2013
09.10

Okay, Nissan threw us all for a loop when it announced it would be creating a smartwatch. And yes, it is out of the ordinary for an automaker to be moonlighting in the wearables space, but to me there is bigger news tied to this development.

Never one to bury the lead, I won’t keep you guessing: The thing that impresses me the most about Nissan’s announcement this week about the Nissan NISMO Concept Watch is the fact it will capture health-related data. Suddenly the connected car becomes a lot more connected.

The automaker, which announced the smartwatch at the Frankfurt Motor Show this week, says not only will you be able to capture fuel efficiency and speed, but you will be capturing biometric data via a heart-rate monitor as well.

Specifically designed for drivers of its Nissan NISMO car, the smartwatch will connect a driver not only to the car, but also to some realtime health data. So not only will you be monitoring your vehicle efficiency stats like speed and fuel consumption, but also your heart rate. And I imagine your heart rate.

And I bet the heart rates being captured from drivers of NISMO, Nissan’s motorsports and performance division, will be quite accelerated. Now I know why Nissan chose to launch it with NISMO as opposed to something like the LEAF. No offense, but that quiet, near muted sound of acceleration coming off an EV doesn’t quite get the heart rate going as does say a performance sports car whipping around the track.

But seriously, I think Nissan has crossed over into an area where most automakers will eventually be headed in the future: The intersection of the connected car with the connected lifestyle. Whether it is tying vital biometric data to the car just for fun, it paves the way for introducing health and wellness aspects into the connected cars of the future.

We have long hear automakers talk about the value of being able to measure things like blood-glucose levels while behind the wheel, but up until now perhaps the means of carrying out such visions have not been ideal. Wearables present a unique opportunity to bring such an idea home. And nothing seems hotter right now than the idea of wearables. Think Nike+ or Jawbone or Fitbit. Now think of Ford, GM, Audi, and of course Nissan. The two groups might not be that far apart from each other in the not too distant future.

I think Nissan might understand better than most that the cars we drive, the homes we live in, the devices and apps we consume, and every interaction we make all have a profound and lasting impact on every other aspect of our lives.

It’s something we sort of embrace here at Connected World and a big reason why you will find us front and center at the Chicago Auto Show this February to explain all the ways in which areas like connected cars, connected homes, health and fitness, and energy are not so independent as we may have initially believed.  It’s good to see others are starting to feel the same way.

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