The smartwatch revolution is gathering pace and this week sees the appearance of yet another device, this time aimed at car drivers. Nissan have premiered their own concept smartwatch called the Nismo which will use wearable technology to bring drivers information about the performance of their car and their own bodies!
The Nismo measures heart rate, temperature and a variety of other biometrics to help the driver asses their physical state. It will also monitor the car’s performance by displaying speed and fuel consumption which all sounds very impressive and very much of the moment but I don’t get it! The watch is extracting the relevant statistics from the car’s on board computer. If this information is already in the car why not display it on the dashboard and if the vehicle already does that why do you need the watch? You don’t need a watch to tell you when you are about to run out of fuel or that aggressive driving will drink more of your precious unleaded.
I don’t really understand the value of the biometrics either. Fair enough it would be useful to know if you are about to fall asleep or are too stressed as these factors may seriously affect your driving performance but you can get all this information from a mobile app. You are not permitted to use your mobile whilst driving as it can be a dangerous distraction so why would a watch be so different? You might discover you are about to have a heart attack and should pull over but then kill yourself in a head on collision because you were looking at your watch! If all this health information is deemed important could it not all be monitored via sensors on the steering wheel and then displayed on the dashboard? Personally I think this is too much information and could be a major distraction. A driver’s eyes are best kept on the road.
My other issue is that the Nismo is yet another device which functions via a mobile app. This will not be an independent piece of kit as you will need your phone with you too. I know wearable technology is the future but for me it is only a technological revolution when you don’t need to carry mobile devices as well. Nissan argue that the Nismo is just the beginning and that better things are yet to come. Their vision, however, is a device that will enable you to turn the car heating on before you leave the house and to close the roof when it starts raining. I am sure you could develop an app for phones which would do these things and so I still don’t get it! Is the future merely going to be a remote control for your wrist?
Doubtless these watches will appeal to those who can’t resist a gadget but they don’t really serve any purpose which could not be incorporated into the cars and phones that we already have. There are stylistic issues too. Watches have remained popular accessories in recent years despite the prevalence of mobile phones but they have been valued for their aesthetics and the new smartwatches are anything but beautiful. The Nismo will be available in three different colours but does not have the looks to compete with a good Tissot watch let alone a Rolex and so their appeal may be limited. We don’t even know yet when the Nismo will come to market or how much it is going to cost and that could be another major obstacle to sales.
Sally Stacey is a keen writer and business women who divides her time between writing and running her bridal shop.