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AVOID the Apple Watch. Buy a drone or robot instead, techies told

Who wants a watch that SNIFFS your SWEAT, anyway?

Channels Forum 2014 Resellers should start investigating drones and robots, but needn’t bother swapping their Rolexes for Apple watches anytime soon, channel consultants Canalys warned today.

Kicking off the firm’s European shindig today, CEO Steve Brazier refused to get wound up about the Apple Watch, saying there was little in the first generation of the product to indicate it would be an industry-shaking product.

“The Apple watch is not going to be successful, because it tells the time accurately,” he declared.

He also said the firm was “pretty sceptical” people are going to want to read their emails on the device, or look at photos listen to music and many of the other tasks that have migrated to mobile devices in recent years.

While sleep monitoring had become a popular timewaster with smartphones, the Apple watch was pretty useless for this given the need to charge it overnight.

As for other health applications, he continued: “We still don’t know all the sensors inside the watch. They haven’t revealed the full technical spec.”

One potential application he described as “pretty neat” was monitoring the wearer’s sweat, he suggested, opening up the possibility of using it for monitoring blood sugar levels, for example, with obvious applications for monitoring diabetes. But so far, he said, Canalys don’t believe this capability is in the first generation of the watch.

Maybe the “genius” of the app community would find new uses for the watch, he said, “but so far the jury’s out”.

Brazier added, uncommonly for Apple, it was competing at the low end, describing it as a $300 product competing for wrist space with $60k Rolexes – the sort of comparison guarantee to get status conscious dealers wriggling in their seats.

Brazier was far more enthused by the use of drones, noting that Easyjet was using such devices to inspect aeroplanes, with software being used to compare images day by day to pick up on problems that merit further inspection.

While ISVs and dealers might not want to get involved in pushing the whirly devices themselves, they may want to consider the applications involved in managing the collection and storing of vast amounts of image data.

Similarly, Brazier argued, the rollout of robotics in public spaces opened up opportunities for traditional tech players. The Starwood Hotel chain was experimenting with using robots to deliver items to guests' rooms. Robots are no good at pressing lift buttons, he said, but Wi-Fi-enabled hotels and other intelligent buildings offered a way round this – as well as an opportunity for service providers. ®

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