Smartwatches? Remember to be an individual not a data point…

The Badger’s trusty Tissot watch, worn every day for 25 years, has sadly expired. It’s been replaced with a new traditional timepiece made from Titanium. Before buying the new watch, the Badger explored general purpose smartwatches, both online and at the local tech store. There’s a wide range available with rich functionality and the market is growing strongly. So why didn’t the Badger buy one? Ostensibly because ultimately the salesperson rightly triggered the Badger to think hard about their upsides and downsides, something that should be done for any tech purchase! The Badger decided he’d never use all the apps and functions, didn’t want to routinely charge a watch, and didn’t want data from its use to become part of the data trail the tech giants already have on the Badger to use for their own commercial gain. Put simply, the Badger realised that a ‘private’ traditional watch which doesn’t need apps meets his requirement and will last for the next 25 years.

Like all tech, smartwatches have upsides and downsides. However, consumers rarely spend enough time thinking about the downsides before adopting or buying tech. We are fickle and easily persuaded by clever positioning and marketing that concentrates inevitably on the positives. Is, for example, issuing smartwatches to children to track their movements a useful, helpful and convenient benefit, or is it a significant downside and erosion of personal privacy when the concept was subsequently rolled out across a wider society? The Badger thinks the latter because, in extremis, your smartwatch adds to the data trail in a completely connected world and that means others can run your life, not you!

The Badger’s not anti-smartwatches, just suspicious and cautious about the use of the most valuable commodity in the current world – our data. Josh Lifton, CEO of Crowd Supply, is quoted as saying “If you want to be considered an individual and not just a data point, then it’s in your interest to protect your privacy.” Spot on! We should all think more about our privacy and about being an individual rather than a data point.

Technology moves fast and, of course, drives progress. Louis Bleriot became the first man to fly across the English Channel 110 years ago this week and just look how far global aviation has come since! Will today’s smartwatches be quickly overtaken by new developments? If Elon Musk is making implants that link the brain directly to a smartphone then the answer has to be yes! The Badger’s certain of two things, however. Implants are not for him, and his traditional watch will preserve his privacy and individuality for many years to come. Don’t be put off buying a smartwatch, just buy one not because it’s trendy, but because you’ve really thought through the pro’s and con’s, are clear that it meets your requirement, and you’re confident that you’ll remain a private individual rather than being a data point with someone else controlling your life…


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