Wearable tech revolution.

What do you wear?

With an ever increasing range of wearble tech options, have you taken the plunge – what do you wear? Having been a runner all my life, and more recently a triathlete, I have used lots of differnt bits of tech. So what’s new? What works? And will this tech make you happier?

The last of those questions is key; let me explain. My wife teaches Pilates. With lockdown on and lock down off …… then back on again, switching between online virtual classes and in-person classes, different payment packages and clients confused/scared by evolving government guidelines on a daily basis, she was forced to invest in an online booking system that integrates with our Mailchimp and Zoom accounts. This ‘all singing all dancing’ tech sounds great on paper, but it comes at a price. Aside from the hefty monthly price tag, there is also a psychological price.

As we all know, tech is great when it all works, but as most of you also know, it doesn’t always work! That causes stress and that’s not good. An example today for my wife with her online class ….

  • Wifi on the blink as was the 20m ethernet cable (strangely??) so used hotspot and mobile data instead.
  • B&O earbuds, which have much superior in-built microphone, struggling to link to Mac today (sometimes they do. Sometimes they don’t …. so used plug in snowball mic instead.
  • 15 mins pre-class, Zoom decides it doesn’t want to launch today so class has to be done on Facebook ‘live’ instead and all class members need to be notified somehow 10 mins preclass by push notification, email, text, Whattsapp and Messenger depending on their preference of communication method, while fielding incoming messages from class members who can’t get on!
  • The tin lid is that facebook ‘live’ decide to alter their aspect ratio so the field of view is much narrower. We don’t have a spacious studio; just a standard lounge so now moving furnture 2 minutes to blast off in order to get enough distance between camera and teacher so class members can see her arms and head when standing up ….. and her whole body when lying down!
  • One minute to go …… a calm and relaxed Pilates Coach presents herself to her eager students.

How does all this relate to wearble tech? Well, in the olden days, you had a watch type device and usually a chest strap to measure heart rate as a measurement of effort. That was it. Now devices have GPS allowing distance travelled to be measured and speeds calculated. We have altimeters that measure height gains and drops that factor in changes in exertion and pace. We have bluetooth and ANT+ allowing connections to power meters in your bicycle pedals and even your shoes. They also link to third party apps and websites like Strava, Zwift and Training Peaks. The options are endless and as the capabilities grow, so do the intricacies of set-up and use. Like my wifes Pilates class …… fine when it all joins up and works; a stressful nightmare when it doesn’t.

So often I see groups of cyclists attempting to set off together and they are all there cursing that “their power pedals won’t connect” or “give me a mo while I start my Strava” or “wait up …. I can’t get GPS to lock on” etc etc etc.

My advice is get the most basic device you can, that does what you actually need it to do, rather than going for the newest, funkiest and ‘best’ model that offers 101 things you will never use. It may well be cheaper and better. Those are my thoughts. My current watch is a #Polar. I upgraded from a V800 out of necessity to a Vantage M as the straps kept perishing on the old one and it was a 2 week round trip each time I needed to replace it! Here is a Which Guide To Wearable Tech. https://www.which.co.uk/l/wearable-technology

Whatever you choose, keep moving and keep smiling. 🙂

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