Health Wearables in Style at CES

Wearables caught our eye at this year’s CES (Consumer Electronics Show) in Las Vegas. There’s a wearable for almost any health condition, and that has its own set of pros and cons.

The big pro, as we see it, is that you can monitor so many health conditions, such as your heartbeat, blood pressure, blood sugar levels and if you have sleep apnea. A wearable can even detect AFib. The downsides, as we see them, are that there are too many proprietary technologies that require you to wear their own watch or wristband. That immediately conjured up in my mind an image of someone rolling up his sleeve and showing his arm full of watches – just like a guy trying to sell you something on the street.

We clearly will need some sort of a more ubiquitous watch, like an Apple Watch or Fitbit, to consolidate these capabilities into one wearable device. I would shudder at the thought of getting behind an overdressed health fanatic at airport security.

On a more helpful note, Amazon, Apple and Google are joining other internet and technology giants to join a project called “Connected Home Over IP”. The group aims to make it easier for device manufacturers to build products that are compatible with smart home and voice services such as Alexa, Siri and Google Assistant.

We like this development because it will reduce a lot of electronic clutter by allowing you to consolidate a variety of smart-home technologies into one platform. That can help you control them better from a smartphone, and it can help make your home more secure from hackers because you only need to worry about a single control point.

We’ve embraced a lot of smart-home technology in our family, and the convenience is a great benefit. But we’ve always wondered about where the security is. It’s up to us to demand better security from the internet industry and product manufacturers, and this is a step in that direction. However, it’s still up to you – more than ever – to secure your IoT devices to make your smart-home technology truly smart.

Finally, there was a lot of buzz over sex and technology. We’ll sidestep all the lurid details, but sex has always sold, so we’ll be in for more of it. One sex-product developer even won an award for innovation, but it was pulled after some heavy pushback.

Sex toys aside, more technology will continue to hit the markets for anything that affects your life – for work and for play. As you add more technology, you’ll need to make sure your network has the capacity to handle new devices and systems, and you’ll need to make sure it’s all secure. That’s where we can help. Call us – 973-433-6676 – or email us to help get your new technology running.

Technology and the Romance Novel

Back in the 19th century, parents feared their children reading romance novels and exposing themselves to things that they – the parents – weren’t ready to deal with. Today, we have technology. A recent seminar on raising kids in the digital age brought home a few time-tested ideas with a new twist.

We are raising our children in a radically different technological environment than we had growing up. My parents remember their families’ first television sets. I remember the first cable TV with the long wire and the clunky rows of buttons to push to change channels. The Internet has always been there for our kids; they’ve used tablets for several years.

In fact, as it was pointed out, how does a one-year-old relate to a magazine? In their eyes, it’s a tablet that doesn’t work. Think about it. It’s close to the same size. It has images, and some can look like icons. But when a one-year-old taps or swipes a page, nothing happens.

While I heard a lot of things I already knew, hearing them all at one time provided some perspective and context. The bottom line is that kids are growing up faster, and they learn things much earlier than we ever thought. For example, while most kids in the US start driving a car through lessons and under supervision by the age of 16, they have really learned about driving at the age of 5 – by watching you. That means they not only learn an attitude about driving and how to handle a car, they also learn about habits, such as talking on the phone or texting.

Technology needs to be viewed as a tool, not a treat. Today’s world holds a lot more risks than teens becoming more sexually active because of what they read in romance novels. Online activity exposes kids to risks of being lured into very dangerous health-and-safety situations, and it can expose entire families to health-and-safety and financial risks.

Further, the seminar speaker noted, helicopter parenting – now known as drone parenting – increases risk in the long run. Kids whose parents monitored all of their online activity, including texts, eventually exhibit riskier online behavior. And through their peer groups, they likely have the collective knowledge to make their technology capable of doing things you would never imagine.

With 74% of kids now having smartphones, putting smart technology use in perspective for kids is even more critical because they may be using channels that are not familiar to you, the parent. For example, texting – which grandparents do all the time – is down among teens, while the use of Instagram and Snapchat is up. What do you know about those apps?

Online safety and safer living require a great deal of common sense – both the common sense you exercise as a parent and the common sense you instill in your children. Step into your children’s digital lives without stepping on them. For example, don’t allow them to have phones and tablets in their bedrooms. Do have family discussions about living in a world that relies more and more on connectivity.

The world has always been an exhilarating place even though its context always changes. As the parents of two technologically adept children, my wife and I can relate to every concern any parent would have. As an IT professional, I make it a point to stay on top of every development and how it affects my family. So, call us – 973-433-6676 – or email us with any questions or concerns. Together, we can help your children stay safe online and learn the lessons that will help them avoid high-tech landmines.