What’s the point in wearable activity trackers?

What’s the point in wearable activity trackers? They can be expensive, require constant charging, need to be synced on a regular basis and can be easily lost. Further more, many people find they only end up using the devices for a short-while and gain no benefit from them.

Alternatively, smartphones have the capability to track exactly the same metrics as activity trackers. Assuming you have a smartphone already, the app you need for tracking is likely to be free, or at least only a couple of £/€/$. You may think battery life is more of an issue, but consider that you charge your smartphone on a daily basis, and have much more incentive to do so, and you’ll find it really isn’t so bad.

Now ask yourself – are you ever without your phone? The answer for most of us is no. If we have a device with us at all time, that is tracking our movement and sleep, then we are very likely to forget it is tracking.

And tracking over a long period of time requires that you forget about it. In fact, I believe so many people get fed up with their wearable activity trackers because they check it too often and see no change. But go back to the past 2 years of data, that you forgot you were tracking, and you will be able to see clear trends.

The phone is changing too. Once upon a time a phone was a device with speaker, microphone, buttons and small screen. Now it is a computer, games console, MP3 player, WiFi hotspot, torch and even spirit level. In the future, we may well wear phones on our wrist, or have them implanted into our heads. It really isn’t unlikely at all.

So while we see wearable activity trackers as a huge market right now, it may not last long. As soon as the smartwatch stops being a watch and becomes a phone, we’ll see this change. Meanwhile, the industry tries to stay one step ahead of apps like Moves, with designer accessories, or even just becoming an apps themselves.

I say all of this while still using an activity tracker myself. But I am extremely excited to see where the future will take this product market, and how the phone will begin to take over the role. Do you have thoughts on this? Leave a comment below.

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