If I were to ask a room full of people to stand up if they owned a smartphone, chances are I would instantly see a flood of empty seats. Now if I were to ask that same group if they were wearing a watch, I’m willing to bet over half the room would be on their feet. Even though you can check the time on your smartphone, there’s something empowering about having instant access on your person without the passcodes, pattern locks, and unlock buttons necessary to access the same information from your phone, right?

This idea of wearable technology has become something of a hot topic as Juniper Research Firm expects more than 18m smart wearable devices to be sold in 2013, rising to 170m by the end of 2018.

As excitement grows for consumers about wearable gadgets, leave it up to the technology giants to find the missing link – The Smart Watch. Its necessity meets accessory.  Research firm Canalys expects more than 500,000 smartwatches to be sold this year, followed by 5m in 2014 as Samsung, Apple, Google and other technology companies launch their own models.

Rather than playing catch up with Apple, Samsung decided to be first to market with a smart wristwatch scheduled to be released on September 4, 2013 with a device called the Galaxy Gear.

“Running on Google’s Android software, developers say the Gear will respond to touch and swipe gestures just like a phone, though it is unlikely to be able to connect directly with the internet or mobile phone networks. Instead, it will rely on Bluetooth 4.0 short range radio technology, which will connect it to Samsung smartphones and tablets, and will require the watch to be within a few meters of a paired device in order to receive an internet signal.” – The GuardianHT_Galaxy_Gear_smartwatch_nt_130904_16x9_992

The iWatch is reported to go on sale in 2014 and has patented a 90s slap-band style form factor to its wristband that requires a flexible display.  Similar to Nike FuelBands, the iWatch is said to be big on wireless fitness tracking.

To become more useful, smartwatches will need to deliver more value than just notifications or alerts. It needs to be, well, smarter. Imagine a watch that lights up when it’s time for your next RFP submission. Or how about a watch that doubles as an electronic boarding pass, or as your attendee loyalty card, event badge, or check-in code. A truly smart smartwatch could double as and integral piece of event planner technology and would warn your attendee’s about traffic on their commute, and suggest places to go when you’re at an out of town event. You could share presentations and files with the click of a button and leave persistent reminders for your team.

I intend on purchasing one of these myself, but I think that I will let the two brands duke it out for a bit.  As a meeting planner or industry professional, do you think a smart watch is a smart companion to other devices or smart alternative?