Marius Royal

Market Analyst

November 16 2018

Smartwatches, the next step in security?

I’m going to admit something, I was completely wrong about tablets. My initial position on tablets was pure skepticism. As in, I thoroughly believed that they presented a limited market value and were just a cash grab by big tech companies.
My reasoning was as follows: everything a tablet can do, can be done by a phone, a phone fits in your pocket, can make calls, and can access data service outside of Wi-Fi. Furthermore, a tablet does not have the capacity of most laptops/desktops, and given that most tablets (when they first went on sale) were priced between the cost of a phone and a laptop, I questioned who would this appeal to given that a tablet had less utility than either a computer or a phone?
In any event, my thinking was dead wrong. In Q2 of 2010, there were a total of 3.3 million tablet units shipped worldwide. in Q2 of 2018, there were a total of 33 million units shipped worldwide ( https://www.statista.com/statistics/272070/global-tablet-shipments-by-quarter/). What this tenfold increase highlights is that there is a place for this new technology, and it’s highly integrable to the existing technology.
Given the economy of scale, a tablet’s current price point is cheap enough now to replace the daily functionality of a laptop. Instead of paying for a cumbersome laptop that you need to carry to do work, most daily computer functions, such as browsing the internet, writing, and consuming content, can be done through a tablet – being relatively cheaper and smaller.
Looking in the market of phones, it is quite surprising to me how a tablet can be a viable replacement to a phone, but nevertheless, a tablet can outperform a phone in a lot of daily functionality. Both mirror similar operating systems, as in, both Apple phones/tablets and Samsung phones/tablets run virtually identical software. Meaning, things that would be harder to do on a phone (such as, watching movies, playing games, reading news, etc.) could be done better on a tablet surface.
A tablet has become an integrable pivot point, for tech utility. A tablet can communicate across platforms, allowing you to more easily bridge your data between your phone and your computer.
Now you may be asking, what does this have to do with smartwatches? Well, quite a bit, if not, everything. Smartwatches are in a similar phase to tablets at the start of their lifecycle, as in there is a considerable amount of skepticism for their utility, and more so, their necessity. You could reasonably ask: “well, I have a computer, phone and a tablet, so why do I need a smartwatch? For an extra few hundred dollars, how is it going to Improve my life?". It’s a good question and falls in line with the same line of thinking I had with tablets.
But I want to avoid that mistake again, as it is inevitable that a few years down the line, comments criticizing the utility of a smartwatch will seem laughably out of place. Already, features like “Apple Pay" mean that you can bind your credit card to your phone/smartwatch, and pay without ever having to open your wallet. It’s reasonable to speculate that most vendors will operate largely, if not fully, in digital transactions in the next few years. There is a distinct possibility that your smartwatch could act as your wallet, for example.
However, I believe that the greatest avenue of innovation with smartwatches, is with verification/security protocols. We already see this existing with the phone, as various tech-related and banking related services, require a user bind a phone number to their account, to authorize and secure their identity. Simply, because a phone is on you at all times, it is possible to make it industry standard that your phone number is a part of your identity when establishing new accounts.
This is what makes smartwatches truly unique, as they uniquely are bound to you. More so then a phone sitting in your pocket, smartwatches are bound to your wrist, and are the most readily viewable tech, ever created. Given the possibly of a smartwatch being comparable with as much mobility as a phone, a smartwatch could present another layer of verification to a user’s security.
This could mean something along the lines of pin verification bound uniquely to the watch, requiring two devices to sign in. While this is only one function to help secure our apps, the infrastructure of a smartwatch could present many more ways to secure your private data – making a breach virtually impossible.
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