Wearable Tech World Feature Article
October 15, 2014

Smartwatch Survey Demonstrates Variety of Potential Uses

A recent survey conducted by the research firm GfK to collect smartphone owners’ opinions towards the potential future of smartwatches yielded some interesting results, showing strong positive reactions to some functionalities and less enthusiasm for others. The study asked 1,000 smartphone owners in each of several markets – China, Germany, South Korea, the U.K. and the U.S. – if they would be interested in various specific functions for future smartwatches, with the assumption that data would be stored and sent securely.

The most support was given, as expected, to the primary functions that consumers have come to expect from ingrained smartphone technology such as making phone calls, navigating, collecting athletic or sports data and running various other apps. However, GfK proposed more radical ideas such as using smartwatches to carry health information for sharing with doctors and hospitals, send and receive wireless payments, act as a “public transit subscription card” and serve as identification for online accounts or in real life for authorities and the government.

Respondents in China were across the board most interested in these suggested functionalities, with more than half responding positively to every category. On the other hand, Germany was consistently more wary and only 20 to 30 percent of respondents showed interest in any of them. The remaining three nations fell somewhere in the middle with the U.S. second-most receptive to every functionality except public transit, for which South Korea demonstrated the majority of its enthusiasm.

Overall, the functionalities in which the most respondents were interested are health information, public transit and online identification. It’s worth noting that approval of this latter category positively correlates with age, emphasizing the necessity of improved Internet security for older generations. Every single market was the most skeptical about using smartwatches for conducting wireless payments, which is understandable considering the relative sensitivity of that information.

If nothing else, GfK’s survey demonstrates the wide variety of potential uses for smartwatches, and highlights the importance of continuing to think outside the box and develop new ways to integrate the technology into society in a way that is beneficial to all involved parties. 

Edited by Maurice Nagle

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