Clutch spoke with Dmitry Kostin, CEO of Russia-based Touch Instinct, as part of a series of interviews about wearable technology.
Could you describe your company and your role there?
I am the Chief Executive of Touch Instinct. The company is four years old, and we have 33 employees. We are pretty famous in Russia, and we have over 70 projects done. We work mostly with enterprise businesses, but we also do some applications for middle-sized and small-sized companies. We are now the number four developer. Touch Instinct is the first mobile developer in Russia with a membership at Application Developers Alliance.
When did Touch Instinct begin designing applications for wearables?
We started designing applications for wearables last summer , and it was for the Chaos Control application. It's a task manager application that is natural to have on your wrist.
Could you describe the wearable applications you developed, Chaos Control and Meduza?
Chaos Control is a task manager based on the best principles of the GTD (Getting Things Done) methodology.
Chaos Control for Samsung Gear was started in April  and for Apple Watch in May . It was important for us to have Chaos ready for the release of the Apple Watch in the US and Meduza ready for the release of Apple Watch in Russia.
Source: Touch Instinct
Meduza is a mass-media project. It's a newspaper for people who want to have relevant information. We started developing this wearable app in June .
To be honest, you are not allowed to do a lot of specific things on Apple Watch or other wearable devices. There are a lot of restrictions, so the most difficult part in developing a wearable application is to decide what you want to give your users, what could be comfortable for them, and what could be the most useful for them.
Source: Touch Instinct
Chaos Control is on both Samsung Gear and Apple Watch. Meduza is designed for Apple Watch only. The difference is that, for Chaos Control, Dmitriy [Tarasov, the founder of Tarasov Mobile,] came to us and asked us to develop an application for Samsung Gear. It was his decision. In the case of Meduza, I went to Meduza and asked them. They decided to make it on Apple Watch because it seems to be more popular than Android devices.
Could you describe the process of developing both wearable applications?
The most difficult part of the development process is deciding what you want to do with the tiny screen and what you are going to offer your users. There are a lot of restrictions. It's not difficult to develop an application because it's natural for Android or iOS developers who create applications for mobile. Determining the right use cases and corresponding features is very important.
Duration and Timeline
For Meduza, it took about a month to decide on the design and functionalities. The development process was only about a week and a half.
What challenges did you face during the project’s rollout, and what steps did you take to overcome these challenges?
It was hard to develop an application for a little device. We wanted to launch Chaos Control on the day of the official release of the Apple Watch in the United States, so we started to research the platform one month before the official release.
The emulator was awful. We also had some problems, because we were using Russian language and the Cyrillic alphabet, but the software for the Russian alphabet was released two weeks after the official release, so we already had to add some things.
In what ways did your initial conceptualization of the applications change throughout the development process?
In the case of Chaos Control, no changes were made in the development process or after its release. Now that we’ve released the Meduza project, we’ve decided to change a couple of things. The changes are minor, and they're easy to implement even after the release.
Could you share any statistics, metrics, or feedback that might demonstrate how Chaos Control and Meduza are performing?
After we released Chaos Control last year for Samsung, we won a contest. Also, Chaos Control received a couple of positive reviews right after the release, and a couple of people said it was wonderful and very cool. The wearable app also forces users to buy premium accounts because it’s the only way to use Chaos Control with watches.
Regarding statistics and metrics, I think Apple sold four million devices already, and that's already 75 percent of the wearable market. You can imagine how few devices Samsung has sold, so metrics are really low. The problem is that it's mostly a Russian project, and only a few people in Russia have Apple Watches. Most of them are geeks and developers, so we need to wait for the device to become more profitable in Russia.
What lessons did you learn from your experiences, and what areas would you like to improve upon or do differently in the future?
Developers and managers should be open to new technologies, learning new things, and becoming the best at them. It's hard to adapt sometimes.
What advice would you share with another organization that is seeking to develop a wearable application?
First of all, you must decide whether your project or your users need to have an Apple Watch application or a Samsung application.
Second, if you see a real need, you should invest in it and create the application. It's not hard. For wearable watches, it’s only one week for most applications.
Future of Wearable Technology
What role do you see wearable technology playing in the next 6-12 months?
I think it will be an experiment. First, they had smartphones, like the iPhone, and, after that, there was the iPad. To be honest, for me, the Apple Watch is the same as the iPad: it's a new device where you can share your content. The iPad and iPhone are natural for us to use nowadays. Everybody uses it, and everybody loves it, so I think the Apple Watch will be the same way.
In one or two years, we will all be wearing some devices on our wrists, but, during the next six months, I don’t think anything will change. Let's just wait for the Apple Watch 2, and maybe Samsung or Motorola will launch new devices also.