By Mark Evans
“Mom, Dad. I want the new Apple watch for my birthday and a Fitbit and the new LG G4 phone.”
“Have you tried on a pair of PANTS yet?”
“Have I what?…”
PANTS is the acronym I use to help people focus in on the product that will best suit them, their needs and their goals. PANTS stands for Price, Accessories/Apps, Navigation, Target and Social aspects. If you look at these five things you will have a successful wearable purchase.
Price is one of the main factors in purchasing a wearable. You need to establish a ceiling of what you are willing to pay for a device. Some devices like the Fitbit Zip can cost you $69 while the Apple Watch with the gold band can cost you $25,000. Price is a great way to narrow your search for a wearable.
Accessories/Apps is important because this is what makes the wearable function in the way that you want it to. Many different wearables offer different types of physical accessories. For example, Fitbit’s stylish bracelet by Tory Burch is both fashion forward and counts your steps. If you purchase a Pebble, Samsung Gear 2, or Apple Watch see what types of Applications are available to make sure that your buy is appropriate for your use.
Navigation is really for those who purchase “smart” wearables. Can I smoothly transition from listening to music to getting directions on the map function? If your fingers are too big for the screen then you may want to look at a different wearable. I highly suggest that you go to a store and test drive these types of devices before you purchase.
Target means target audience. Are you the individual the wearable company had in mind when designing their product? If you are a tri-athlete, you are going to want a wearable that was designed specifically with you in mind. The Apple Watch is not water or shatter proof, so this may not be the best wearable for you. Think of things you would like to see in a wearable, make a list and then do an internet search with your specific target and add wearable. You will be surprised how many companies have made wearables with you in mind.
Social aspects of wearables are increasingly becoming a factor in the purchasing of wearables. I use the Fitbit Surge which allows me access to the Fitbit website where I can challenge my friends to see who can do the most steps during the work week, weekend or I can design my own challenge. I can also share my results on Facebook, Twitter, and/or Instagram. For some people this would be a real turnoff, so when choosing a wearable make sure you look at the social aspects of the device and if you can keep your information private.
Wearable technology allows us the freedom to leave our PCs on the desk and travel with the power of that PC on our wrists, in our pockets or around our necks. Many of my colleagues would say that we are living in a Post-PC world and with the amount of money Americans spend on wearable technology, it would be hard to argue against that point. Just like the PC, you need to know what you are looking for so you can ensure you get what you need/want.
Mark Evans is the Program Chair for Emerging Technologies at Athens Technical College. Mark serves as a mentor for the Madison County Robotics team, as well as, a teacher of drone use, design, and maintenance.