Category Archives: Wearable Technology

Wearable Device Tweaks – Better Security, Engagement and Fulfillment

Wearable Device Tweaks – Better Security, Engagement and Fulfillment

Wearable Device Tweaks

Wearable Device Tweaks

Though for many of us wearable tech still equates to the fitness monitor we had to have, loved for a month, and then forgot about, or perhaps the smartwatch that was going to revolutionize our lives but now just tells us the time, the adoption rates of this technology are increasing rapidly and perhaps we should thank a few forward-thinking developers for this trend. Though fitness monitors certainly have their place, and many athletes swear by them, the wearable tech coming out today promises far more for the everyman with the latest devices supporting third-party apps, offering relevant insights into our lives, and making the things we do every day more enjoyable. The next generation of wearable device tweaks promises better engagement and enhanced fulfillment through the activities that matter to us the most.

Data Gathering

Much excitement exists around the realm of Big Data and all that it promises, and wearable tech is one of the most personalized collectors of such data. No longer simply measuring primary health metrics such as heart rate and sleep, wearable tech is now able to track far more personal statistics such as locations visited, time spent on specific websites and applications, stress levels, comprehensive body functions, and much more. In fact, we’re reaching a stage where if you want to track it, somebody is probably developing a device so that you can. The value of this very specific and personalized data is, of course, customized insights that pertain directly to the user for enhanced engagement in everything they’re already doing.

Security

An area not often reflected on with regards to wearable tech, security is, in fact, at the fore of many of these devices. From GPS locators ensuring that children are safely where they should be to panic buttons that send emergency services location and trauma details, wearable tech is helping keep us safe and offering peace of mind. Of course, if you’re not a fan of Big Brother watching your every move you might have some reservations, but that’s a debate for another day.

Educational Tools

Though still an area in the earlier stages of development, wearable educational devices could soon be encouraging us to stay focused both through devices that track our awareness and mechanisms that enhance our engagement. Already virtual reality is being used to provide experience-style education systems in many schools, but it might not be long before the majority of classrooms are equipped with sensors that help educators understand how best to captivate students through the monitoring of vital statistics or devices that expertly train users in practical applications.

Just For Fun

And let’s not forget the most appealing part of our day; wearables further promote good ol’ fashioned fun, enhancing our downtime by finding ways to make our leisure activities even more amusing. The mind-boggling craze Pokémon GO is one point in case, though I’ll admit perhaps suggesting this leisure activity is ‘traditional’ might be going a bit far. Already the Pokémon GO developers are looking for new ways of boosting user engagement with the possibilities of augmented reality technology and wearable technology coming up trumps. For those less inclined to wander the streets searching for stray Pokémon, however, developers are producing leisure devices with many other functions; UV sensors that monitor sun exposure, shoes that steer you in the right direction, selfie drones, and even cocktail-making dresses. If you can think it…

No matter your preferences, there’s probably already a wearable device designed to enrich your life. Though Gartner observes that “most wearables are still exploratory products,” the next decade is likely to see an influx of gadgets that monitor and improve a variety of fields and maximize user engagement in real life.

By Jennifer Klostermann

Combining IoT Gizmo Kits With Your 3D Printer

Combining IoT Gizmo Kits With Your 3D Printer

IoT and 3D Printing

The 3D printer in my cubicle keeps printing name tags without my name and only cube number instead—should I be worried about this?

Imagine a future where an “organizational” 3D printer is stationed in every cube. You are working away on a project, when suddenly the printer comes to life. You remotely check it from time to time, just to see what it is printing. As the object begins to take shape, you recognize it to be a nameplate. Eventually, you see your cube number, but a different name has been printed on the nameplate. Am I unemployed? Am I moving to a new cube? These are just a few questions which may come to mind. Something like this situation could very well happen, and maybe sooner than you might think. I have been using 3D printers for more than four years now, and during that time, I have learned several lessons about 3D materials, printing and ultimately how to start getting up to speed on this amazing tech. First off, there are many 3D printers out there in the market right now.

You can purchase printers that sit in your home and print just about anything you can imagine. You can send a picture of yourself off, and get a 3D print of you. Alternatively, there are companies that offer print services where you send them what you want printed and they print it and send it back to you in a matter of days.

Why, then am I talking about this market and technology on a site that focuses primarily on Big data, Cloud and IoT, you may be asking? Well, that is a very interesting question. The first part of that question is simply that 3D printing is a very intriguing market. For small companies which either create or are considering creating new products, a 3D printer can help them move their dream quickly forward. Building architects can easily print out their designs in three dimensions. No more hours of model building; simply create the 3D file and print your building. Making massive changes to your fleet of planes? That’s ok, create the 3D file again and print away.

In the growing world of new and innovative IoT creations and objects, a 3D printer is a great starting point to launch your idea. You can print the object you are considering to help achieve proof of concept. Then, you can iterate the case, the boards and all of the component pieces. You can design precisely how everything fits together. And you can easily figure out how much will actually fit in your creation.

All of this and more helps innovators perform rapid prototyping and save a lot of time and energy in the process. It allows for the real-time changes in your innovation, which in turn helps it move to production faster (in theory, of course). You can also get printable material that conducts electricity; with the use of a 3D printer or pen, you can print in metal or flexible plastic, and with some of the 3D pens, you can even create a Henna-style tattoo on a person (there are pens that print cool – you cannot use a regular 3D pen on a human, for it would not only burn their skin, but isn’t designed to “stick” onto the skin in the first place).

cloudtweaks-comic-data-3d-printing

Now, the question is: Will a 3D printer be the centerpiece of the home of tomorrow? I’ve seen various future living spaces featuring 3D printers, and I am not convinced that in the majority of people will have one of these things in their living rooms. I do think a number of 3D printers will exist, however. For the most part , the price is far too high now for most people to invest and have one in their home. But in the next few years, we could see a drop in prices to help make 3D printers more of a mainstay in homes and small businesses.

Where I see this technology really making a huge impact—beyond increasing the velocity of innovation itself—is in schools and universities. There are IoT toolkits you can buy right now that include the “guts” of IoT connections, like Bluetooth, Raspberry PI, Wi-Fi and even cellular connections to cloud-based controls. Combine these IoT gizmo kits with a 3D printer, and you now have the capacity to create IoT devices that include custom forms.  Imagine a robot that resembles a Labrador Retriever or a tiny lamp that actually lights up on its own. These are just a few examples of creations that even younger students can dream up.

iot-lamp

So, while I believe there probably won’t be a 3D printer in every living room anytime soon, I do think there will be many 3D-printed objects we can use in our everyday lives. If you wander the various internet sites that offer you 3D objects you can print on demand, or the various companies that have created books to create 3D objects with 3D pens, you will find almost anything you could possibly want to print and use. For schools, inventors, building architects and people that simply dream in all three dimensions, the awesome reality of 3D printing is nearly here.

Now, if someone could direct me to the nearest body shop that can 3D print a fender for my newly dented car, I would be thrilled!

By Scott Andersen

How Wearable Devices Are Making A Healthy Society Around Us

How Wearable Devices Are Making A Healthy Society Around Us

Wearable Devices

Having smartphones to smarter the way we communicate or stay connected is an old fable. Technology has evolved itself impeccably and over its boulevard, it has created footprints on the health industry in form of wearable devices.

A few decades back, wearable technology started to mold not only itself but the way humans used to live.

How and when it started?

For the former question, ‘necessity is the mother of invention’, I believe is the perfect answer. Here necessity points towards the need to live a comfortable life while the invention is nothing other than our wearable devices.

Turning the pages of time and a little after juggling the nerves in my brain, I can recall the calculator watch that got released somewhere in the 1980s. I’m sure many of you might have noticed their entrance. However, things changed with time, and technology started to create new benchmarks. This is where the need to create new standards raised.

In lieu of the same, I can recall the HugShirt (release at the CyberArt festival in Bilbao, Spain in 2004).

Since then wearable technology didn’t look back. Around ten years after this, Statista published a report, which shared 75 million wearable devices got sold in 2012. If this excites you, sit back and be prepared, as the figures for the year 2015 rose in an unmatched manner and exceeded the 2 billion mark. Sounds pretty exciting, isn’t it?

Wearable devices and healthy society

Apart from contributing into travel and entertainment segment, wearable and mobile devices have commendably created their space in the world of health care. Wearable devices today have a remarkable place in the healthcare industry. They not only track your fitness but also recommend you required things and share the same with your doctor. They can work as a remedy and can assist you and your doctor by monitoring your health issues and sharing the reports.

If we talk about the figures, according to a report in 2014 around 29.7 million people were using the wearable devices for fitness, while the very next year it almost doubled and touched the mark of 58.7 million.

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Wearable devices have faced a massive acceptance in the United States and this is why it generates maximum revenue of over one billion dollars from the region.

The role played by wearable devices in making a healthy society?

A study reveals that wearable devices are widely preferred for living a healthy life. The figures are expected to increase for all good reasons. However, to attract millennials it might take little more time but the parents have shown huge interest.

Let us have a look at some of the ways in which wearable devices are making us live a healthy life:

  1. Creates awareness: Wearable devices don’t get partial and thus they share the truth. Someday you might feel tired after walking for let’s say 15 minutes, but this doesn’t mean that you walked some extra steps. While you might consider it this way, wearable devices will share the exact number of steps you have taken and the calories you burnt.
  1. Educates: With a wearable device housed around your wrist you can monitor your health at any time while being anywhere. With this, you can understand the loopholes better; subsequently, make better decisions to improve your health. Imagine having a personal nutritionist with you 24 hours a day, guiding you as per your body requirements.
  1. Competition: Let us accept the fact we humans need a push in order to achieve goals, and I believe competition indeed could be a remarkable way. For this, you can have a wearable device that kicks you towards having positive competition with your near and dear ones. Imagine yourself stepping out of the gym with dual feelings; winning over your competitor and burning some extra calories.
  1. Check your sleep: ‘The subconscious state’ is what describes sleep in the best way. At such a stage if you have a device that stays awake for you, just to check if you slept well, your heart rate has been smooth, and the movements throughout the duration, this definitely gives a relaxed feeling. Not only these, but wearable devices can also accordingly plan your wake up time and make sure you follow it by reminding you.
  1. Workout becomes easy: Someday you might be tired, someday active. The same results in fluctuating workouts. While the odd days make you exhausted early, the other days you are a storm. On one hand while being in the former state you work out less and get whacked early, on the other the latter allows you to work more. With a wearable device, you can easily check your workout and eventually maintain a healthy lifestyle.
  1. Assistant for physicians and patients: Some wearable devices are designed to share your health data with your physician. Like this, your physician can’t just have a deep sneak into your health issues but also can diagnose you better. While on one side this allows you to remotely get yourself checked, on the other hand, it saves the time of your doctor without compromising with the health vitality.

Conclusion

Wearable devices aren’t just a new trend that is gaining all the attention due to their design and style, but they have proved their entity by assisting, guiding, and motivating the general people towards the health. Maybe this is why the wearable device market is increasing high above with every passing day.

By Shahid Mansuri

How IoT, Wearables, and Mixed Reality May Disrupt Banking

How IoT, Wearables, and Mixed Reality May Disrupt Banking

Banking Disruption

Technology and finance have always gone together. It takes the best, most secure technologies to keep stockpiles of money safe.

We don’t often consider banking and technology together, but it’s the banking industry that stands to be disrupted most by emerging technologies like the Internet of Things, augmented and virtual reality, and wearable technology.

Whether that disruption comes from established players or new ones is yet to be determined, but it’ll be interesting to watch things take shape.

Changing the Face of Consumer Payments

Payment processing

Millennials are one of the most difficult groups to pin down. Younger generations like doing things new ways, and a recent survey found 73 percent of millennials are looking to Google, Apple, PayPal, and other tech companies for new financial offerings instead of their banks.

It’s millennials that drive the push for mobile, contactless payments. Both established tech and financial companies along with startups like Adyen, TransferWise, and Currency Cloud are rushing to create intuitive ways to use mobile phones for payments.

Now that most major merchants are equipped to handle contactless payments, it’s only a matter of time before you’ll need neither your card nor phone to make a purchase in store. Keychain dongles with timed, regenerating passcodes have long been used to secure financial information on the enterprise side.

Introducing these to the consumer side brings a cryptocurrency level of verification and encryption to mobile payments, and thanks to two-step authentication implemented in popular consumer platforms like Gmail and Steam, understanding of this technology is somewhat ubiquitous.

And it’s not just consumer banking that’s seeing rapid changes.

Evolving the Trading Floor

When the second Oculus Rift development kit was released, Fidelity Labs created an innovative new way for people to view their investment portfolio with Stock City. Instead of stale, boring graphs and charts, each investment is translated into an equivalent building that builds a town. Like Sim City, Stock City requires a carefully planned and executed balance to maintain and grow.

This was just one taste of one direction investment firms are taking virtual, augmented, and mixed reality.

Over the summer, Citigroup released a video showing proof of concept for an AR application that extends the desktop into the real world. It utilizes Microsoft’s Hololens, which, like the Rift HDK2 isn’t ready for the consumer market. Using AR to pull stock quotes, graphs, and other visual data into a 3D world makes it easier to see patterns and optimize trades.

Polish company Comarch is taking things even further. Comarch designed a virtual reality investment newsroom for their wealth management clients. Creating a virtual space gave the feeling of virtually meeting with clients and reviewing their portfolio one-on-one even though it’s in the digital space.

Providing Marketing and Education

It’s not just the financial industry involved in these new technologies. From artificially intelligent chatbots like Taco Bell’s Tacobot helping consumers shop to location-based augmented reality games like Pokemon Go motivating record numbers of people around the globe to get outside and explore, every industry is finding value in the new Internet.

This makes it more important than ever for the financial industry to provide consumers with financial education and other refined services. While using AR to find imaginary creatures, consumer can also locate ATMs, money management services, and more. Not only do customers need to be educated on how to utilize technical aspects of these platforms, but how to pay for them.

Microtransactions, subscription services, and even fraudulent schemes are going to occur using these technologies. Consumers need to be provided with ways to responsibly navigate this new world with all its gadgets and technologies.

These technologies represent new marketing avenues as well. Instead of creating flat, YouTube-style videos, brands can now create immersive, 360-degree experiences that fully engage consumers from every angle. IoT devices like Amazon Dash help you bypass search engines entirely to create a direct connection to customers.

Understanding Emerging Technologies

Of all companies, it’s likely to be Microsoft that jumpstarts the VR revolution. With its announcement in October 2016 that Windows 10 will soon be compatible with its $300 headset, Microsoft is hoping to bridge the gap between consumer and enterprise and make VR as ubiquitous as the flat-screen monitor or smart TV.

The first step to getting started with these new technologies is to explore their capabilities firsthand.

Smartphone-powered VR headsets are available practically everywhere for as little as $10 and as much as $200 while desktop-powered VR starts at around $500. Spherical cameras can be found for as low as $100. IoT sensors, Raspberry Pi and Arduino boards, and development kits are readily available to create smart devices, applications, and experiences. Or just wait for Microsoft’s headset.

Experiencing the technology firsthand helps in understanding the full capabilities. I can spend all day describing to you the feeling of being surrounded by 3D holograms of spreadsheets, databases, and more, but you can’t understand it until you see it for yourself.

So check them out – maybe you’ll see something these other companies didn’t and kickstart your own tech revolution.

By Brian Penny

Embedded Sensors and the Wearable Personal Cloud

Embedded Sensors and the Wearable Personal Cloud

The Wearable Personal Cloud

Wearable tech is one avenue of technology that’s encouraging cloud connections and getting us all onto interconnected networks, and with the continued miniaturization and advancement of computing the types of wearable tech are always expanding and providing us with new opportunities. A few years ago, smartwatches were rather clunky devices with their computing power quite obviously on display, but today the sleek devices that adorn our wrists offer as much style as tech capability. How long until the stylish eyewear sported offers more than protection from UV rays, and the clothes we’re donning provide insights into our physical condition?

Wearable Tech & The Cloud

Much of wearable tech’s advantage is in the data it’s able to collect, store, and ultimately send out for analysis. The cloud plays an integral role in wearable tech, not least of all the management of the data. Moreover, with advances in connection methods, battery life, and cloud infrastructures the insights we’re able to take from all of this collected data are enhanced, just as the time to realization is shortened. In fact, much of the intelligence wearable devices feed back can now be achieved in real time thereby strengthening the advantages. Without the cloud, wearables may be relegated to the awkward corner, requiring far more user interaction and administration than most are willing to give, but as the cloud makes wearable communication a smooth, sleek, and autonomous procedure, so too does is provide the added profit of connection to social media networks for even more personal and insightful gains.

Wearable Tech & Mobile Computing

wearablecloud-infograph

According to researchers and infographic discovered via the University of Alabama at Birmingham, wearable tech could be heading in the direction of a ‘wearable personal cloud.’ With the latest in embedded sensors advancing smart clothing, nodes would be able to communicate effectively with smartphones, smartwatches, and tablets, and UAB researchers suggest that small computers, perhaps ten cheap and petite Raspberry Pis, embedded within a smart jacket would mean mobile devices could do away with complex and powerful processes as, instead, they become “dumb terminal devices” connected to the smart jacket mainframe. Says Ragib Hasan, Ph.D., assistant professor of computer and information sciences in the UAB College of Arts and Sciences, “Once you have turned everything else into a ‘dumb device,’ the wearable cloud becomes the smart one. The application paradigm becomes much more simple and brings everything together. Instead of individual solutions, now you have everything as a composite solution.”

The wearable personal cloud proposed by Hasan and his colleague, Rasib Khan, is a step ahead of smart clothing in that the system model can be extended to items outside of the clothing set. It’s proposed that these devices could be linked together into a shared cloud which would provide invaluable information in emergency and disaster situations. Suggests Hasan, “With seven to ten people wearing such a cloud together, they create what we call a hypercloud, a much more powerful engine. The jacket can also act as a micro or picocell tower. All of its capabilities can be shared on a private network with other devices via WiFi or Bluetooth. If a first responder is out in the field and doesn’t have complete information to act on a mission, but someone else does, it can be shared and updated through the cloud in real time.” Additional benefits of this wearable personal cloud come into play with monitoring and maintaining patient health status in hospitals, and furthermore, personal data could be retained within the wearable jacket, thus providing better data security and privacy.

private-cloud-tweaks-comic

Today, the idea of a wearable personal cloud is drawing attention, but with such rapid progress it’s hard to imagine what the next few years will bring. Some experts believe wearables will in fact morph into ‘implantables’ in the not too distant future, and it’s possible that much of the work put into today’s wearable tech will be supplanted with the future’s implantable tech. For now, most of us are more comfortable being able to take off our smart devices as we choose, and innovators still have a way to go before the general public agrees to build technology into themselves.

By Jennifer Klostermann

Security and the Potential of 2 Billion Device Failures

Security and the Potential of 2 Billion Device Failures

IoT Device Failures

I have, over the past three years, posted a number of Internet of Things (and the broader NIST-defined Cyber Physical Systems) conversations and topics. I have talked about drones, wearables and many other aspects of the Internet of Things.

One of the integration problems has been the number of protocols the various devices use to communicate with one another. The rise of protocol gateways in the cloud service provider market is an incredibly good thing. Basically, this allows an organization to map sensors and other IoT/CPOS device outputs to a cloud gateway that will connect, transfer and communicate with the device – regardless of the device’s protocol of choice.

Racing out of the Gate

horse-race-1507078_640

What the new gateways do is remove integration as a stumbling block for ongoing and future IoT solutions. Pick the wrong horse in the initial protocol race? With a gateway, it doesn’t matter. You can, over time, replace the devices deployed with the orphaned protocol and move forward with your system. The cloud service provider protocol gateway gives you the flexibility to also consider deploying multiple types of sensors and protocols, instead of limiting your organization to one.

The question going forward is this: does the integration provided by the gateway give rise to the broader concept of an IoT broker? This is where the services offered by IoT devices could be parsed out and shared within organizations and companies that are members of the broker. Think of it as being like a buyer’s club for sensors.

From my perspective, the issue that keeps me awake at night is IoT device security. For the most part, IoT devices are often ‘fire and forget’. Yes, occasionally, you may have to change a battery or replace a cellular connection. Sometimes you may have to update how the device is deployed. Others just aren’t going to be attacked because you won’t gain anything. I read an article that wrote about hacking the river monitoring system, causing a flood downstream. I thought about that for a long time, and I realized the reality of flooding is we know when it coming and everyone would be out there with manual measurements anyway. That would work. There are other ways to create an effective attack through the IoT.

It is the security of IoT devices that will become more and more troublesome. Firstly, because the number of them is growing rapidly. From 10 billion or so deployed in 2015 to more than 40 billion devices deployed by 2020. That’s 4 times the devices in the next 4 years.

If we consider the reality of devices, that means that many devices that are deployed today will still be deployed in 4 years. The cost of devices and often the capital expenses for hardware are spread over 3 to 5 years. That means a growing number of devices will be already deployed by 2020. It isn’t a run to the cliff and then leap into 40 billion deployed devices.

2 Billion Device Failures

IOT-DEVICES-BW

What scares me is that there are 10 billion or so devices deployed today. Logically, 2 billion of them will fail. 2 billion more will be replaced naturally. That leaves 6 billion devices deployed with the security solutions of today – that will rapidly become obsolete. That is a fairly expensive number to replace. The gateways mentioned earlier in this article will suddenly appear again. Today, they represent a way to bring multiple IoT protocols together. In the future, they will become the best line of defense for deployed devices.

Deploying secure solutions at the gateway level will be the best defense against attacks for IoT devices that do not have integrated security. The next-best thing would be the deployment of devices with easily removed security modules, but that is a consideration for upcoming devices – not ones deployed today.

A secure IoT future – enabled by a simple cloud gateway.

By Scott Andersen

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