This week, news of the POSB Smart Watch was plastered all over Singapore’s major spreadsheets and it offered a glimpse into the immense potential what money driven entities can do for education. As an educator of more than 10 years, I’ve never been more impressed with the capability of this smart watch and the audience it’s targeting. I’ve used numerous wearables but never have I seen one that offered so many possibilities. Simply put, it’s ingenious.
POSB is one of the oldest banks most of us grew up with and to date I still maintain a POSB account. So it’s no secret that one usually stick with a bank one grew up with. By reaching out to the children and offering so many possibilities with the single condition of maintaining a POSB account, the intention is clear as day. I’m guessing it’s a strategic move to name the wearable POSB smart watch and not DBS smart watch; DBS is the parent bank of POSB.
By combining cashless payment capabilities with the added benefits of expenditure tracking, the POSB Smart Watch becomes an invaluable tool to educate children about money. Begone with the piggy banks and welcome the mobile app.
Allowance is now transferred wirelessly and the mobile app provides the parents with a good picture what the kids spend in school; from stationary to canteen stalls they go to. Even children on Financial Assistance schemes in schools can receive money via the Smart Watch.
And let’s not forget wireless payment options outside of school since the POSB Smart Watch contains a NETS contactless payment chip.
And another killer feature is the tracking of activity through the recording of steps, distance and calories. For years, schools have struggled with the purchasing of activity trackers or heart rate monitors to educate the students about the importance of staying active. In one fell swoop, the POSB smart watch did all that and more. They effectively engaged the parents to monitor their child’s activity levels through the mobile app. *clap clap clap*
And the final stroke of genius is how the the watch “updates” the parents when the children board the school bus by tapping the Smart Watch on a reader on the bus. So parents can have peace of min where their children may be.
According to POSB’s website, the smart watch has been trialed at close to 19 primary schools for a year and it’s fully subsidised. There are also plans to eventually hit all 200 primary schools with seperate programmes for those in secondary schools and tertiary educations.
The POSB Smart Watch resembles the Apple Watch from afar in terms of appearance. There’s very little details about the battery life, water resistant levels and even durability. But all these are just challenges within expectations.
The bigger challenge is how fickle kids are and how quickly they need to be stimulated, have new devices to be occupied with. Are there customisation straps? Changeable watch faces? Or even a cool use for the steps as tied to education such as what Garmin has done with the Vivofit Jr? And there are those who are not entirely tech saavy and may require help with the usage of such devices. Plenty more work to be done now.
But I have to admit. Never have I seen money making ventures compound so harmoniously with education. It’s a win-win. It’s ingenius.