Wearable Technology

Over the next ten years, wearable computers could change the way you live more drastically than smartphones have done in the past decade. Why? Because wearable technology combines all of the tracking, collecting and communicating power of current mobile devices with an intimate level of personal information captured in real-time, by the device. Common wearables include fitness bands, GPS-enabled cameras, digital glasses, smart watches and medical devices. Wearable technology can be a force for good, but you need to consider the privacy and security implications of marrying mobile sensors with highly granular data collection.




Fitness Bands

Convenient tracking of exercise habits, heart rate, sleep, calorie consumption and overall health and well-being is bound to result in a healthier population. Sale of your private health data for commercial purposes to insurance companies could one day affect your rates.

GPS-Enabled Cameras

The ability to record personal events, like a family ski trip or for security purposes, like body cams on police officers to provide mass surveillance. Invasion of privacy for people unaware that they are being recorded or who haven’t given their consent. Also, proposed risk of mistaken identity by technology such as red light cameras.

Digital Glasses

Connect a mini-screen, camera and microphone to the functionality of your internet-enable smartphone and you’ve basically added artificial intelligence to the human brain. You’ll have the power of the internet right in front of your eyes. Everyone becomes a human TV channel (recording and broadcasting) but without the regulations. Digital glasses can be combined with facial recognition software to immediately identify and research a perfect stranger.

Medical Devices

Pacemakers, insulin pumps and other medical monitors connected to the internet give real-time information to patients, health professionals and loved ones via wireless connections. Some medical devices have proven imminently hackable, allowing insulin pumps and pacemakers to be remotely controlled to administer lethal doses of insulin and voltage without the patient’s knowledge.

Smart Watches

Tiny, GPS-enabled computers that can do most things your smartphone or computer can do (texts, emails, calls, reminders, etc.) without the disruption of removing a device from your pocket. In addition to being easy to steal or lose, smart watches combine the risks of the other wearables into a single device, as they will have medical, health, recording, work and location-based capabilities built in.

For the moment, wearable technology is more like a trendy hobby for early adopters than it is a means of recording highly accurate and useful information. In the future, businesses will likely utilize wearables to monitor everything from hours spent working to employee whereabouts throughout the day. It is this enterprise usage that will ultimately fuel the adoption of wearable computers in the consumer market. For now, your smart watch is a fun and shiny object with a few killer apps much like the computer back when email was introduced. Ten years from now, you might wonder how you lived without the increased convenience and connectivity.