TechRadar, the official media partner of Innovation Week, hosted a panel session this morning to debate the impact technology is having on our lives right now and what is on the horizon. We were joined by four of their most esteemed journalists, Duncan Bell, Gareth Beavis, Marc Chacksfield and John McCann for the session in reception.
The common theme running through the debate was that they all felt that the technology we enjoy today is not in fact quite ready to do the job we expect of it and it will be years not months before we have wearables that will truly enhance our lives. Things like fitness bands taking five minutes to sync simple daily step data with a phone; Apple Watch’s heart rate tracking not working whilst exercising and telling you to stand up when you already are were examples cited of how the technology is still very much in its infancy.
Battery life is a constant concern for all of us today with the new bigger, brighter screens on faster phones draining battery life more than ever before, and with developments with Lithium-ion batteries merely improving at a rate equivalent to treading water, this is set to remain an issue over the coming years. Although Gareth pointed out that one of today’s smartphone batteries in a Nokia 3310 would provide months of use.
Sites and apps like Strava were highlighted for providing a meaningful platform for fitness data by effectively gamifying sports like cycling and running. Gareth’s own quest to run a sub-40 minute 10k has been documented on Techradar and is a great demonstration of how there are some gadgets out there which can provide great value for people who know what they want to get out of a wearable.
On the topic of the Internet of Things, the panel agreed that it was still years from the stage where all of our devices were connected in a meaningful way to the internet, with Duncan describing the state of it today as ‘like having two fairy liquid bottles strapped to our backs whilst we’re trying to build a jetpack’.
Whilst there was a sense that genuinely life-changing tech could be still some years off, there were examples discussed like the Apple Watch now being able to monitor the health of an unborn baby with a simple monitor placed on the mother which are out there today and making differences to real lives already.
I look forward to what was discussed becoming a reality sooner rather than later.