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Opinions

Dressed in Data Wearables, IoT and Privacy Concerns

Wearables such as the Apple Watch

Wearable technology is gaining in popularity for many different uses and just like any other type of technology being adopted massively, wearables present privacy and security concerns. Advantages aside, businesses should take a step back when it comes to privacy and security issues that inevitably arise when innovations are introduced. The following is an overview of these concerns and how businesses should handle them.

Popularity vs. Security

It’s a common story with new tech devices – the more popular they get, the more effort is put into finding vulnerabilities and gaining illicit access. This means that popularity and security will forever be intertwined in hip new tech devices, whatever form they take.

The more people use devices, the more of their data is out there for thieves to take as well. Of course, different types of devices will have different security concerns.

For example, any device that actively uses Bluetooth, such as smartwatches or Bluetooth headphones, shares similar security concerns. Aside from that, there are significant health concerns to using them, which can provide users more reason to turn them off.

Businesses will need to be careful moving forward to gather important data while still respecting the privacy of their employees and customers.

Wearables and new iPads

Employee Privacy

Employees do not like to be monitored constantly while on the job. This is understandable, and too much employee monitoring, which wearables facilitate more of, can be counterproductive. While it is important for managers to monitor employee performance, it is equally as important to treat employees like adults and not be constantly watching over their shoulders.

This can make introducing and using wearable tech at a company difficult – employees may push back against it. Using it to monitor employees too much can decrease morale and ultimately harm retention as employees leave to seek other employers who will treat them differently.

Employers must find a good balance between the two extremes by effectively and reasonably monitoring their employees’ performance without being too overbearing.

Special Data Privacy Concerns Surrounding Wearable Tech And Healthcare

Companies in the healthcare field have strict, particular data security standards they must adhere to. This is not only due to choice but because it is legally mandated. The sensitive nature of personal health information can make the implementation of wearable tech in this industry tricky in spite of how it is the industry seeing the greatest benefits from the use of this technology.

Personal medical data can be recorded and sent by wearing technology. This includes information about blood pressure, activity levels, blood sugar, diet and more. These aren’t always optional devices such as Fitbits but sometimes devices people literally need to survive, such as pacemakers that doctors gather valuable data from.

This information helps doctors more closely monitor their patients’ vitals and activity and gives them the ability to provide much better care. However, healthcare professionals must be certain they have the proper permission to collect this data as well as the proper security measures in place so the data is not compromised.

Challenging Consumer Views On Data Privacy

Wearable tech is making consumers more acutely aware of data privacy concerns than ever before. This is likely because they are wearing it and thus consistently reminded of the amounts and kinds of data being collected and transmitted wirelessly.

These devices, even more than smartphones, may remind users of how much their data is shared. As more people, businesses, devices, and even animals become part of the Internet of things, these data privacy issues will become more noticeable to everyday people.

Smart Speaker and Wearables

More Data Wearables Means More Privacy Concerns

As more and more devices have the ability to link up to the Internet, there are more ways for data to be breached and privacy to be violated. At one point, it was just computers that connected to the Internet. Now a myriad of devices including smartphones, refrigerators, thermostats and basically all wearable devices can present potential privacy concerns for their users.

The sheer amount of available, useful devices means that people and businesses do not just have one localized source that connects wirelessly to a wider network. Instead, they slowly add more and more of these devices into their lives and business operations until there are tens or even hundreds of ways data from all aspects of their work and personal lives could be at risk.

The solution, of course, is not to stop using these devices completely but rather to understand what kind of information is being collected by them and where it is being sent. Alternate solutions can then be sought, such as increased data security or usage only for certain purposes.

Anyone can leverage their right to opt out of certain types of data collection if they are concerned about their privacy.

What Does The Future Hold For Wearables And Data Collection?

No one is quite sure what exactly the future will hold when it comes to wearables and data privacy. One thing is for sure, however, and that is that companies will continue to collect and rely on data in order to make important decisions about products, hiring, marketing, and other central business operations.

Technology will continue to get smaller, more compact and more convenient for its users to access. All of these signs point to an increase in the use of wearable technology as time marches forward, especially when it comes to implants and wearable tech clothing.

Consumers and companies alike need to pay special attention to cybersecurity and their rights when it comes to data collection going forward.

It is undeniable that the use of wearable tech presents significant privacy and data security concerns. Companies and individuals need to take these risks into special consideration and come up with effective strategies to mitigate these issues when adopting these technologies.

Doing this will help ensure both people and their data are kept safe and remain at their most productive. With these concerns in mind and a solid plan to address them, individuals and corporations are free to enjoy all the advantages wearable technology has to offer.

Heather Redding is a part-time assistant manager, solopreneur and a writer based in Aurora, Illinois. She is also an avid reader and a tech enthusiast. When Heather is not working or writing, she enjoys her Kindle library and a hot coffee. Reach out to her on Twitter.

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Electronics

Best Fitness Tech Device for Workouts

This is a guest post by Zoe Cohen and Cartez Augustus.

With the recent occurrence of New Year’s, everyone has been jumping on the fitness train and recommitting to resolutions that they always make but never quite stick to. Fitness-related resolutions are especially difficult to stick with, especially if you’re not naturally inclined to go to the gym on a regular basis (which makes up the majority of people who resolve to go to the gym more or at all).

Data Heavy Fitness Tech Devices

Although there’s no magical cure-all to keep you going to the gym and sticking to your resolutions, one big incentive is having tangible, measurable goals. Just think about the last time you lost weight – you probably felt a rush of excitement and pride, along with the increased motivation to keep doing whatever lost you the weight in the first place.

The more metrics you track, the better idea you have of your progress and the easier it is to set goals and measure when you’ve achieved them. That’s why investing in a fitness tech device is a great idea to spur along your resolutions and incentivize you to keep going way past the two-month period you normally last. With that in mind, we’ve rounded up a few of the best fitness tech devices on the market so you can make an informed decision about which one suits your needs best.

 

Apple Watch (Series 3)

Obviously, the Apple Watch (around $329) is more than just a fitness tech device – it’s also a smartwatch and is marketed as such. But that doesn’t mean it doesn’t do a great job tracking your fitness metrics! This high-tech smartwatch is waterproof and features GPS and its own 4G connectivity. With recording capabilities for a ton of relevant metrics plus expanded functionality, the Apple Watch Series 3 is a great option for people who want more than just a fitness tracker.

Tomtom Touch Cardio Fitness Tracker

For those who don’t want to fork out the exorbitant cost of an Apple Watch, the Tomtom Touch Cardio Fitness Tracker (around $79) is a great alternative. Not only does this fitness tech device feature all of the relevant stats, but it also offers up to 4MB of storage for songs and Bluetooth connectivity for headphones, so you don’t need to carry your phone with you during workouts. If you do choose to keep your phone handy, however, the Tomtom will display your notifications so you don’t have to be out of the loop. Note that the Tomtom is water resistant but not suitable for swimming.

Fitbit Alta HR

That latest from the renowned fitness tech device company Fitbit, the Alta HR (around $150) reminds you why Fitbit was before and still remains at the forefront of fitness tracking companies. Slimmer and with more functionality than ever, this latest model features sleep tracking sensors and accompanying software since your health isn’t just about your activity level. Tracking calories, activity level, and types of activity, the Alta HR is a great middle-of-the-road fitness tech device that will keep you dedicated to your resolutions well into the year. Note that the Alta HR is water resistant but not suitable for swimming.

 

 

Looking for something that doesn’t have you looking at your wrist every 10 minutes. Maybe you don’t like how wrist-borne fitness devices look or feel, or maybe you’re worried about losing them. Let’s show you some alternative wearable fitness tech devices that will help take your workouts to the next level.

 

UA SpeedForm Gemini 3

This fitness tech device is so subtle that you won’t even notice you’re tracking your activity level! These smart shoes from Under Armour are excellent sneakers on their own, but they up the ante by including excellent fitness trackers right in the soles of the shoes. The Gemini 3’s (around $70 – $150) feature a built-in accelerometer and a groundbreaking “jump test” to determine where your body is before each workout and help you decide how intense the workout should be. With Bluetooth connectivity and options in both black and white, these smart sneakers will help you meet your fitness goals and keep you looking stylish at the same time!

Polar H7 Bluetooth Heart Rate Sensor & Fitness Tracker

The H7 Bluetooth Heart Rate Sensor (around $70 – $150) is a popular waterproof activity tracker that actually wraps around your body in order to get super-accurate and detailed information about your activity. The built-in heart rate monitor electrodes track your BPM more accurately than many popular smartwatches. This activity tracker features 100+ sports profiles with real-time voice guidance to help you train. The GPS allows you to track your distance and plan routes. Another large component of this device is the accompanying software and social experience as you compete with friends, family, and strangers. This offers both encouragement and motivation to step up your game and really do your best.

Myontech MBODY AllSport 4 Channel

If you thought the sneakers were a bit much, just check this fitness tech device out. Myontech’s MBODY smart workout shorts are more than just your average fitness tracker. Its EMG (electromyography) sensors detect the electrical activity of your muscles, informing you not only which muscle groups are working, but also how hard. This allows you to target specific muscle groups and balance out your muscles so that they’re all working equally, thereby helping to prevent injury and create a more balanced, well-rounded, fitter you. These insights (and more) are available to you both post-workout and in real time so that you can adjust your exercise in accordance with immediate biofeedback. The sensors also help detect hidden imbalances and weaknesses in your muscles that you probably weren’t even aware of yourself. In this way, the MBODY smart shorts help you curate a personalized, targeted workout and exercise regimen. All of these features and more make the MBODY suitable for anyone, from pro athlete to average Jane or Joe looking to get in shape to someone recovering from an injury or looking to target specific needs, providing you’re willing to pay the high price tag!

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Opinions

New Wearable Tech? What are Wearables?

This is a guest post by Zoe Cohen.

Wearables, or wearable technology, is exactly what it sounds like. But while some people might think they’re gimmicky or only for fitness, they’re actually well worth knowing about. So set aside your skepticism for a moment, and we’ll answer the question “what are wearables?” in depth so you can be up to date on the latest tech!

In this day and age of ever-increasing technology use, it’s only natural that technology would make the leap from something we bear to something we wear. I’m sure you’ve heard of the Fitbit and the Apple watch, but you might not have heard of wearable tech jewelry and clothing. This article will get into all of that and some even crazier wearables you might not have heard of or even imagined.

New Wearable Tech

Just to clarify, when we say wearables, we’re not referring to headphones or Bluetooth devices that redirect calls. Though these are technically wearable technology, we are referring more to tech that picks up information about the wearer and transmits it outwards, usually to the wearer’s cell phone or the cloud. This isn’t a steadfast definition, and you’ll definitely see exceptions, but it’s the best we have to clarify between Bluetooth tech and wearable tech.

When answering the question of “what are wearables?” the first piece of tech that comes to mind are the ubiquitous fitness trackers. These accessories track your steps, activity level, heartrate, sleeping patterns, and more through the use of biosensors. Some just record results, but more and more are analyzing the collected data to illuminate your trends and recommend future courses of action. The most well-known trackers rest lightly around your wrist, but there is an increasing market for wearable jewelry, especially rings.

More and more wearables these days execute all of the above functions but then also connect with your cell phone to deliver notifications to you. The most famous example of this is the Apple watch. With these, you don’t have to fish around for your phone in order to see important information and notifications – they show up right on the tiny screen on your wrist. Text messages, e-mails, Twitter notifications, and a whole slew of customizable information will be displayed on your smartwatch, allowing you to keep your phone tucked conveniently away without missing out on information. Simpler wearables might just subtly vibrate to alert you to notifications without actually displaying them, allowing for even more discretion when you’re in a meeting or at lunch with a friend.

Future of Wearables

All of the above examples are fairly mainstream and widely accepted at this point. But you may not have heard of wearable tech clothing. The latest newsworthy example is a hat that measures the movement of truckers’ heads to determine whether they’re falling asleep on the road. Other companies are producing sports bras, yoga pants, and even denim jackets that measure all kinds of biological functions and/or allow you control over your devices. This is meant to be the latest trend, but so far the industry has been flagging a bit. We’ll see what the future holds.

An even deeper dive, however, takes us into the realm of implantables, which, again, are exactly what they sound like. Some are already well-known and have been around for years, such as cochlear implants for the hearing impaired or pacemakers for those with weak hearts. But even people without medical situations are getting implanted with microchips that allow them to pay for purchases without needing a wallet, log into accounts without passwords, and even open doors (in the case of one company that is offering to implant these chips in their employees).

 

Conclusion

To keep it short and sweet, we didn’t go into all of the implications that wearables bring with them, but hopefully you now have an answer to the question “what are wearables?” plus some ideas of what they are and what they may mean for the future. Looking for good wearable tech and don’t want to waste time, then check out: popular wearables for men & women.