Wearable technologies: Are we unplugging common sense?


One topic at this year’s Wearable Technologies Conference 2014 this July is “How Wearable Tech Will Go From Gadgetry to Habit,” which will be presented by Cuff CEO and co-founder Deepa Sood.

Although the conference is promoting the exciting and innovative gadgets of the present and future, there is an underlying concern when talking about making these gadgets a habit.

Are we heading toward a society of distracted users who are coming unplugged from common sense? Questions and concerns continue to grow about whether these wearable tech gadgets can protect us from identity theft and, just as importantly, ourselves.

Two Concerns: Safety & Security

SAFETY: All across America, we are seeing new laws against using wearable, mobile technology while driving. Distracted driving is actually one of the most concerning issues for law officials. Distraction.gov reports that a daily average of 660,000 drivers use cell phones in some way while behind the wheel. Unfortunately, it seems that this is just the beginning of what we know to be distracted driving.

As wearable technology becomes more available, so does the concern of safety and protection. How the next decade will shape out with how one balances abiding the law and being safe while using wearable technology may well depend on just what these wearable gadgets are and how they’re used.

SECURITY: Every time we walk out the door, all of our personal information comes with us; financials, passwords, security questions and answers, documents, photos, conversations and the list goes on. So when we consider investing in a new wearable tech device, one of the first concerns is, of course, how it protects your valuables, most of which are digitally accessible.

The very real possibility of having your personal information stolen, whether you’ve lost a device or are simply a victim of cybercrime, is what makes identity protection and security a necessary precaution. Locking up sensitive information on today’s devices is huge, meaning it’s only going to become more concerning for consumers as wearable tech engineers push us further into the digital world.

Pros, Cons of Wearable Tech May be the Same

As Mary Meeker of Kleiner Perkins Caufield & Byers law firm points out, the advantages of these wearable devices can also be disadvantages. Meeker says that the exposure of sensitive information multiplies the more times a user checks information on a computer or mobile device. She argues that with the consumer using wearable devices more often, it entices them to check their information more often, thus increasing the risk of stolen information.

New wearable gadgets like Google Glass have come under fire for that very reason. ‘Google Glass’ is a pair of wearable tech glasses that feeds an online connection to the user through the glasses, complete with video and photo capabilities. But many consumers—and even some U.S. congressmen—weren’t thrilled with the safety measures of the device, one being facial recognition. As many as 72 percent of American consumers polled in a recent study said they were unsatisfied with Google Glass, not for its expensive price tag, but for its shaky privacy measures.

Distraction was another concern that was brought up in the study.

What other concerns new wearable tech will bring is unknown. Samsung is working on making a wearable device that operates by hand gestures, but until these gadgets are tested in the real world, it’s hard to figure out just where the disadvantages lie and which are the most pressing.

Take the New FitBit Force wireless wristband, for example, which brought up a whole new kind of concern; the FitBit company had to recall its products due to complaints of the device causing rashes on users with nickel allergies.

As one wearable tech after another comes out, one thing should always stay the same—the concern for you and your information’s safety and protection.

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