About a year ago I started to use a piece of wearable tech to track my activity levels. I picked up a Jawbone up from a shop in Bangkok and with that my wearable journey began. Like any new relationship things started off great, I unboxed and charged my Jawbone and would wear it every day. And I stuck with the everyday use for about 3 months, until it stopped working.
Once the Jawbone stopped working I reached out to the company via twitter and they were all over my request for a replacement. They shipped one too me here in Thailand, no questions asked. Once it arrived in the mail I started to wear the Up again, and things were going well, until it started to irritate my skin while jogging. I tried a few lotions and some other possible solutions, but the more I wore the device the worst it got.
So, just before the six-month mark I fell into the category that most wearable tech users do, and that is I stopped using, and at right around the same time. Even though I was committed to using it continuously when I got it, and I did find real value in the way it allowed me to track my activity and the gamification of my data against my friends who have the device that wasn’t enough to motivate me to keep using it. A few small issues lead to me shelving the device once and for all.
I still wanted to track my activity levels as I spend most of my time at a desk, or table, or some other place where I can work on my laptop or tablet; either coding, writing or reading. Since I was no longer hot on the idea of an activity tracker as a wearable I had to figure out how to approach it.
The one item I always have on me is my smartphone, which was the gateway device for the Jawbone anyway. In reality, my iPhone has all the sensors it needed to do the job of the Up, I just needed to find an app that would fit the need and that provided me a good user experience. After much researching and some trial and error I ended up going with an app called Pacer. I just let it run in the background on my phone and it takes advantage of all the sensors in my phone to keep track of my activity level for me and allows me to look at trends and analyze my activity. It also allows me to create groups of friends and we can track our progress against each other and having fun with it.
Ultimately this experience reinforced the idea that single use wearables will have a very short market life. The pervasiveness of smartphones that are packed with sensors and have a massive library of apps available will be their demise. Now my wrist is no longer irritated and I still have all the benefits of the wearable without the hassle of having to put something on every day.