Years ago, Nike released Nike+ – a magical little device you could put into your shoe, connect to your iPod or iPhone and track your distance and calories burned. It took off like wildfire but not many users truly understood the sensor qualities of the device.
Today, Bluetooth is one of the first words out of newborn’s mouth. Using Bluetooth technology, wearables have taken off. These somewhat fashionable wardrobe additions can track your vitals, where you’ve been or where you’re going, and more with new functionality added each day.
Unless wearing excessive accessories becomes fashionable again (remember the 80s?), at what point does a user get tired of strapping on device after device before their feet hit the floor? What started as a convenience has become a hassle and a downright burden.
It’s time to take them off and go about your lives with the one sensor you really need, your phone. With belt cell phone holders still widely unfashionable unless you’re on a worksite, the cell phone is the ultimate “unwearable” device.
More than simply unwearable, your cell phone is actually the hub of an anti-wearable network. If you think about it, without any poking or prodding from you, your phone can freely interact with other apps, devices, machines and networks and decide if it’s worth notifying you.
Want to know about a nearby giveaway of Boy Band tickets your daughter is dying for? Absolutely. How about that your nephew’s soccer game some 3,000 miles away has been postponed? Probably not.
We’ve put ourselves in a predicament – we want notifications instantly but only on the stuff we care about. For example, no matter what settings I edit, I always get the startling alarm weather alerts a few minutes after others. While I don’t believe Verizon values my life any less than their other customers, it deeply bugs me that I’m late to the party.
The fix? How about mobile tracking and alerts that are truly customizable based on context. Using integrated apps that I consent to, my information can flow freely and securely from one point to another and bring me into the conversation – but only when necessary.
The world is getting saturated with sensors continuously gathering data –data I may, or may not want to know about depending on a variety of things like my current location, my schedule, and my needs/wants/preferences (i.e., “contexts”). When my phone knows who I am, it can instantly filter the information flowing from sensor to device to sensor and flag just the stuff I want to know and leave me blissfully ignorant of the rest.
I know there is fear about the sensor world — this “anti-wearable” world — and the idea that they’re somehow always watching us. But the truth is, sensors aren’t really spying on individuals, they’re merely generating and directing a flow of information. Those bits of information — offers, notifications, messages, alerts, and so on – are going from point A with no idea of where point B is until your phone says, “Come here. I’m point B.”
With the right direction in this anti-wearable world, our worlds can become our playground again with dangers filtered away and bustling with opportunity. Keep your phone by your side and lets see what it brings your way.