Have you ever wondered how wearables connect to a smartphone? How do they “know” to send data to your phone specifically? What type of connection do they use? How does it work? Read on, and we’ll do our best to answer these questions.
Why Do Wearables Connect to Other Devices?
Before we get into how wearables connect to smartphones, let’s establish why they need to connect to your phone at all.
Unlike your laptop, most wearables are highly specialized. That means they were designed to perform only a certain amount of functions. For example, Senstone is a wearable voice-to-text recorder. Its functions are: 1) record audio on demand, 2) store the recordings, 3) make sure audio is transferred to the cloud storage and processed by artificial intelligence. As you can see, step 3 relegates the data to a more generalist and powerful machine.
This “division of labor” is what makes wearables so efficient. They connect to other devices and access their computing power. The ability to connect is a core feature, and wearables rely on it a lot.
- Notifications are sent and received.
- Commands allow you to control other devices.
- Data is collected for storage and analysis. This is how you get your activity stats in real time.
- More functions, such as AI spell checking, can be accessed by sending the data for processing to another computer.
In short, wearables really do need to connect to other devices. And your phone is perfect for the job!
Wearables & Wireless Connection(s)
We’ve come closer to answering the original question: how do wearables connect to smartphones? The reason why people ask this a lot is because they cannot see a visible proof of connection, i. e. wires.
Wireless technology shaped wearables as we know them. There would be no wireless headphones without a way for them to receive the music they are supposed to play.
With the many types of wearables we have today, there are several different technologies used to connect a gadget to your phone.
- Bluetooth Low Energy (BLE) and Bluetooth Classic. These two standards are the most common ways for your wearable to connect to your phone. Devices supporting Bluetooth connect using ultra-high frequency radio waves. You need to enable Bluetooth on both devices and pair them so that they automatically exchange data when nearby. The BLE standard is cheaper and better suited for low-power gadgets, and this is why most Bluetooth wearables run BLE.
- Wi-Fi. Some wearables can connect to your smartphone via the regular Wi-Fi. This allows for a greater range and faster data transfer speeds. To connect your wearable to your smartphone via Wi-Fi, you usually need to connect both devices to the same Wi-Fi network and then pair them.
- Near Field Communication (NFC). NFC is a short-range technology that allows for contactless communication between two devices in very close proximity (4 cm or less). Some wearables have NFC capabilities, allowing you to pair them with your smartphone by simply holding the devices close together. Contactless payments is the usual reason for running NFC on a wearable.
- ANT+. An ultra-low-power protocol. Unlike others on the list, ANT is meant for sports wearables.
Some wearables can use more than one protocol. The specific methods of connectivity will heavily depend on the make and model of wearable and smartphone, so you can always refer to the user manual for more information on how to connect your gadgets.
This post has been brought to you by Senstone. As a company, we have been actively contributing to wearable technology for years. You can visit our homepage – or read another article about cutting-edge inventions and trends. Stay cool!