Are you integrating an existing software product with a popular wearable device like Apple Watch or are you building wearable hardware, firmware and software from the ground up? While both strategies can make sense, we recommend making a good business case for pursuing the latter approach. Wearable products gather information about the person or animal wearing the device and provide feedback via a companion mobile app, built-in display, or voice interface. Successful wearable products solve real-world pain points.
To deliver value through a wearable application, you need to reduce costs, save time, save lives or monitor people’s health. You don’t have to build your own hardware because you can build new business models on top of data generated by wearable products built by other companies like Apple, Samsung and Fitbit. Companies reduce insurance premiums when they track employee activity and incentivize employees to maintain active lifestyles. Home care services reduce expensive in-home visits when they use wearable devices to monitor the activity and vital signs of the elderly people they support. Sensors are used by people playing contact sports to identify and prevent concussions. The killer apps have yet to be built for smart hearing aids, smart clothing, smart watches, smart eyewear and other wearable products still being conceived.
Apps built for watchOS and and Android Wear offer users limited features because there is so little screen real estate. When you build a smartwatch app, you simplify your product to its core features. Often, the feature is as simple as yes/no, ignore/respond, start/stop and so on. You can only give users a snapshot with a smartwatch app, which is why you often need a fully featured mobile app that works in conjunction with your smartwatch app.