Have you heard of wearable computers? Wikipedia states that, “Wearable computers, also known as body-borne computers or wearables are miniature electronic devices that are worn by the bearer under, with or on top of clothing.”
To many of you, wearables are nothing new. If you use a Fitbit or other health tracking device, you are already using a wearable. But according to Ramon Llamas of IDC, “What had essentially started with simple health and fitness bracelets and bands is evolving to more sophisticated devices that augment the PC and smartphone.”
If they perform as hoped and evolve as expected, wearable computers could someday complete many of the communication and record-keeping tasks presently allocated to yacht computers.
Why use a wearable computer?
You might ask, "Why would I want to wear a computer on my wrist and conduct business using a tiny screen? Why wouldn't I just use my laptop computer, a tablet, or even a smartphone?"
In response, Wikipedia says that, “One of the main features of a wearable computer is consistency. There is a constant interaction between the computer and user, i.e. there is no need to turn the device on or off. Another feature is the ability to multi-task. It is not necessary to stop what you are doing to use the device; it is augmented into all other actions. These devices can be incorporated by the user to act like a prosthetic. It can therefore be an extension of the user’s mind and/or body.”
That’s a huge advantage to crew members who are constantly moving around the vessel, interacting with other crew and guests, and multi-tasking. Maybe it will take years before you can create spreadsheets or update your captain’s log using a tiny device on your wrist. But you could use a smartwatch to track your schedule, review your emails, and send voice messages.
The growing smartwatch market.
Smartwatch production and sales have been taking off recently. One wearable smartwatch in the news in the last few weeks is Pebble Time. A TechNewsWorld article by Richard Adhikari says that, “Pebble Time has a color e-paper display, offers up to seven days' battery life, and sports a new timeline interface that serves up information -- notifications, emails, calendars, alarms, news -- chronologically.”
The device also “has a built-in microphone for making voice responses to incoming notifications or for taking short voice notes. This feature works with major Android apps including SMS, Hangouts, Gmail and Facebook Messenger.”
Here’s a short video promoting Pebble Time’s Kickstarter campaign that shows off some of its features:
The Apple Watch is expected to launch in April of 2015. The website says, “Apple Watch represents a new chapter in the relationship people have with technology. It’s the most personal product we’ve ever made, because it’s the first one designed to be worn.”
Check out the super-slick product in this (rather long) video by clicking the following link:
Other top smartwatches are listed in this Techradar article by Matt Swider and Lily Prasuethsut.
Want help navigating the future of vessel IT?
Wearables are just one way in which computers and how we interact with them are rapidly changing. The Tech Team at Great Circle Systems can keep you up to date on the latest in the world of computer technology and how it can be applied to your vessel. Just click the picture below to get the conversation started.