Smartwatches vs. Traditional Watches: Do the Sales Trends Match Popular Opinion?

The 4th quarter of 2015 saw the number of shipments of smartwatches overpower the number of shipments of traditional watches for the first time, ever. It didn’t take long for this to happen either, as the Apple Watch, which dominates the market of wearable technology, was released just a little over 6 months prior to the start of that quarter.

From the 4th quarter of 2014 to the same quarter of 2015, the sales of smartwatches rose an incredible 316%, while the sales of traditional watches over the same time period declined 5%. It may not be much of decline, but when compared to the huge share of the market that smartwatches has taken over and created for itself, it is significant.

Comparing Smartwatches vs. Traditional Watches
The new wearable tech that is available in most smartwatches has allowed users to have the same technology that they can access from their cell phones, as well as from fitness watches, all from wearing just one device that is more easily carried and accessed. You can check your blood pressure, heart rate, and steps taken throughout the day, if not more, and usually track fitness trends over time. Plus, everything from your email to your stocks numbers are all right there on your wrist. It’s even easier than ever to take a look at your newest Facebook or Twitter notifications. And don’t forget, you can still make and receive calls with a smartwatch just like you can with a regular cell phone.

Traditional watches may not have all of this fancy technology but they do offer the air of luxury and timeless elegance that many people still enjoy, both for themselves, and to show off. It can be a status symbol to show up to the office with a classic, Swiss timepiece on your wrist whether you are making a statement or you want something simple and sleek.

Views from Industry Pros
In 2014, Apple’s chief designer, Jony Ive, was reported to have said that the luxury watch market would be “in trouble” once the then unannounced Apple Watch came out. Apple obviously knew they were on to something that would change the future of watches forever, and they were right.

SalonQP editor, Chris Hall, claims that a smartwatch will never offer the same luxury feeling as a carefully crafted traditional watch can. If you want to make a person who prefers a traditional watch wear a smartwatch, then you must “make the fact that it’s smart almost incidental.” Ariel Adams, founder , of aBlogtoWatch says that even though there are some negative sentiments from some watch “purists” about the popularity of the smartwatch industry,he sees it as a natural evolution of technology. When you think about it, technology is advancing all the time so why wouldn’t it eventually make its way to the watch?

The Traditional Watch Market is Not Dead
Even though sales are declining, there is still a market for the traditional watch, and the traditional watch brand. Most are convinced that sales will rebound once they re-establish their place in the market. In 2013, a new traditional watch brand, Shinola, opened out of Detroit, shattering the myth that a luxury watch brand had to be Swiss to guarantee quality craftsmanship and unique styles. Eight other new showers were at the luxury watch convention in Geneva in 2016.

Even the well-established brands, such as Rolex, Cartier, IWC Schaffhausen, and even Audemars Piguet are unveiling new, unique styles that are taking a few steps beyond the traditional boundaries set by luxury watch designers and manufacturers. This is all in an effort to entice a new market to the world of the traditional watch, and it may very well have been the reason why the 4th quarter of 2015 sales did not drop even more than 5%.
In his December 31, 2016 article on A Blog to Watch, Ariel Adams writes. “…. I think there are a lot of good arguments to suggest that smartwatches and traditional mechanical watches have not only different uses and appeal, but currently quite different target markets.”

There are benefits to wearing a traditional watch and there are benefits to wearing a smartwatch. Neither industry is dead; that of the traditional watch is just changing as that of the smartwatch is beginning to take shape and find its place.. You might just find yourself looking at purchasing both a smartwatch and a traditional watch to wear depending on what the occasion calls for.

Going from Stay at Home Mom to Working Outside of the House

Many moms prefer to stay at home once having a family. However, once your children are more self-sufficient and you find yourself with more and more time on your hands, you may be thinking about returning to work outside of the house . It’s normal for this thought to bring with it some unexpected emotions. You may feel guilt at wanting to leave your child to go back to work, or you may even feel excitement at the prospect of returning to your old line of work that you loved so much. Whatever your feelings about the decision, you need to do some research into how best to market the skills you’ve been using as a mom into the ever-changing workplace.

Marketing Your Mom Skills
You may think that raising your children may require skills that don’t relate to the workplace; however, many of the skills you use can relate very well… as long as you know how to communicate how you’ve used them to a potential employer.

If you have organized a car pool to and from school or various school events like field trips, you know how to plan effectively. Creating and running fundraisers for the school, your child’s scout troop, your church group, etc. or even helping to maintain a budget for the funds raised from the event can also show relatable skills. The skills used to pull off this type of planning regularly are similar to what a project manager does on a regular basis.
You probably also sit down with your kids to help them with homework every day .. Not only are you showing that you know how to be a leader and encourage others, but you have also been keeping your own language, math, science, etc. skills sharp by practicing them right alongside your children every day.

By maintaining the complex schedules of your own appointments, getting your children to school and school events, , making sure that your household has food and that it is prepared correctly and on time, you show that you can not only maintain your own schedule but that of others as well. Many top-level executives do this regularly, and have to use computer software to maintain those schedules, so if you can keep track of your family you are definitely using skills relatable to the workforce.

Volunteering at the school or even at a church, a non-profit, or other functions while the kids are in school can show that you are still able to work regular hours while raising your kids and that you do want to work. Make sure to put your volunteer experience on your resume and use someone you know well at the place you volunteer at as a reference, if possible.

Even being able to use social media effectively is a skill that many employers like to see on a resume these days. If you have been using Facebook, Twitter, Instagram or other platforms to communicate with family or friends from far away about the kids regularly and know how to use them well, an employer may be able to relate that to a current job opening.

Doing Research on the Current Job Marketplace
The job industry you worked in previously most likely changed quite a bit over the years you have been away. It’s important to know just how much it has changed so you can market the skills you have been using as a stay-at-home-mom to that new industry. You will have to do some research. Job titles may have changed slightly, and if they haven’t, the job descriptions may have changed due to emerging technology or just simple restructuring of the industry.

The best way to get ground floor knowledge in the quickest way possible is to contact former colleagues that may still be working in the industry. They will know first-hand how things have changed. Invite them out for coffee or lunch and discuss your intentions to go back to work. If they are still working in a job you are intending to get back into, they may even know of a job opening at the company at which they work and can put in a good word for you for when you apply, or can let you know it’s okay to use them as a referral/reference when applying for that job opening. They may even have advanced while you’ve been away and are in a position to do the hiring and can offer the position directly.

The most important thing about getting back to the workforce after working as a stay at home mom is that you must be open to change. Your skills are still marketable but the marketplace itself will most likely have changed and you will have to learn how to promote your skills to today’s market.

Social Media in the Workplace: The Good and the Bad

It is quite evident that currently, businesses benefit enormously from having a social media presence. To be able to sustain that social media presence, a company must have employees that know how to use the various platforms that they intend on using. Allowing employees to use social media to positively promote the company they work for but not for personal reasons can be a grey area as some employees report using social media as a way to take a mental break from the stress of their work environment. Walking the line between needing to keep the business represented online on various social platforms but not allowing employees to use them otherwise is something that every company needs to consider carefully.

The use of social media does not necessarily mean that an employee is not productive, as we will see from a study conducted by Evolv. However, it can also be taken too far, as we will see in another research study conducted by Pew Research Center.

How Can People Who Use Social Media Help Your Business?
Evolv interviewed 100,000 employees and out of those working adults, 33,000 were active on between 1 and 4 social media platforms. This is not surprising considering how prevalent social media is in our daily lives. However, the astonishing results were found in the 1,300 employees who reported that they were active on 5 or more social media platforms every day.

Those 1,300 people were studied further and it was found that they had more success in sales and spent less time getting them. Specifically, they had 1.6% higher sales conversions than people who spent less time on social media and they also had 2.8% lower call times, on average.

One of the researchers involved in the study cited three main reasons why these people found so much more success than their colleagues: 1) they were more comfortable in social situations and could take advantage of opportunities when they came up, 2) their multitasking skills were sharper, and 3) they were much more computer and internet literate than others who did not spend as much time on social media.

Is a Social Media in the Workplace Policy Necessary?
In a Pew Research Center study called “Social Media and the Workplace,” it was found that 34% of respondents used social media at work to take a mental break. This was outside of their scheduled breaks or lunch times. In the same survey, 27% of people said that they accessed social media to connect with family and friends, although others in the survey had said they used social media at work to communicate with others at their company.

This can definitely have an effect on overall productivity throughout the day, especially considering that if each employee takes a few minutes several times throughout the day, it can add up to a lot of missed time that the employer is not going to get back.

In a separate survey by Pew Research Center, it was found that 40% of people said they had accessed social media to take a mental break when there wasn’t a social media policy in place for the company when only 30% of people said they had done so when there was a policy in place. If a policy is in place regarding social media use during working hours or on company computers, it does affect how many people access social media just to “take a break.”
Some companies have placed software on their company computers that blocks employees from accessing certain websites, including social media. However, since most people can access these sites from their phones now and most people have their phones with them at all times, the software is an unnecessary expense and usually a hassle as it can block sites that employees do need to have access to as well.

Hiring people who know how to use social media, and know how to use it well, can benefit a company immensely. Not only do those people have skills like multitasking, social awareness, and computer/internet literacy, but they also know how to use social media platforms when promoting the company in a positive light. However, the rampant use of social media during work hours can lead to a decline in productivity among workers. Having a social media policy in place that benefits the company while also allowing the employees to still use it to communicate with other employees or access company pages/groups may be something to think about.

In the meantime, will you be asking your next potential recruit about their social media habits in their interview?

The Importance of Art in Schools

art-in-schools-debbie-koukoudianThere have been many studies in the last 20 years on the importance of art in schools. The study of fine arts in education has been long known to benefit the student as a whole, and even Plato commented many times on the correlation between studying music, dance, theater, and many visual arts like painting and sculpture to help improve the student’s overall performance in every facet of their learning.

When students are exposed to the arts, they are concurrently being exposed to their own culture. They are being allowed to express their views about current events and their own emotions. They are also being prepared to enter their culture as adults after their education, however, just as with the study of any core subject, you cannot have random or occasional exposure to the arts and still see the benefits. What are those benefits? The importance of art in schools is highly dependent on the benefits that most school administrators, teachers, and parents see when their students take an active role in art education.

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3D Wax Printing for Jewelry: Custom Jewelry Design Made Easy

The methods for producing jewelry have rapidly evolved in recent years. With the development of new technologies such as computer aided detection (CAD) imaging, computer aided manufacturing (CAM) imaging, and 3D printing, jewelry makers can now save time designing customized pieces for their customers. In addition, these designs can be made with even more precision than what could be accomplished through traditional production methods.

The 3D Jewelry Printing Process
3D printing jewelry is used along with a process known as lost wax casting (a.k.a. investment casting ). Using this process, a wax model is produced, depicting what the final product will look like, which can later be converted into your customer’s preferred metal .

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