4 min read
As a young, technology-oriented workforce, employees here at Reward Gateway couldn't wait for Monday’s big ‘Apple Event’.
The latest from the tech gods promised updates on a number of existing products, as well as the grand announcement we’d all been waiting for - more details on the all new ‘Apple Watch.’
The event started with a number of updates, from Apple TV, to iPhone and Apple Pay, before the very impressive announcement of ResearchKit - an innovative way to crowdsource medical research to help fight diseases. Health and wellbeing is still a major focus here at Reward Gateway both for fulfilling the needs of our own employees and also our clients who so often ask us for our opinions and help with wellbeing solutions for their organisations.
With Apple’s work so far to help research Asthma, Breast Cancer, Cardiovascular Disease, Diabetes and Parkinson's - it’s not inconceivable to picture a world where using a combination of their technology and collective data from millions of iPhone users, we can see the end of a number of diseases worldwide. ResearchKit therefore, as a product, represents the kind of social innovation that really interests us here at Reward Gateway.
Our main interest however definitely centred around the Apple Watch. Following our Wellbeing 2015 initiative last summer, we couldn’t wait to stack up the new Apple Watch against the other wearable and trackable technology we’ve been trialling. Over the last 6 months, we’ve been accumulating many of the latest bits of technology on the market, from activity trackers, to smart scales, to posture correcting devices - with each one being relentlessly put through it’s paces by our inquisitive workforce, eager to try the latest gadgets out there.
Before Christmas, we ran our very first 100 Healthy Days campaign; an initiative designed to encourage our staff and clients to consider their wellbeing for 100 days in a row. The campaign encouraged staff to focus on anything healthy; from eating healthier food, exercising more, getting more sleep, or improving financial wellbeing. Participants shared their activities across social media, and the outcome was truly spectacular, as our whole workforce steadily became more aware of their personal wellbeing and made sustainable changes in their lives to work towards a happier and healthier lifestyle.
By completing this epic quest, Reward Gateway staff were not only left with a sense of achievement, but also the chance of winning an Apple Watch - which hadn’t been released yet. From the teasers we’d seen from Apple, this was definitely a good enough reason to cut down on carbs for 100 days or so. And so, we awaited this update with a great deal of anticipation; curious as to what the company synonymous with innovation and style would have in store for us.
On Monday, Apple CEO Tim Cook described the Apple Watch as:
In some ways, we certainly agree. It does appear to be the most advanced timepiece ever, with ‘Glances’ (the information you use the most being just a swipe of the screen away), the impressive number of apps available to control everything from your music to your garage door, and the ability to answer calls from your wrist and set reminders via Siri. This is a truly special piece of kit that will no doubt make the Apple Watch have-nots extremely jealous as they begrudgingly reach all the way down to their pockets to remove their phone for these kinds of functions. Once again Apple have delivered a product we never knew we wanted, but we all now need.
If you’ve read our post from when the watch was first unveiled by Apple, you'll see that many of our predictions hold true. A device that actively combats inactivity for sedentary workers and improves communication via the multitude of 3rd party applications we all use so often today, will surely have a big impact on the way we operate whilst at work. With partnerships already announced, such as the popular productivity app Evernote and the CRM software Salesforce, we can see that wrists across the world will now be empowered with their own little business centres.
Yet in terms of activity tracking, the Apple Watch comes up a little short. It doesn’t seem to deliver much more than what’s already on the market in much cheaper devices (I’m testing the FitBit Surge now, which actually has more tracking functionality). There’s definitely a sense amongst our staff - particularly our 5 Apple Watch winners - that more was expected, but it’s delivering just enough to satisfy those who are beginning to take interest in ‘the quantified self’.
The activity tracking drawback aside, it’s clear that with the slick design, a reasonable entry level price for the ‘SportWatch’ (starting at $349) and the bundles of great features crammed into such a small, good-looking device, that Apple are on to a good thing here.
After months of anticipation, Apple finally announced a date for its smartwatch: April 24th. With further innovation and the legions of others who will flatter Apple by entering the fray, it seem clear that Smart Watches have arrived and they’re here to stay.