A killer app for wearables?

killer-mobile-appSo smartwatches, the most general wearable today, are extensions of phones. They serve you a stripped down mobile experience and try to make the best out of filtering notifications. Over time I think smartwatches will become the new phones: your one does-it-all device. But only if we fix battery issues, increase power in such small devices and add standalone connectivity. If not, I guess we will ditch the watches again and stay with our smartphones.

A lot of people ask me whats the killer app for wearables. I tell them there isn’t one.

I think the killer app for wearables in general is in using single-purpose devices for specific contexts. A glass-like device for order picking or for doctors. A biometric device like the Nymi for authentication and security when needed. A digital tattoo to monitor vital signs and other biological data and so on.

Make it wearable
In the Make it wearable challenge by Intel participants explore how wearables can truly highlight a new realm of dealing with information and interfaces creating single purpose devices that highlight the benefits of wearable technology.

Open Bionics – Low-Cost Robotic Hand
This team is developing a 3D-printed prosthetic with the functionalities of a high-end device, but for a much lower cost. This low-cost robotic prosthetic hand aims to replicate advanced functionality for under $1000.

ProGlove – Production Tool
ProGlove is a professional wearable production tool that enables the user to work faster and easier and opens up a new level in control and business intelligence for production management. This sensor-based “smart glove” can boost productivity for manufacturing jobs.

Smart Healthcare for babies
BabyGuard provides smart healthcare for babies before birth to 3 years of age. Their sensor units embedded in clothing give parents real-time data of their child’s vitals.

Take a look at all finalists, they all aim to do one single thing and do it right.

The killer app for smartwatches is to make the transition from a dumb watch with a smart phone to a watch that makes the phone obsolete. For all other wearables: pick a context, pick one service and do it well.

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