Perhaps you’ve heard of the term hyper-connectivity. This is a relatively new term, generally used to talk about how we’re connected not only person-to person, but person-to-machine and machine-to-machine. It almost sounds Matrix-like, but  it’s a very real thing that’s happening in our lives right now.

Technology all around us

With the recent release of iOS8, the new iPhone 6 and 6 Plus as well as many Android devices, technology is now being woven into every waking minute of our day.

The new Apple Watch, Samsung Galaxy Gear and other watches are integrating more phone-like characteristics. Most will only work with our smartphones or mobile devices. So not only do we have a pared-down phone on our wrists, but we also have to keep our mobiles nearby, making it much more difficult to disconnect.

With each new update to the operating systems, there is a closer integration with our daily activities. For example, the Apple iHealth Kit and Home Kit means that not only will you be able to monitor your daily health stats via your mobile, but also control more aspects of operating your home (home kit). The prices of these applications/accessories means that they will be available for more consumers rather than only a luxury item. It’s not hard to imagine that they’ll be common before long.

Is wearable tech taking over our lives?

I currently own a FitBit © which I love using daily. For me, it has made me much more active (and no I haven’t given it up after 6 months).  I have noticed like with any new gadget, there becomes several new habits that weren’t there before (and not always habits I would have predicted).

My FitBit © is programmed to have an silent alarm for each morning. Each day is different depending on what activities I have regularly planned. If I forget to put the FitBit back onto my wrist, it will still vibrate and go off (meaning I have to still get out of bed to stop it from beeping).

When it’s charging, not having it with me becomes in inconvenience. I love that I get an email from FitBit saying that the battery is low, but often leave it to the last minute. This means that I am not wearing the FitBit whilst going for a morning walk or exercise (hence not measuring steps/sleep which then I want to make up to my magic ‘10,000 steps a day’).

It also affects my life when I’m wearing it. I went for a bike ride the other day, and was disappointed that my step count wasn’t as high–even though I had completed 45 mins of exercise.

Currently with the FitBit © Flex, there is no way to gauge EXACTLY how many steps, km’s or calories you have burned, unless you sync it to your mobile device or laptop. This means at the moment I will check in on my mobile several times a day (I can tap on my Flex and it will tell me roughly how many steps I am up to – each dot is represented via 2,000 steps which is my daily goal). It also means at night time I have noticed I become a little OCD in making sure I get all the elements coloured green (hit the daily target, such as 10,000 steps, 8.05km, 2,184 calories or 30 minutes of active exercise).

My sleeping habits aren’t the best, so I only glance at these figures perhaps once a week.

Balancing connectivity

This experience has show me how difficult it can be to disconnect from your mobile devices, especially if they are connected to other things such as a smart watch or fitness device. These days, I have finally stopped checking the results of my exercise every waking moment, and just usually check at night time to see how much exercise I’ve done.

As for other wearable technology, I would love an Apple Watch but my biggest concern would be how many extra pieces of technology I’d be relying on to complete simple everyday tasks.  The FitBit © already impacts so many aspects of my life–I can’t imagine what would happen with a smartwatch!

But in the end, only time will tell the impacts of these gadgets on our lives.

Featured image: HasinHayder

Megan Iemma

Technology Coach and “IT” girl Megan Iemma is a thought leader in the world of technology and its uses. An educator and techno geek, Megan combined her passions for education and technology and founded Tech Coach HQ  working with businesses and their teams to improve processes and embrace the productivity technology has to offer.


As wearable technology is becoming increasingly common, one of the areas that’s been of the most interest to technology companies is the smartwatch. The Pebble started rolling, and it wasn’t long before the big mobile companies decided to get on board as well. Here’s a quick overview of  the more popular smartwatches currently out there… and one that’s soon to come!

The Pebble

pebble

Ah, the Pebble. It started with a wildly successful Kickstarter campaign, and was one of the first real contenders in the smartwatch category.

Pros: Uses an e-ink screen, so it can go up to 7 days on a single charge and is also easy to view in sunlight
Has a standard 22mm watch band, so you can change them up at any store.
Works with both iOS and Android

Cons: Has less features than many other smartwatches–no camera or microphone, fitness tracking, or colour screens (though to some, that may be a pro!)
Large and rectangular design might not suit smaller wrists
Limited smartphone integration–dependent on developers creating specific Pebble apps

Android Wear watches

Galaxy Gear

As Android grows in popularity, many smartphone companies have also released their own takes on smartwatches based on Android WearSamsung Galaxy GearSony Smartwatch, LG G. Note that the Samsung watches generally need to be paired with Samsung smartphones (Samsung Galaxy Gear pictured above). However, in most cases, the feel is similar–it simply comes down to the design you prefer.

Pros: Full Android integration–you can view notifications for all apps on your Android phone, and some apps will also provide additional features
Full colour screen
Additional features such as camera and microphone, fitness tracking, etc.

Cons: Battery life runs out much faster–generally needs to be recharged daily
Large and rectangular design might not suit smaller wrists, and some people find it uncomfortable to wear
Some watches may only pair with specific phones, and all will only work with Android phones (sorry iPhone users!)

Moto 360

Moto 360 Dynamic Black

This is also an Android Wear watch, but I’m calling it out for its striking looks. Specific pros are the distinctly watch-like look and the round screen. Specific cons are that sometimes notifications are cut off because Android Wear is designed for rectangular screens, and battery life is about 12 hours at best.

Apple Watch

apple-watch

It’s no surprise that this is the watch that has everyone talking. Though yet to be released, it looks to be yet another trendsetter, but this time in the smartwatch space. Whether you love or hate Apple, this watch has a distinct look and feel. There’s also different ways of interacting via touch, and a nifty side dial that’s a throwback to classic watches, yet used in a very modern way. Until it’s released, we won’t know its pros and cons for sure… but it’s certainly one to look out for!

Of course, it’s only available for iPhone users.

Do you use any smartwatches? Love them? Hate them? We’d love to hear from you in the comments!

Featured image: pestoverde

Leanne Yong


Being a ‘geek girl’ I love using technology to motivate me for my daily exercise. Having a FitBit has really made a difference in being active every day, especially when often I am sitting working at my computer or iPad. With the advent of wearable technology, you can now collect data as you exercise and send it to apps such as My Fitness Pal, Map My Run, or whatever your app of choice happens to be!

Below is a quick round-up of some of the wearable technology available for various sports.

Multi-use Devices

moov

Looking for wearable tech that can track more than one sport/activity? Moov is being released in spring 2014 and at the bargain pre-order price of $79.95, although it will go up to $120 when it’s released. It covers five different workouts: running, weight training, cardio boxing, swimming, and biking. It’s a nice alternative to most of the existing wearable tech is that it is only focused on one sport, such as running or cycling.

Swimming

pyle

When I used to train 3-4 times a week–often swimming at least 2 kilometres a training session–the biggest problem that I had was boredom. I love music at the best of times and being able to listen to music would have definitely made training much easier. Pyle audio has released waterproof neckband headphones that can store and play up to 4GB of music. It also comes with 3 x waterproof earbuds and 3 x land based ear buds to change over when needed.

Hiking (or Tramping, for the Kiwis!)

SPOTGen3_45Degree_edited-hr

One of my family friend’s sons had to activate a EPIRB (Digital Radiobeacon) in winter last year after falling out of a whitewater raft while down the Franklin River in Southern Tasmania. They had to be rescued by helicopter as the location was so remote. It was a lucky thing for both of them that they had this device and were able to activate it.

Another friend of mine who lives on the South Island, NZ who does a lot of hiking (or tramping, if you prefer) also uses a GPS Satellite Messenger. He had to activate his after a snowstorm swept through one of the places that they were walking through, and was promptly rescued. Often, you don’t realise technology can save lives until you know someone whose life has been saved!

Running

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photo credit: robpegoraro

My aim for 2014/2015 is to set a goal for some running (and actually doing a Fun Run) so something like the Magellan Echo watch would work really well. This particular smartwatch syncs with other great apps such as Map My Run, Wahoo, iSmooth Run and iMobile Intervals. I also love that it can be also bought with a matching heart rate monitor for those who are serious about their cardiac workouts or running.

Skiing

While researching for this article, I came across the Recon Engage, which looks like an amazing product. This is following on from the footsteps of Google Glasses with information being viewed out from a pair of eyewear (in this case, customised Ski googles). With this product you can see where you went during your run (map) , the images during the ski run, who you were with and more, alongside key performance stats. All this information is overlaid on Google Maps.

What sort of wearable technology do you own? Does it encourage you to exercise? Would you wear wearable clothing? We’d love to hear your thoughts in the comments!

Featured Image: Stephan Geyer