Our society is defined by technology and how we use the innovations and tools at our disposal. Over the past few years, the innovation has far outpaced the understanding of new technologies, yet consumer-grade products are being created at an accelerated pace. Wearable technology is one of those new trends of consumer products, although most customers won’t give the possible ramifications a second thought.
The World of Wearable Technology
Ever since the computer was invented many decades ago, engineers have been puzzled by the challenge of making this device smaller and smaller. Various iterations of computers – both desktop and portable version – were a big step in the right direction. And it didn’t end there, as the computer chips became smaller and smaller, and devices even fit into one’s pockets these days.
Consumers around the world have a dire need to connect to the world and devices like tablets, smartphones, and even wearable technology will give them that option. All of these devices are capable of connecting to the Internet and our friends and contacts are just a few screen taps away.
It has to be said, wearable technology presents an interesting case. This form of innovation is often seen as an accessory. At this point, none of the wearable technology products and prototypes offer the same functionality as a computer, or even a smartphone, although the lines are starting to blur ever so slightly.
One of the earliest pieces of wearable technologies to be introduced to consumers was the calculator watch, which hit the markets in the 1980’s. Back in those days, people needed actual calculators to do maths, rather than pull a pocket-sized computer out of their pocket and launch an app to do the trick.
Whether or not wearable technology will be another “flash in the pan” or not, remains to be seen. Everyday consumers are fickle when it comes to what they want and wearable technology is a hot topic right now. Despite all of the interest in this line of innovation, there are some real issues associated with the launch of wearable technology.
Data Harvesting and Lack of Transparency
As convenient as it may sound to adopt wearable technology on a global scale, consumers tend to forget they are putting their personal data at risk. Every wearable technology manufacturer sells these products for financial gain, but also to collect as much user data as possible. In nearly every case, the harvested data is then sold to third-party advertisers.
This is not of great concern to most consumers, as they want quick access to everything and everyone, at any given time. But companies active in the wearable technology sector will have to offer some level of transparency regarding user data collection. Detailing which part of the ecosystem requires what type of user data, and more importantly, how it will be used, is a good place to start.
Blockchain technology, which is used to power the Bitcoin network, is the most transparent technology in existence. Not only can the blockchain be used to record payments, but it can be adapted to suit any need. Digital voting, storing data, decentralized communication, and much more, can all be achieved by embracing blockchain technology.
Regarding wearable technology, blockchain technology can be used to shed light on how user data is being used within company ecosystems. Furthermore, decentralized applications built on top of the blockchain could make their way to wearable technology in the future. In fact, the possibilities are just endless and they extend far beyond software purposes as well.
At this time, it makes sense for wearable technology manufacturers to keep everything as centralized as possible. vWearable technology is a new form of innovation, of which we have to properly understand the consequences before using it on a large scale. However, these companies also have a responsibility to be transparent towards their users, and blockchain technology will prove to be a great ally to that extent.
Images courtesy of Shutterstock, The Crazy Programmer, Cisco
Also published on Medium.