The winner of this year’s Smartwatch of the Year is not a smartwatch, it is a platform with the potential to ignite sales of smartwatches because it is genuinely useful and easy to use.
Barclays bPay Loop is a contactless payment system that lets people pay for stuff using their smartwatch.
This is not entirely new, but has been made much more convenient and secure thanks to the way bPay works, which is to set it up with a prepaid credit to spend, rather than a direct link to a bank account.
The payment works using a proprietary system called bPay Loop, which has a near field communication (NFC) chip in it that can be slipped onto any watch strap.
This year it was also incorporated into Garmin fitness trackers and Mondaine watches.
The Mondaine partnership is significant, because it puts contactless payment into a normal watch.
If the idea takes-off, traditionalists will be able to stick with the beauty and artistry of their analogue watches, but will have the payment system available at the cock of their wrist.
Not only will people be able to pay for their Starbucks coffee using their watches, they will also be able to tap in and out of public transport such as the London Underground and the city’s busses.