Smart Personal Objects Technology
Smart Personal Object Technology (SPOT) was developed by Microsoft to personalize household electronics and other everyday devices, through "smart" software and hardware that would make their uses more versatile.
The SPOT technology used MSN Direct network services, delivered across the United States and Canada based on FM radio broadcast signals in about 100 metropolitan areas. The service cost $59 a year.
Smartwatches were the first SPOT-based application, introduced in 2004 from watchmakers Fossil, Inc. and Suunto, with later models from Tissot and Swatch. SPOT technologies also included coffeemakers by Melitta. It was also planned to use SPOT technology in alarm clocks and weather stations. In 2008, the SPOT technology was applied to traffic and map updates for GPS units for Garmin. While SPOT had a higher local bandwidth than either competing service (Radio Data System or Sirius), it was too late to the market to establish itself.
SPOT watches were discontinued in 2008. The MSN Direct service continued to support the already sold SPOT smart watches, and other devices, until December 31, 2011, when transmissions ceased.
MSN Direct discontinued service on January 1, 2012 due to reduced demand, since the increase of availability of Wi-Fi, Cellular, FM RDS and other digital networks.
- Baker, Chris (July 2010), How Microsoft Lost the Wrist-Top, Wired 18 (7): 27.
- "Products no longer in production", Suunto.com website
- "SPOT watches, R.I.P.: 2004 - 2008", Engadget, 23 April 2008
- Vance, Ashlee (March 2, 2009). "Microsoft Mapping Course to a Jetsons-Style Future". The New York Times.
- MSNDirect.com website
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