(BPT) - Do you think you could live without your mobile phone? What about the navigation and backup camera in your car? Could you drive as well without them? Could you get by without your smartwatch reminding you how often to get up from your desk to keep healthy or weather conditions for the day so you know how to dress?
Our obsession with technology and the information it delivers daily has progressed beyond the point of external mobile phones and smartwatches to implanted heart monitors and Fitbits. At one time, consumers were too paranoid to enter their Social Security or credit card number online, but now, they are willing to implant sensors and other wearable technologies into their bodies. In turn, companies are leveraging these devices to collect as much data about their potential customers as possible.
The latest fashion: Wearing data
Think about it: You’re carrying (and generating) large amounts of data everywhere you go with wearable and implanted technologies. This means 24/7 data collection for the companies that manufacture those devices, which in turn helps them create a 360-degree view of the patients, athletes or customers they serve with the appropriate products, services and marketing campaigns.
According to research by Talend, a cloud and big data integration software company, 33 percent of consumers already own wearables like the Apple Watch or smart clothing, and another 30 percent are expected to make a purchase within the next three years. That’s a lot of new sources of data for companies to utilize — and a plethora of information companies can use to more accurately define the preferences and needs of its customers.
How we’re using wearables
Topping the list of today’s most common consumer-use cases for embedded wearables is healthcare (57 percent), privacy (28 percent) and convenience (20 percent), all contributing to the rapid dissemination and uptake of these devices.
Healthcare is the leading use for implanted technologies, with the introduction of advanced-tracking devices such as Medtronic’s FDA-approved Reveal LINQ Insertable Cardiac Monitor with TruRhythm Detection, introduced in March of this year, which is designed to accurately identify abnormal heartbeats. This life-saving device is implanted just beneath the skin and communicates wirelessly with the patient’s bedside monitor, which uploads device data to the Medtronic CareLink network. Once the data is loaded, algorithms can be run to determine if the patient is experiencing slower than average heart rate, which can deprive the brain and other organs from getting enough oxygen. This advanced use of embedded wearables and machine learning helps physicians find answers for patients at risk of cardiac arrhythmias to better manage a range of patient populations.
Outside of healthcare, the second biggest use for embedded wearables is physical security. Several companies have started utilizing biochip implants to replace card keys and manual entry codes for employees. For example, Three Square Market offered employees implanted chips in July to make purchases in their cafeteria and break rooms, open doors, log in to computers and use the copy machine. Approximately 50 employees underwent the minimally invasive procedure, many of whom believe the chip is worth any potential discomfort, as it helps to streamline their daily processes. Though this may seem like a massive invasion of privacy for many, for others, biochip implants present a way to make life easier.
Establishing trust: Should you be worried about privacy of information?
While the results of Talend’s survey seem to point to the fact that consumers are getting more digitally comfortable, with greater trust from consumers comes greater responsibility for companies to understand the many ways they need to protect customer data.
According to Talend’s survey, the most likely scenario that would drive consumers to break up with a brand and take their business elsewhere is a breach of personal data. In fact, 78 percent of consumers want to be assured they have full visibility into what companies are doing with their data. But as implanted and wearable technology becomes increasingly common and technology improves, the trade-off between data privacy and convenience will only increase.
Consider a future of augmented reality where implanted contacts could allow you to visualize and interact with the world around you in practical ways, or a future with implanted audio wearables that translate languages in real time. Would that convenience and experience move you to adopt wearable technology even if it means relinquishing more of your personal information and privacy?
At what point of technology adoption do we all essentially become cyborgs, guided each day by the obvious and subliminal information being fed to us via embedded and external devices? The day of total automation may be here sooner than you think.
If you’re like most Americans, you probably own two or more computers and have three or more smartphones in your house. As you prepare for traveling during the busy holiday season, you’ll likely plan on taking some of those devices with you. Protect yourself and your devices from cyberattacks during the holidays with this guide.
Personal Device Protection During the Holidays
(Family Features) If you’re like most Americans, you probably own two or more computers and have three or more smartphones in your house. As you prepare for traveling during the busy holiday season, you’ll likely plan on taking some of those devices with you. Protect yourself and your devices from cyberattacks during the holidays with this guide from the experts at Trend Micro, and find more information at trendmicro.com.
In this digital era, it pays to be just as diligent when it comes to virtual properties as it does physical ones. These seven steps can help you create a more secure environment that protects your family from online attacks.
7 Steps to Better Security Online
(Family Features) Virtually no one would park a car in a busy area, leave the keys in the ignition, roll the windows down and walk away. Yet many people who would take precautions to protect their vehicles leave access to their personal and financial information wide open. In this digital era, it pays to be just as diligent when it comes to virtual properties as it does physical ones.
These seven steps can help you create a more secure environment that protects you from online attacks.
Make your device a fortress. Whether you’re using a desktop, laptop or mobile device, taking proper precautions to safeguard the device itself is your first line of defense. Use reliable internet security software, apply firewalls, block pop-ups and prevent sites from logging your location. Make it a habit to log out of websites and regularly delete your history and cookies, especially if you’re using a public system or one that others access regularly.
Shop smart. Only make purchases from encrypted sites and limit purchases to a single credit card that you regularly monitor. It’s a good idea to make online purchases using a card with a clear policy about your liability in the event your card number does get stolen or you unknowingly purchase from a fraudulent seller and need to recoup your funds.
Be wary of strangers. Although social interaction with people you’ve never met is the norm via chat rooms and other internet-enabled sources, it’s still smart to treat those encounters with caution. Never divulge personally identifying information or financial details, and avoid opening emails or following text or message links from unknown senders.
Keep privacy in mind. Know that virtually anything you post online can become public at the hands of someone with ill intentions. This even applies to things you post that you intend only for friends and family to see, as one of them can easily copy and forward on your photos, words, etc. If you’d be worried about the general public seeing it, don’t post or share it.
Go ahead, be vain. Looking for yourself online isn’t really an ego move, it’s a smart one. Periodically searching your own name could reveal information in the public domain that you’d rather keep private or it could point to potential identify fraud.
Monitor your credit and accounts. Particularly if you have an active online life, whether for social, work or practical purposes like banking or shopping, pay close attention to your credit and bank accounts. Hackers find all sorts of ways to get to your identity, but regular monitoring can help you identify a problem before it spirals out of control.
Manage passwords responsibly. If you’re like most people, you probably use the same (or a variation of the same) password across numerous accounts. It’s human; it’s easy to remember. However, once a thief or hacker figures out your log-in credentials, all of your personal information and finances are ripe for the taking. Avoid repeating passwords across multiple sites and change passwords often for better security.
For more tips to protect your family’s privacy and stay safe while online, visit eLivingToday.com.
4 Tips to Make Sense of Cyber Security
It’s no secret that kids have a sense of invincibility. While that trait can bring some endearing reminders of the innocence of childhood, it can also have some highly unfortunately consequences. In the context of cyber security, an action by an unknowing child can impact the entire family.
The majority of U.S. households are filled with devices that pose a potential threat to your personal security. In fact, according to the 2016 Global Consumer Security Survey by Trend Micro, nearly half of households have two or more computers and nearly a third have three or more smartphones.
Despite the many benefits of a highly connected world, the potential for danger is strong. While there are plenty of parental controls and blocks available, they aren’t foolproof. Educating children about potential risks and how to avoid them with these tips from Trend Micro can go a long way toward protecting your family from potential cyber problems.
1. Understand what you’re saying yes to. Be involved, knowledgeable and interested in the devices, apps and sites your children use for school and for fun. For sites they use for school, ask their teachers for more information. For apps they’re using at home, spend 15 minutes trying it yourself.
2. Use privacy settings and features. Make sure you understand what privacy protections your browser or devices offer for your family when your kids are accessing their favorite sites, apps and online services. Many browsers allow you to prevent sites from tracking what you do and where you go online, so spend some time looking at web browser settings to see what privacy options are available to you.
3. Use features and services available within an app or website. Also take a look at the privacy settings available in the specific apps, websites or games your family uses. Most will let you have a private account, which means the whole world won’t be able to see what you post or who you’re connected to.
4. Remember that being online is a public life. Nothing is truly private online. If you and your family keep this in mind, it can help you all think through what you are about to post, like and click on, as well as who you connect with online.
Explore more ideas to keep your kids and family safe online at internetsafety.trendmicro.com.
Photos courtesy of Getty ImagesSOURCE:
(BPT) - It’s everywhere — inside as well as outside your home. As digital device usage increases, you’re exposed to more and more of it without realizing how it may affect your vision in the future. We’re talking about blue light.
In its natural form, your body uses blue light from the sun to regulate your natural sleep and wake cycles. This natural light also helps boost alertness, heighten reaction times and elevate moods.
However, we use our eyes much differently than prior generations because we now use a number of artificial sources of blue light including digital screens, electronic devices and LED lighting. The evolution in digital screen technology has advanced dramatically over the years, and many of today's electronic devices use LED back-light technology to help enhance screen brightness and clarity.
These LEDs emit very strong blue light waves. Because of the widespread use and increasing popularity of these devices, we are now exposed to more sources of blue light for longer periods of time. Studies suggest 60 percent of people spend more than six hours a day in front of a digital device.
The flickering of this artificial blue light creates a glare that can reduce visual contrast, affecting sharpness and clarity. That in turn could contribute to eyestrain, headaches, physical and mental fatigue due to increasing amounts of time sitting in front of a computer screen or other electronic device.
Studies show this high-energy, blue-violet light has been found to cause significant damage to retinal cells, and is a risk factor for the onset of age-related macular degeneration, a deterioration of the part of the retina responsible for sharp, central vision.
Our eyes' natural filters do not provide sufficient protection against blue light rays from the sun, let alone the blue light emanating from these devices, or from blue light emitted from fluorescent-light tubes.
Mother Nature arms us with “internal sunglasses” made up of macular pigment. This pigment, which is comprised of zeaxanthin (zee-uh-zan-thin) and lutein at a ratio of 2:1, is found in the center of the macula (fovea). This pigment absorbs harmful blue light that can affect eye health. These “sunglasses” protect the rods and cones needed for central as well as peripheral vision.
However, if this macular pigment isn’t at optimal density, it will allow more blue light to damage these rods and cones, negatively affecting not just what you see, but how you see.
Zeaxanthin and lutein aren’t produced by the body, they must be ingested in order to ensure optimal macular pigment density. Zeaxanthin can be found in foods like corn, wolf berries and peppers. Lutein is found in foods like spinach and kale.
Since the average American diet is scarce in zeaxanthin, supplementing this antioxidant is key. Vitamins for macular health, like those made by EyePromise, can be of big benefit.
Vision becomes even more precious as we age, since the loss of independence a very real threat to aging Americans. Reduce your risk of harmful effects of blue light to your vision by increasing the density of your “internal sunglasses.”
(BPT) - The scene is all too familiar: you’re in the middle of dinner and suddenly a telemarketer’s call or dead air on the end of the line rudely interrupts your meal. Thanks to the FCC, this approach is gradually becoming a thing of the past. On June 18, 2015, the FCC adopted a proposal that will eventually lead to the demise of those unwanted calls. But due to increased regulation, privacy concerns and people just not answering their phones, the market research industry is now taking a new approach to gathering data.
Each month callers make approximately 5 billion misdialed, incomplete, disconnected or inbound calls (known as MIDI calls) to phone numbers that are not currently in use by any other business. As discussed in a recent CNBC article, these MIDI calls provide market research firms with a new way to conduct market research with consumers.
“At any given time we have hundreds of thousands of numbers not in use but receiving MIDI calls,” says Scott Richards, CEO of Reconnect Research, a subsidiary of Dial800 — a company that has connected consumers with companies for the last 25 years. Richards says that Reconnect Research is gathering information via MIDI calls that could provide valuable information to the general public. “For example, if an infectious disease breaks out, within hours we can find out if people are sick and pass that information along to the appropriate authorities.”
MIDI calls also put an end to the dreaded “robocall” that interrupts your dinner. If you dial a number and reach a survey instead, you always have the option of hanging up. You’re the one in control and it doesn’t become a disturbance in your day. Initial case studies of MIDI call surveys show that the quality of the data collected is on par with traditional research firms and they also show large participation rates. People seem to be open to being part of market research surveys when they’re given the option of participating.
Market research firms, consumers and telecom carriers alike all benefit from MIDI calls. Market research firms can quickly, accurately and cost effectively conduct phone surveys, consumers can have their voices heard and get incentives, such as gift cards to restaurants and retailers, and telecom carriers can make — rather than lose — billions of MIDI calls. MIDI calls actually cost carriers millions of dollars, so being able to utilize them for market research is a win-win situation.
So the next time you find yourself accidentally making a MIDI call, pay attention to what happens on the other end of the line. You could be playing a crucial role in the end of invasive and inconvenient robo-calls and have the opportunity to contribute valuable information to the public conversation. For more information, visit reconnectresearch.com.
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