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.

Death of the Smartphone?

While we all wait for the next versions of iPhones and Galaxies, are they “dead men walking?” Technology changes – fast. Where could the smartphone go?

To use an analogy for most of you, it could go the way of the VCR. That technology is commercially dead, but its function lives on through DVR capabilities, and it’s more robust than ever by allowing you to record multiple programs and play them back on any TV that’s part of your in-home cable setup or any device that’s connected to your TV provider’s app.

The iPhone, the world’s first smartphone, is 10 years old. In dog years, that’s well into senior citizenry. In tech years, it’s older than dirt. In its time, it revolutionized how we interface with the world. Besides being a telephone, it’s a handheld computer and an ever-improving still/video camera that gets better only because engineers in a competitive market find new tweaks.

Smartphones have crossed several major thresholds in the way we live:

  • We can communicate by voice, text message or email with anyone at any time.
  • We can search for and buy almost any product imaginable from any place in the world that has an internet connection (make sure it’s secure).
  • We can buy tickets for a local theater production or an around-the-world trip.
  • With ability to broadcast videos over social media, we have changed forever the ways in which government agencies and businesses deal with us a citizens or customers.

What’s next? We have some glimpses, and here are some thoughts – in no particular order.

  • Wearables: They come in all forms, sizes and shapes, and I could foresee parts of smartphones in all of them. For example, you could have a telephone in a headset or small earpiece, and that could connect to eyeglasses and/or a wristwatch. We have a lot of the individual pieces now, and Bluetooth to connect them. In the short term, we can refine them to make them easy for the masses to use and make them as affordable as a smartphone.
  • Augmented Reality: This can create safety issues while driving or walking, but AR tied to your glasses can replace the smartphone screen. You’ll be able to read documents or view pictures and videos with part of your visual field – and it could be made adjustable depending on where you are and what you’re doing. You might use it for Google Maps walking directions, and maybe your AR glasses could project a heads-up display on your windshield for driving directions.
  • Artificial Intelligence: When combined with a wearable, it might ask you questions based on your activity – like “do you want directions to the supermarket?” – and automatically connect you to an app to get you there. It might ask you if you want to count steps and take your pulse or blood pressure.

Some futurists think our species will become cyborg-like over the years, combining our humanity with biomechanical advances to improve our motor skills. Add in AI, and we could just become “walking smartphones.” Speculation aside, technology always advances to help us do things better and develop new ways of doing things. It’s the way of the world, and it happens faster than we can usually imagine.

As you adapt new technologies for your everyday life, we can help you integrate them across all platforms and help you look at how new developments can affect the way you live, work and play. Always feel free to contact us by phone – 973-433-6676 – or email for assistance or answers to your questions.

Wear it…Do it

A really close friend of ours who crossed a trip to CES (Consumer Electronics Show) in Las Vegas off his bucket list said wearable technology was the fascination for him. Will you want to trade a Rolex for an Apple Watch? It’s a fun trade to ponder.

If you have a Rolex, you know it’s an exquisite timepiece that speaks to the ultimate in quality and fashion. But Internet-connected watches are stepping up in quality as a timepiece – and let you do things like read and write emails and text messages, open your garage door. It’s a sign that a lot of functional apps are moving from your phone to your wrist.

Sony’s Smart Watch 3 and LG’s LG-W120L were two headliner smart watches at CES. But the prospect of the Apple Watch, most likely in March, is the elephant that’s not yet in the room but is walking to the door.

Is Apple going to be cutting edge? Only time will tell. But one thing about Apple is that its new products generally work well out of the gate. The company vets its developers and tests their work, and the result is a relatively bug-free application that’s as secure as you can get.

So, as the Apple apps move from the device to the wrist, Apple Pay is an indication of what we can expect. All you need to do is have your phone in your hand, put your thumb on the reader and go. It’s taken off so fast, that we’ve come across cashiers in stores who haven’t yet learned how it works. If you can transfer Apple Pay from an iPhone to an Apple Watch, you’ll be able to activate the reader and press your thumb in one motion.

Whatever we wear and use to access the Internet, 2015’s realities will be compared to the movie “Back to the Future II,” which looked some 25 years or so into the future. We don’t have flying cars or robots like Rosie from the Jetsons, but we have drones, and some companies say they are close on hoverboards and self-lacing shoes.

Once wearable technology becomes more commonplace, we are sure that app developers will quickly find ways to make it more usable. When Apple introduced the iPad, it seemed to need to justify its existence. Today, tablets are becoming replacements for laptops for certain types of applications, especially for people who travel or do a lot work from outside the office. Wearables are likely to take over many of the functions of mobile phones, and that means people will be walking into offices and homes and accessing our networks.

We’ve already talked about network security. In addition, you’ll need network stability to make sure all those new devices and technologies can work as you and everyone in your office or home expects. Nothing gets more frustrating or aggravating than the latest-and-greatest technology that doesn’t work. We can help you step forward to the future by analyzing your network and the load it will need to handle. Call us – 973-433-6676 – or email us to set up an appointment. And, we’ll check out your security at the same time.

By the way, we still think automobiles have the longest way to go in the Internet of Things. Yes, there’s a lot of good phone integration, and you can use apps to send commands to your car. BMW is even testing a valet parking app. That will most certainly be a convenience – especially if all I need to do is talk into my watch.