Do smart watches like the Apple Watch represent the future of purchasing?

Will Green is news editor of Supply Management
11 March 2015

The world of technology never stands still, and with Monday’s announcement concerning pricing and availability of the Apple Watch, it was perhaps only inevitable that a procurement app would appear.

Following last year’s app for use with the now apparently shelved Google Glass, Wax Digital has developed an app for use with a smart watch.

By holding up the watch and saying something such as “laptop”, a catalogue entry pops up on the tiny screen and it’s the work of moments to swipe through some suggestions and place an order request.

Daniel Ball, director at Wax Digital, gives the example of an engineer up a ladder who needs to order a part or service to support the work they are doing. For the procurement professional, an alert will ping on their smart watch to say a request has been made.

“We think smartphone evolution has barely begun,” he says. “It won’t be about more apps, it will be converting mobile phones from devices you interact with to a smartphone which becomes more of a processing device.”

Ball gives the example of “Dorothy shoes” that contain an accelerometer, so when you click your heels together - instead of returning home from the land of Oz - an app on your phone will call you a cab.

“It feeds into what stakeholders want and need; it’s about labour savings,” says Ball. “All those people who need to procure products and services instantly to support what they do, without requiring them to go back to the office and sit in front of a computer.”

One thing to bear in mind is that smart watches, along with other wearable technology, cannot work independently of a phone, so the appeal of interacting with a screen on your watch rather than just pulling a phone from your pocket may be limited.

However, those already queuing for an Apple Watch will have to wait. Wax Digital’s app currently only works with Android devices.

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