining more traction and popularity each day. The new wearable tech enables us to stay more connected to our bodies, assets, businesses, and the list goes on. So what types of wearable technology are available, and what do they offer you? The Virginia Society of Certified Public Accountants (VSCPA) advises you consider these factors when adapting wearable technology for personal or business use.

Personal Use

“Smart watches are obviously at the forefront of wearable technology,” says Don Logan, Director of Technology for Wiss & Company, LLP. “Activity trackers, cameras, smart glasses, smart tracking, pet wear, smart sport wear, health care and gesture controls are the other main categories for wearable tech right now. The application for wearable tech and the targeted audiences are just about anyone with a pulse.”

Some devices are hybrid devices that can track fitness, tell the day and time, measure distances and notify you when you receive a text message or phone call. Smart watches and fitness trackers have a step counter, heart and pulse rate monitor and mileage tracking. There’s also a few that can track sleep quality and altitude which can be used by professional athletes and average people alike. You can even play music or check the weather through a smart watch.

Business Use

What’s the business case for wearable technology? Actually, there’s an endless list of possibilities. Some of the more notable uses are wearable cameras; corporate training or instructional videos; calendars and reminders; and notification of emails, phone calls and text messages, to name a few. If you can think of it, there’s probably a purpose or use for any wearable tech.

Smart watches vary depending on the features and looks. They all tell time and have basic watch functionality. The main differences are the apps, built-in functions, styles and cost. The smart watch for business use right now would mostly be for communication notification and convenience.

“Just think how sitting in a meeting can much easier using your watch because you can glance down and see what’s going on, rather than noisily digging your phone out of your pocket or bag,” notes Logan. “However, keep in mind, you still have to charge the watch, update it and interact with it on your phone.”

Connectivity

Most of the current smart watches aren't completely standalone devices, simply because they lack an Internet connection. Many of the watches are designed to link directly with other devices that do have Internet connectivity, such your smart phone. Most watches connect to a mobile phone using Bluetooth technology. Once linked with your phone, everything it does comes through your smart watch. Battery life is a concern on smart watch devices, particularly if linked with your mobile phone. As technology matures, they should become more efficient, less resource-intensive and hopefully less costly.

Aesthetics

Watch styles vary from rubberized bracelets to elegant dress, available in a host of colors and designs. They can cost from a few hundred dollars to a few thousand, so it pays to shop around and get recommendations from friends, family and co-workers.

In the coming years, eyewear, watches and gesture controls look like they’re going to have a large impact of the professional work environment. Just imagine having everything with which you interact within your eye view and controlling it with physical movement or voice, without even touching your phone or other mobile device. 

“But before you run out and buy a wearable device, ask yourself exactly what the purpose is and know the differences between manufacturers and models,” advises Logan. “Performing some due diligence and obtaining some basic information will make for a more successful and enjoyable experience.”

Consult Your Local CPA

Want more great advice on investing in technology for personal or business use? Turn to your local CPA. He or she can offer practical advice to help you make smart financial choices.

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