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News & Views from Alchemis

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Who will reap the new business rewards as wearable tech evolves to the next level?

Over the last few weeks I have been reading more and more stories in the marketing and national press about the rise in popularity of wearable technology.

Combine this with the fact that earlier this month (on 9th April), it was apparently “Global Internet of Things Day” (I suppose that this must be a bit like Mother’s Day for a Smart Fridge) and you can probably predict what the not too distant future will look like for us.

Now, just in case you’re not a member of the geek brigade and not up to speed with the wonders of science fact in 21st century life, “wearable tech” is (fairly obviously) an electronic/technology device that you would wear rather than just carry around with you – for example, Google Glass.

Strictly speaking, wearable tech has been around for years. I seem to remember having a calculator watch in the early 1980’s… Not that I ever really used it as a calculator, I just used to think it looked a bit flash at the time, what with all the buttons. But it was the wearable tech of its day. You could go back further than that though and say that the first wristwatch in 1868 was “wearable tech” in the days when Queen Victoria was still on the throne.

Developments in technology are becoming ever more sophisticated and bring a never ending torrent of new business opportunities across a mind boggling array of products and industries. But despite all this, it has come to my attention that wearable tech is just so “last week” now… Instead, all hail the dawning of the age of embeddable implants.

I had to double check this article to make sure it wasn’t published on April Fool’s Day, but apparently this will be the shape of things to come. A couple of examples are:

  • With the use of magnets, one embedded in each ear, you can listen to music through them, via a wire coil worn around the neck, that converts sound into electromagnetic fields, creating the first ‘internal headphones’
  • An internal compass – this works by sealing a miniature compass inside a silicon coat, within a rounded Titanium shell, to be implanted under the skin. An ultra-thin whisker juts out, which is activated when the user faces north, to lightly brush an alert on the underside of the skin.

Whereas I can’t imagine that everyone will feel the need to gradually transform themselves into something akin to The Terminator, an obvious beneficiary of these applications would be the military. It would enable soldiers to “travel lighter and smarter” for a start.

But here’s the thing… just like my previous blog that looked at the story of the smart fridge serving up spam, surely the hackers of tomorrow would be looking for ways to infiltrate those wearing embeddable tech. After all the coverage of the Heartbleed bug in the last few weeks, would the IT security breaches of the future involve a hacker turning an army onto itself… or at the very least least giving itself wrong directions?

I’ve already written blogs about how it should be a bumper time in terms of new business opportunities for IT Security companies. But now I can see an extension of that. As the humans of the future gradually (and willingly) transform themselves into cyborgs, I can see the potential for companies like Norton and Symantec setting up offices in GP surgeries. Or maybe the role of GP will broaden to enable them to detect a virtual virus in a patient as well as a real one.

Not only would you go there for your flu jabs, but at the same time you’d have your embedded internet security firewall updated to protect you from being turned into a zombie botnet and emptying your own bank account straight into a scammers pocket.

Welcome to the Matrix people!

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