CES 2019: How smartwatches can boost productivity for business users

Smartwatches, such as the new Kate Spade device that launched at CES 2019, offer features that help business users.

CES 2019: How smartwatches can boost productivity for business users

At CES 2019, TechRepublic Senior Writer Teena Maddox spoke with Brand Manager of Wearables at Fossil Group Inc. Hetal Kumar about the new Kate Spade Scallop 2 smartwatch, launching in January 2019. Discussed are the smartwatch's new features, as well as its potential business applications. The following is an edited transcript of the interview.

Hetal Kumar: We're launching the Kate Spade New York Scallop 2 smartwatch. The device comes with heart rate, GPS, NFC; it's also swim-proof as well, and has some other great offerings that really bring the brand to life. It goes on presale on the 8th of January, and then it'll be rolling out full launch towards the end of the month; it starts at $295. So this was the first smartwatch that we actually launched with Nicola Glass, new creative director at Kate Spade New York. She was really able to infuse some of her brand aesthetic into the design of the watch, which was really exciting. We had a huge success with the launch of the Scallop smartwatch last year and are really excited to bring new features and functions into the smartwatch. Heart rate is something that our consumers are really looking for, so we're really excited to incorporate that into the device this year.

SEE: CES 2019 news, photos, videos, and more (TechRepublic on Flipboard)

Wear OS by Google actually launched a redesign of their software interface late last year, and one of the great things is being able to proactively look at some of your events and agenda items; it proactively pulls in my flight reservations, hotel reservations. It really just enhances overall productivity for the day, which is really crucial and key to all of us that are constantly on the move and need to have a quick glance to key information and data points.

I think what's next for the brand is, we're always listening to what our customers are looking for, what features and functions really matter. We're really mindful of making sure that we add these features and functions, but still maintain the great design and brand aesthetic that we know our customers are looking for. So we'll continue listening, continuing to really enhance and improve our design features, as well as really embed functions that matter to our customers overall.

SEE: CES 2019: The Big Trends for Business (ZDNet Special Feature)

One of the key features of the Kate Spade Scallop 2 smartwatch is that there's a micro app called Choose Your Look which allows you to essentially customize your watch face based on if you want a night or daytime look, based on what you're wearing or the color of your accessory. So, for example, right now I want a daytime look; I'm wearing it next to silver jewelry, so I'll keep this as it is. If I have a black handbag and a black outfit, I press this spade over here, it'll automatically generate a new custom watch face based on what I'm wearing. I'll save that look, and I've got a great watch face available.

SEE: CES 2019 Special Coverage (CNET)

I think something that's also novel and new to this smartwatch is a fun and interesting way to check your heart rate. By pressing this spade over here, there's a fun little quirky animation, while my heartbeat's being generated--then it'll give the output of your beats per minute, then I just tap to go back to the watch face. It's just a fun way to incorporate the new feature.

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Image: TechRepublic

By Teena Maddox

Teena Maddox is a former Associate Managing Editor at TechRepublic. She oversees TechRepublic's news team and TechRepublic Premium. She focuses on tech and business and how the two worlds intersect. Teena's lifelong journalism career has included wri...