Mobile and wearable computing is expanding to meet a number of our personal and professional needs. Devices sold are to reach 70 million by 2017 and sales are predicted to reach $19 billion by 2018, but what does that exactly mean for you?
On a personal level, it has potential to alter a substantially how you interact with the world. By incorporating a number of the technologies slated to hit the market within the next year there is potential to change the entire way you interact with your external environments. For example, you could wake up in the morning to the your Lark Pro gentling waking you by vibrating your arm. The vibration are said to be so gentle it will not wake someone in the same bed! You put on a jacket from a Smart Clothing line. When you leave your residence, you have switched your wrist alarm for your Smart Watch and put your Nymi bracelet on the other. Your Smart Watch can access your mobile apps, monitor your health, and keep you connected to your friends, family, and work simultaneously without the need to use your phone. The Nymi bracelet, which utilizes your unique heartbeat as the password, has stored your passwords and is used to grant you access to all of your hardware devices and software applications. When you arrive at work you take out your Google Glass and power on your tablet. Your Nymi unlocks the both pieces of hardware due to its proximity and you begin to work.
That is just a minimal overview of the few technologies you could be using to start your day. And as we continue to use mobile and wearable devices, they will be used to store our personal information. This would indicate that concerns around cybersecurity must be a priority. The onslaught of potential vulnerabilities can greatly impact the information extracted from a mobile or wearable device. These devices will be connected to your body, as if they are a part of your person, and will have access to monitor almost everything you do. Cybersecurity, along with device level security, will require diligence and rapid resolution rates from technology companies.
Another aspect to consider is whether privacy concerns lower in leu of increased convenience? As I discussed in my previous post on Big Data, mobile and wearable devices are being leveraged to capture large amounts of data about an individual. And now with startups receiving funding to develop technology that will read your mind, the stakes around data privacy and individual privacy are increasing. Technology like Google Glass has the inherent potential to be utilized to monitor or film what you are viewing and the individuals you come in contact with. This concern has already been raised by international data protection authorities who believe that Google’s revamped privacy policies may greatly impact the data they are able to legally collect on individuals. For those of us who have read and internalized ‘1984‘, the innovation, while exciting, gives us pause. It inspires us to determine exactly how much of our privacy we are trading for convenience and how can we regulate and limit the tradeoff.
It is an exciting time for the field of mobile and wearable technology. The innovation is incredible to behold and the possibilities appear to the endless. However, we must be prepared to look at the deeper issues outside of convenience and recognize the tradeoffs.