Security features are a sad reality but could be the future of wearable tech

Why start-ups may start adding security features to their new wearables

Yesterday I conducted a straw poll on Facebook: I asked exactly what my group of twenty-something friends wanted from a smartwatch?

The ability to dictate texts, get notifications, track fitness and order a book from Amazon (very specific, but each to their own) were the most common answers, yet nowhere in my survey did the idea of personal security appear.

Yet, as the number of wearables aimed at women increases, security features are becoming commonplace.

Cuff and First Sign are among the first to release jewellery incorporating security features: partnering with an app on your iPhone – soon Android too – Cuff sends your location and audio from the device to selected contacts at the click of a button, while First Sign is a hairclip that detects violent strikes to the head and uses your phone signal to call emergency services and send images and audio from your phone.

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By intelligently using pre-existing smartphone features – microphone, camera, making calls and so on – First Sign promises emergency help quicker than taking out your phone and even provides audio and image evidence to boot.

Both are available for pre-order in the USA, but don’t be surprised if they and similar devices start cropping up across the pond, as the wearable market continues to expand and diversify.

At the moment, wearable tech is cool, interesting and fun, but it’s not essential. Security features change this could change things altogether.

The concept of needing a bracelet for protection isn't a nice thought, but ONS statistics show that women are more likely to be victims of ‘minor’ crime.

Whether it’ll catch on to a mass market remains to be seen – in my straw poll, not a single woman said they felt that they needed their wearable tech to protect them. We'd bet, however, that one day every wearable will come equipped with an instant emergency calling feature, and that it will be as commonplace for men as for women.

It’s early days, and manufacturers will have to prove their devices can work effectively in the unthinkable instance that their protection features become necessary, but this is a promising step to making wearables an integral part of our lives.

If wearable tech could save your life, would you wear it?


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