The real use for smart watches isn’t telling time…

We’re at a fascinating inflection point in the development of personal technology. Although wearable devices have been around for quite some time, it’s only recently that technology has advanced to the point at which there is a likelihood of real mass market appeal. Android Wear in its various guises is selling well, but it’s the recent announcement of the Apple Watch that has the potential to drive wearable adoption into the mainstream.

Technology has never been so personal. Even the smartphone can’t approach the intimacy of a device that is physically connected to its wearer, which is why wearables like the Apple Watch shouldn’t be conceived of as a smaller smartphone; they’re a different class of device altogether. Apple showed off some amusing features in the announcement keynote, but being able to sketch images with your finger and share them with another Apple Watch wearer isn’t the killer app for wearables. Communication is an important feature, but with a smartphone in the pocket, most users aren’t going to be too eager to tap out messages on a tiny screen.

The real impact of the coming wearable revolution will be all about data: health data, location data, behavioral data, and a mass of other metrics, painting a high-fidelity picture of an individual life. At the same time, wearables are the perfect form factor for feeding that data back to the wearer in real time and in a form that can help them make choices.

Between the sensors and the applications, there is the cloud.

Wearables need the cloud; data is only useful if it can be stored, aggregated, processed, compared, and analyzed. Wearables themselves don’t carry the processing power, storage space, or networking technology to properly leverage the data they generate and neither do their tethered smartphones.

The cloud provides the distant and distributed platform required by the most intimate and personal of devices, and the feedback loop between the cloud and wearable devices is what makes the wearable revolution so exciting.

Wearable application developers will rely heavily on cloud platforms. But “the cloud” isn’t the easiest marketplace for developers to negotiate. Finding the right platform or platforms, with the right technology, and for the right price is no easy task.

Cloud brokerages exist to help application developers make sense of the cloud marketplace. By providing a simple and intuitive venue for comparing cloud vendors, platforms, and services, ComputeNext allows developers to make the right choice of platform for their particular needs. But it’s not just about choice, the ComputeNext API can be used to tie together multiple cloud platforms into a global federated cloud.

Application developers seeking to craft something delightful from the data provided by wearables can use ComputeNext to quickly and easily construct a platform that answers to their needs.

 

Image: Flikr/Kārlis Dambrāns