Smartwatches provide convenience, garner mixed reviews on campus

Photo by Bryce Owen ’17 | Smartwatches and wearable technology are growing in popularity and offer convenient messaging and notification capabilities to users.

By Spencer Inglett ’19

Smartwatches are becoming one of the most exponentially growing tech industries, with the market expected to reach $32.9 billion by 2020, according to BusinessInsider.

The concept of smartwatches is fairly simple: to limit the amount of times you check your phone each day by providing notifications with a buzz upon your wrist, while providing basic fitness tracking among other widgets.

This growth of the smartwatch industry is displayed in Brophy’s community as well.

Principal Mr. Bob Ryan said he believes in the potential impact of smartwatches on campus, but also sees a downside.

“I think there’s an addictive quality not just to the watch but to the instant communication,” Mr. Ryan said. “While I may be checking my phone less, it doesn’t cut down on that constant stimulus.”

Many students can be seen wearing the new tech gadgets, including Paul Cassidy ’19.

Cassidy said he believes the device is incredibly useful but requires self-control.

“During school hours, I usually put on Do-Not-Disturb so that it doesn’t distract me in class,” Cassidy said. “However, it is useful during break and lunch when I can just glance at email and other notifications to declutter my inbox quickly.”

However, the tech does not get along with everyone.

Rohan Sidhu ’19 said that smartwatches can be rude when interacting with someone.

“I can be talking to someone, and they just keep looking down to their watch as the notifications keep coming in and that irritates me,” Sidhu said. “I feel that the technology is still a few years away from being a useful and practical piece of tech.”

Many schools and universities have begun to ban smartwatches during assessments and from the school altogether. The College Board has began to require students to take them off during AP, SAT and PSAT testing.

At the beginning of each final exam, Dean Mr. Pat Higgins now directs students to place phones and smartwatches at the front of the room.

However, Mr. Ryan says there is currently no specific Brophy policy on them beyond that practice.

The smartwatch industry came to life thanks to pioneer company Pebble. The company conducted a record-breaking crowdfunding campaign on Kickstarter campaign in 2012 that rose over $10 million dollars.

The website allows people with ideas to pitch them in hope of receiving money to pursue them.

Bigger companies began to follow suit later, with Google releasing Android Wear in 2014 and Apple releasing the Apple Watch a year later.