Do you own a watch that only tells the time?
If you answered ‘yes’ to that question, you are either under the age of six, or a serial killer.
In 2022, the projected sales of sensory sport tech is expected to reach the 1.2 billion US dollar mark worldwide.
Wearables, mostly in the form of watches, and the data analytics that accompany them, make up a huge chunk of that market.
In much the same way as the computer in your hand is masquerading as a mobile phone, your watch is actually a personal trainer, albeit less buff.
Professional and amateur athletes alike wouldn’t leave the house without something tracking their steps, their heartrate, and their oxygen levels.
Forget Big Brother, you watch is watching you.
Once upon a time, this type of sports tech was considered a pricey objet d‘sport fit only for those with more money than sense and A types with the need to piss on every post, even in the virtual world.
No longer. Fitness trackers that can answer calls and measure everything from sleep disruption to breathing patterns can be bought for as little as 20 bucks. Mine has a meditation setting. As yet, none of them track bowel movements and orgasms, but no doubt that tech is on the way.
And the watch itself is simply the gateway drug to the data.
Apps that keep a record of your every movement litter the interwebs. These are usually free with the watch, but there is always a bigger and better programme promising even more extraordinary features, should you choose to sign up. Comparing this week’s deep sleep with last weeks deep sleep no longer requires a night in hospital with a head covered in wires.
For people keen to get their 10,000 steps in, this affordable portable coach is a godsend. Both cajoling and congratulatory, there isn’t a soul alive who doesn’t give a little smile when their watch tells them what a good human they have been today.
For those at the Spartan end, the measurements these bits of tech record are an invaluable way to analyse and improve performance. The top of the range at this stage appears to be the Garmin Forerunner 945. This watch can detect your stress levels, records the heatmaps of where you have been exercising, notes when you climb uphill and back down again, and alerts someone if you have an incident, like crash your bike.
At between 600-800 USD, they are not cheap, but then, this is not a watch. Instead, it’s like having someone with you while you train, only that someone is a robot and they are wired into your body and can call for help and send your location to a loved one while simultaneously counting your steps and checking your core temperature, all without being paid.
The fact that it can tell the time seems totally erroneous.
In the same way we have all become accustomed to communicating via text emojis – only murderers actually call people- reading the watch face for time telling seems…slightly…quaint.
“In the future”, they said, “we will all have flying cars”.
Well, we don’t, and I am still bitter about that.
But we do have a multi-million-dollar industry built around an accurate map of every movement we made this month along with a record of how much water is leaving our skin at lunchtime with data collected by a watch who watches us while we sleep, and knows when we dream.