I received a smart watch/fitness tracker for my birthday this year. It of course tells the time, tracks my steps, calories I have burned, and stairs climbed and even tracks my sleep patterns. I synchronize it with my computer and, I am connected to a number of friends with the same device so we can compete with and motivate one another.
At first, I found it to be motivating and when my steps were lagging behind my friends, I would venture out for a walk instead of looking for a movie to settle down with for the evening. Now I have found different ways to get my steps, like strapping it to my cat’s collar or letting my five-year-old granddaughter, wear it.
While out Christmas shopping this weekend, I was taken back with the new smart wearable items on the market and their ability to monitor your heart rate and other health related information, make and take phone calls and incoming text messages.
Only Inspector Gadget would have thought this possible 20 years ago. Now you can find the same functionality on your smartphone that was only available on larger scale computers. It is beginning to look like our smartphones will be replaced with bracelets, necklaces, glasses, and rings as manufacturers now have the ability to pack sophisticated hardware into tiny devices that are becoming more affordable for the average consumer.
The functions on the wristband I have now, serves the purpose it was intended for… to hold me accountable… to be more active and get enough sleep. I think, in the near future, wearable technology will prove to be incredibly valuable to the aging population and myself with the other health related monitoring that it can do. I am concerned however, about how insurance companies, employers, and others with invested interest will be able to tap into this resource and gather personal health and lifestyle/behaviour information about their employees and consumers looking for insurance. Could someone be denied insurance or have their rates depend on the results from a wristband, or could someone be denied employment based on lifestyle results from this technology. Do you think wearable technology will offer us more benefits or could it lead to privacy issues?