This month, we proudly introduce a multi-post series called, “The S’s of Socialite,” which will guide you through the unique features of the Socialite. This week’s post focuses on the Socialite’s screenless connectivity, written by WiseWear’s Chief Technology Officer, Bennett Ibey.
Have you ever been in deep conversation with someone only to hear the cringe-inducing sound of their mobile phone? As they reach for that phone, you can feel their attention leaving you and the conversational energy drain. As you standby in suspended conversation, you inherently feel less important than that mobile device. As the interruption continues, you begin to resent the device, the person who sent the email, the internet in general, and mobile communication.
Unfortunately, as the conversation resumes, the depth and importance of the conversation, “the moment”, has been lost. While years ago, such actions would have been considered disrespectful and socially impolite, they have now become commonplace and even acceptable. All too often, our mobile devices get priority over people robbing us of face-to-face interaction filled with verbal and nonverbal emotion.
While, our mobile phones have transformed how we connect with each other and the world, they have made it more difficult to “detach” where deep attention and human interaction/intimacy are critical. Therefore, one technical challenge for companies designing wearable electronics is to retain the connectivity of a mobile device, but free the wearer from the mobile tether. We, at WiseWear, have intentionally avoided a “screen” on the Socialite to “de-tech” the user experience without “detaching” them from the world.
Using simple vibration patterns felt only by the user and invisible to bystanders, the wearer is discretely notified of important text, email, phone call, or calendar events allowing them to take action or ignore the notification invisibly. Personal settings within the mobile application can be set to only vibrate when your husband, son or daughter, work, or a close friend contact you avoiding the all-to-common social disruption of spam emails, unimportant texts, or unsolicited phone calls. This simple, yet intuitive connection to the world allows the wearer to truly embrace human interaction without relentless interruption, while knowing they are not missing important communication.
Unfortunately, wrist worn screens do not circumvent this problem, they may actually exacerbate it making interruptions easier to respond to rather than manage. Current screened wearable devices just place another stylish social distraction into the arsenal to sabotage human social engagement. Having been around both mobile phones and smart watch technology for most of my adult life, I can assure you that staring at your wrist to read a text is not less annoying than picking up your phone. Both actions cause immeasurable disruption to human engagement and communicate to whomever you are speaking that they are not as important to you as whatever just happened on their phone. While many may disagree with my assertions regarding social disruption of mobile devices ask yourself this question: How do you feel when someone checks their watch during conversation with you?