The role of the Apple Watch for IC through the lens of imgZine’s CEO

Hester Gras

A few months ago, Apple introduced the ‘Apple Watch’. Besides the fact that it is a cool device for consumers, the question arises whether it can also play a meaningful role within the internal communication strategy of organizations. imgZine’s CEO Marijn Deurloo shares his vision on this topic.

With the release of the Apple Watch, new predictions arise. The Nieman Foundation recently predicted the news role of the Apple Watch in 2020:

“During a workday, you will be interrupted a couple dozen times by […] Texts you need to see, slack notifications from your boss, meeting reminders, etc. It knows enough about your (news) habits that it can judge what’s worth telling you about. The watch knows you well enough to know when you might have time to read a little. It can tell when you’re grabbing lunch alone, checking for the absence of friends or co-workers nearby, or when you’re locked in a meeting.”

One of our colleagues wearing the Apple Watch during work.
One of our colleagues wearing the Apple Watch during work.

Marijn Deurloo’s vision on the Apple Watch

When talking about mobile devices, we can normally distinguish two categories. ‘Lean forward’ devices like the PC and smartphone are used in a really active way (‘I’m going to search or make a transaction’), whereas ‘lean back’ devices such as tablets mostly have an inspiration and entertaiment purpose. The Apple Watch doesn’t fit either of these categories:

“I’ve used an Apple Watch for a while and what strikes me is that, besides receiving emails and not having to pick up your phone, we have not yet found a killer feature, except… telling time. When I take a look at my watch, I’ve a second to decide if it is relevant. This makes the device’s purpose different than that of other mobile devices. It’s all about monitoring and sending highly relevant alerts on urgent issues to the right person at the right time and place. Its function is to interrupt.”

Because of this, the intrusive nature of the Apple Watch might play a role in terms of crisis communication. Marijn:

During a crisis, you have to turn your employees into experts on the situation to avoid confusion or doubt about how to respond or what information is permissible. In contrast to smartphones, which we can still put aside, the Apple Watch is literally connected to our body. This makes sending news to a watch really intimate and extremely requires relevance.”

Any device, any time, any place

Taking into account the interruptive character of the Apple Watch, organizations should make their content more relevant than ever. In order to be truly effective, they should combine the Apple Watch with other internal news channels too; such as internal news apps for mobile devices and the web, and the Apple TV.

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