Swatch is developing a “Swiss-made ecosystem” for smartwatches and IoT products. The platform is so far unnamed, but it has been nicknamed “Swiss OS”. It is a rival to ecosystems from Android, Amazon, Apple and others.Swatch will debut its first smartwatches in 2018.
The OS promises fewer software updates than rival operating systems [and] compatibility with Bluetooth LE, and aims to ensure that user data is well-protected inside a private ‘Swiss vault,’ ” the watchmaker is reported to have said. Swatch has been thinking about creating a smartwatch for a while—the brand released the Bellamy watch, an NFC-enabled watch for contactless payments, with Visa in 2016.
Building an OS from the ground up means that Swatch and CSEM can ensure it is more tightly integrated with the device, which could have several benefits:
- Increased security: Collected devices including smartwatches, collect a massive amount of data pertaining to things like user location, health, and payment info. However, a 2015 study by Hewlett Packard found that, at the time, 100% of smartwatches were vulnerable to malicious attacks. One objective of the initiative is to improve data security on connected devices, with a focus on keeping data collected by these devices away from Western security agencies.
- Ultra-low power: Smartwatches require a lot of power to run largely because of the touchscreen interface, as well as the burden of running apps. Swatch is aiming for improved low-power operation, which should increase self-sufficiency by cutting down on the need to recharge the device.
- Durability: A common theme among connected devices is designed obsolescence, which is driven by software updates that eventually need the latest device to run. Swiss OS is being designed to last without needing regular updates, like those rolled out by Android, for example, thereby increasing its longevity.
The big problem “Swiss OS” will run into, however, is scale. With less than 1% share of the global smartwatch market today, Swatch has neither the scale nor power to make a significant dent in an industry currently dominated by three brands—Garmin, Apple, and Fitbit—that have been at this for a while, learning from their mistakes and successes.