At ELEKS, we have a team of multiskilled specialists experienced in design and software applications development for wearables covering a number of use cases, including automotive monitoring, event management and enhancement, and productivity.
The most famous wearable application we did was an Apple Watch application that controlled Tesla cars, which got a lot of media attention. That was one of the first third-party apps ever for Apple Watch, and I think the first Apple Watch application in the automotive industry.
We have to mention, though, this was our initiative, not a request from Tesla. We created it as an experiment to see how far we could push the Apple Watch’s capabilities. The goal was to control the main functions of a car, like air conditioning, lights, map location, opening the car, and so on.
The app was not published on the Apple Store initially. We did it as an experiment, and we open-sourced our work. Later, the community grabbed our project, improved it, and published the application on the Apple Store.
The second big wearable application was for a huge advertising and communications company called Havas. The application was more of a promotion than a product. Havas had an exclusive event with industry consultants, where they presented their company’s current state and plans for the future.
They wanted to impress the audience and bring them a more personalized experience during the event, so they decided to buy everyone a watch with an exclusive personalized app on it. We cooperated with them and developed a wearable application that included an agenda, so the guests could see who was speaking, when, and about what, receive personalized notifications, and view a customized watch face with the company’s logo. Each watch had a different colored watch face, and the color was based on the data we analyzed from the wearers’ public social profiles.
We also delivered notifications at specific times during the event, to alert people of a new speech or helpful information. These notifications were the most difficult features to implement. At that point in time, there was no Wi-Fi on the watches, so we had to implement custom Bluetooth architecture to make the notifications work.
The third project, which we are working on right now, is a time-tracking application for one of our customers. It is for Apple Watch OS2. The application, even though it may sound simple, tracks time and can be used as a time management tool. We agreed with the customer that it makes sense to develop an Apple Watch application for this purpose. A year ago, when Android Wear was out, we developed the same application for Android Wear. Now, it’s an obvious fit to build one for Apple Watch, as well.
With this app, we learned a lot about the Apple Watch platform. Even after building the Tesla application, we learned even more with this application. Watch OS2 is available in beta release now, and there are new functionalities that are not as simple as OS1.
The problem we faced was that Watch OS2 was still in beta, and every two weeks, a new beta came out, so some parts became broken in the platform. Another challenge relates to syncing the Apple Watch with the iPhone in real time. But, the ultimate challenge was to create a meaningful experience for the watch with a small screen and no keyboard.
Drawing on ELEKS’ depth of experience with wearables, our expert identified the watch face as the smartwatch feature that wearables developers should focus on when beginning the design process. It allows developers and designers to show the most relevant information on the first screen that users see when they glance at the watch. The user does not need to launch any application or do any extra actions. She can just see what she needs to see with a simple glance. Also, it's very important to develop a unique use case for wearables. One of our major findings is not to compare smartwatch development with mobile development. They are two completely different things.
More insight from our experts can be found in Clutch’s full research on wearables development challenges, as well as in an article that highlights three of ELEKS’ applications as wearables case studies.
If you have questions on how you can implement connected devices for your business, contact our experts for a consultation.
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Right from the start, we really liked ELEKS’ commitment and engagement. They came to us with their best people to try to understand our context, our business idea, and developed the first prototype with us. They were very professional and very customer oriented. I think, without ELEKS it probably would not have been possible to have such a successful product in such a short period of time.
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