Issues with Wearable Technology

Wearable technologies are the new battleground for Silicon Valley companies. However, as with every new technology, it has yet to be perfected. The biggest criticism is the teams that develop them are not diverse enough.

Smart watches do not fit smaller wrists, as they were designed with men in mind. Isabelle Olsson, lead designer of Google Glass, states that “designs are a reflection of the team that created them, so in many cases it happens to be a very male-skewed object that comes out in the end … Unless we solve the gender balance in the teams that are developing these things, we’re not going to see a solution.” She believes that if more women enter the tech industry, these issues will be less prevalent. Traditional tech items, such as computers phones and tablets, do not face this challenge, as they as seen as unisex and accessible to a broad range of people. The fact that they are associated with the human body makes it trickier to create a one size fits all.

One aspect that accessibility relies on is modularity, which is the ability of a product to be taken apart, personalized, and put back together. The Apple watch is more modular than Google’s watch, due to the different metals, sizes, and band styles that are available. As technology and fashion continue to merge, the further development of wearable technologies will only improve and enhance daily activities.

Privacy concerns also a large concern regarding wearable technology. Research shows that employees are more productive if they know they are being monitored. However, this raises privacy and data protection concerns among trade unions and employees. Furthermore, companies may need to restrict or ban the use of wearable technology where employees have access to valuable intellectual property. For instance, Google Glass may be banned from call centers, where staff have access to customer records. The rapid development of wearable technology raises the question of how to prevent it from invading the privacy of people and how to protect the intellectual property of companies.


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