As wearable smart technology continues to evolve, smart rings are fast becoming a hot topic of discussion among tech fanatics. It seems to me that the world is divided into two parts: those who believe it’s just a passing fad, and others who think smart rings will soon replace other wearables.
Though we don’t know for sure yet, industry leaders like Samsung and Apple have reportedly begun exploring the potential of smart ring technology, so it is definitely worth understanding the possible uses of smart rings.
- Smart rings can track your health and fitness and sync them to your phone.
- They deliver phone notifications discreetly through vibrations and/or LED indicators.
- You can make mobile payments using your smart ring’s NFC capabilities.
- Smart rings can be programmed to help you quickly unlock your phone, other devices, or even doors.
- Modern smart home systems often have smart ring integration options.
Tracking Health and Fitness with Smart Rings
Smart rings are particularly well known for their uses in tracking your health and fitness. This is not ground-breaking by any means, since fitness trackers and smartwatches have done this for many years, but smart rings can be slightly more elegant in that regard. Their small size compared to a smartwatch can be highly beneficial.
Smart rings are equipped with sensors that monitor various metrics including heart rate, sleep patterns, and activity levels. The sensors feed this data directly to your phone where you can view it and integrate it with your phone’s other health and fitness data.
The Sleep Pattern tracking is particularly useful, since many people find sleeping with a smartwatch uncomfortable, while rings tend to be much less noticeable while you sleep.
Notifications at Your Fingertips
Gone are the days of constantly checking your phone for notifications. Again, this is not unique to smart rings, but they do things a bit differently. Smart rings act as discreet little notification hubs, vibrating or displaying subtle alerts for incoming calls, messages, and other app notifications, though they don’t show you what the notification is.
This approach is great when you’re trying to have a more balanced approach to technology. Rather than be distracted by your phone or smartwatch screen, you will still know when a notification comes in, but be able to focus your full attention on the situation you are in.
Easier Mobile Payments
Smart rings are equipped with NFC (Near-Field Communication) chips, just like smartphones and smartwatches. This means you can configure many smart rings to make payments with a tap, just like your phone and smartwatch. Tapping your finger is much easier than tapping your phone to make a payment, especially when you have your hands full with coffee cups or shopping bags.
Personalized Access and Security
Enhancing security and access control is another facet of a smart ring’s functionality, and it operates on a few different levels.
First, you can add your smart ring as a trusted device on your phone or tablet. This allows you to dynamically unlock your device with your smart ring, just like it works when you pick up your iPhone while wearing an Apple Watch. Your smart ring can just about eliminate the need for PINs, fingerprints, and Face ID to unlock your devices.
The second security advantage has to do with 2FA (two-factor authentication). Some apps and websites can send login confirmations that you can confirm using your smart ring instead of manually opening an app on your smartphone. This is much easier, faster, more convenient, and not as obvious as approving a login request on an authentication app.
The NFC capabilities in smart rings also make it possible to program them as replacements for access badges. For example, you can use them to access doors at work, transit gates, or any similar type of access control.
Some smart rings, known as Token Rings, are specifically designed with an optical sensor to help you access any home or office door of your choice. When you take the ring off, it acts as a signal to those doors that they are to remain locked until you attempt to open them while wearing your Token Ring. The possible applications of this technology are nearly endless.
The main advantage isn’t necessarily security, since your smart ring can be stolen and used to gain access. But criminals can do the same using access control cards. At least, with the smart ring, you’re less likely to forget it somewhere, which means you will always be able to get access when you need it.
Controlling your Smart Home
If you have any smart home devices, you can integrate some smart rings with them. You can use your smart ring to configure and link devices, activate and deactivate them, and control certain functions. It all depends on the capabilities of your smart home devices and the ring you choose.
When you’re in an emergency situation, it’s not always easy to get your hands on your phone. As long as your phone is close enough to be paired with your smart ring, you can use the ring to get help when you need it. Many smart rings include some kind of panic button or SOS feature that can make a call or send a message to an emergency contact or local emergency services.
This is an incredible feature, especially since you can do so without drawing attention to what you’re doing. If you’re in a dangerous situation, people will immediately notice when you’re on your phone or smartwatch, but you can tamper with your ring, and nobody will think it strange.
The challenge with smart rings is that there are almost as many different uses as there are smart ring models. It’s not like smartwatches, where the watches mostly offer the same features. Different companies are coming up with unique ideas for smart rings that aren’t necessarily offered by other manufacturers.
For example, the JAKCOM R5 has some interesting features like a 128GB wireless flash drive, social media sharing, a dating ice-breaker function, sending your location to contacts, and even a virtual call mode that can get a cloud service to give you a fake phone call to get you out of tight spots. You can also link it with iOS shortcuts to perform specific functions with a simple touch.
The point is, there’s no “one size fits all” with smart rings. It’s possible that they will become more standardized as time goes by, especially when companies like Apple and Samsung get on board. But, for now, you will have to search through the many available options to find a smart ring with the specific features you need.
Smart rings aren’t quite as popular as other wearables, like smartwatches, but they are quickly getting there. They already have plenty of uses and features that can make them indispensable to many users while also cutting down on screen time. As development continues, I’m sure their usefulness will only increase, and we will see a lot more of them in general use.