Like many jobs today, event management wouldn’t be as nearly as functional without technology. From emails, invites, and reminders to registration and payment transactions – our phones and computers have revolutionized events. However, like many other jobs, there’s room to make event management even more operative with new technology.
Enter the Apple Watch.
By now, you have likely heard about Apple’s first bonafide new product in years (since the iPad).
While there have been mixed reviews of the Watch on various news sites, there’s been no clear message as to who the new technology will benefit the most. Will it replace the Rolex on Wall Street? Will athletes use the Watch instead of a Fitbit? Or will it be an everyday watch for the average Joe? This seems least likely with the starting price at $349.
Let’s delve into the pros and cons of the Apple Watch for event managers.
You spend weeks, if not months, planning a major event. You have meetings, conference calls and send countless emails to make sure everything runs smoothly.
Unless you are Rain Man, you need reminders.
While your phone, computer and assistant can remind you of your next meeting, the Apple Watch may be the most subtle and simple reminder. Using Taptic technology, the Watch notifies you with specific kinds of vibrations. Instead of having your phone loudly vibrate on the table during dinner, the Watch sends a subtle reminder that only you can feel.
“As you learn the taps over time, you will begin to register some of them almost subconsciously: incoming phone calls and alarms feel throbbing and insistent, a text feels like a gentle massage from a friendly bumblebee, and a coming calendar appointment is like the persistent pluck of a harp. After a few days, I began to get snippets of information from the digital world without having to look at the screen — or, if I had to look, I glanced for a few seconds rather than minutes,” said Farhad Manjoo in his New York Times review.
Why pull your wallet out when you can swipe your phone over the terminal to purchase your coffee? Why pull your phone out when you can simply scan your Watch and be on your way?
Not only has Apple Pay simplified day-to-day errands for event managers but the contact-less payment technology is also being used at the actual events.
Instead of carrying around credit cards and cash, attendees can simply tap their Watch to purchase food, beverages or any merchandise that the event offers.
“Paying with the Watch is even faster than paying with an iPhone,” said Nilay Patel reviewing the watch in The Verge.
The Watch isn’t going to be a tool you use to send text messages, let alone emails. In fact, it isn’t even possible to respond to an email on the Watch. While you can respond to texts, it would be much easier to just use your phone.
“You can reply to texts using canned replies, dictate a message with Siri or send emojis. The canned choices are supposed to be smart: the Watch reads your texts and tries to figure out appropriate replies automatically. Unfortunately, this only seems to work well if the people texting you write complete questions with the answers embedded…” said Patel in The Verge review.
And although Siri is a response option, everyone with an iPhone knows she isn’t always the most accurate when it comes to understanding you.
You walk out of a meeting, check your email, hail an Uber and are on your way to the airport to manage the next event.
Like many of us, event managers are busy people and don’t have time to sit around while their phone displays the circling loading sign.
This may be the biggest problem with the Apple Watch. Not only are there major lag times with location apps like Uber, there are also delays when you simply want to check the time. Unlike other smart watches that have a screen lit up at all times, the Apple Watch saves battery life by using sensor technology. In other words, you can’t see the time until you move your wrist in a “checking my watch” motion. And that doesn’t even always work.
“Many times while using the watch, I had to swing my wrist in an exaggerated upward motion to bring the display to life. Think about the way people normally look at their watches, then make it twice as aggressive. As a normal watch-wearer, the idea that I might look down at my wrist and not see the time was annoying,” said Joshua Topolsky in his Bloomberg Business review.
While the Apple Watch may be the only one of its kind, it isn’t yet considered game-changing and it definitely won’t replace your iPhone or computer.
As Topolsky puts it: “It’s not going to make you a better person, or change your life, or change how you look at the world. It’s a great accessory… and maybe that’s enough.”