Smart Clothes Coming to Stream Your Info to Marketers
Welcome to the creepy world of Smart Clothes. What happens in your shorts doesn’t necessarily stay in your shorts.
Underwear, clothing, shoes –everything we wear – is being digitially connected to the Internet so it can broadcast some of our most personal information. Clothing linked to the Internet, can document our waist size, when we use the restroom, how long we sit, and how much we walk, to name just a few.
“Over the next three years, it will see brands at both ends of the market introducing products with unique digital identities and data profiles in the cloud from the point of manufacturing,” Forbes reports.
Profile is the key word. They are not just profiles about how the products. They’re profiles about us, gleaned from all of the data generated by the products.
The technology has been around for a while.
In 2012, the U.S. Army developed electronic underwear to monitor soldiers during combat. The undergarments can measure “altitude adaptation, burn and blunt trauma, blood volume, metabolic activity, CBRN (chemical, biological, radiological and nuclear) exposure, life sign detection and respiratory distress,” Discovery News reported. Part of the idea was to track performance and monitor casualties and possibly select soldiers for special missions.
Some of the Smart Clothes are geared for the average person.
An Internet-connected sports bra, OM, is scheduled to hit the market this spring.
“OM reads your deep biometrics with greater accuracy for greater insights,” the bra’s website tells us. “With the OM Smart App, your body’s key metrics are right at your fingertips.”
The bra comes with a “Smart Box” that can also record your data and stream it to your iOS (Apple) device.
It seems like it would be extremely helpful to gauge if you’re getting enough from your workout. But questions remain about how much personal data you would give up in return.
The Samsung Welt (i.e. belt) uses a phone app to “identify” and monitor your waistline. A sensor on the belt measures tension and will alert via your Smart Phone and tell you if you are overeating.
Bellabeat Leaf is a fashion accessory targeted for young women. It can be worn as a necklace, bracelet or pin. But that isn’t all it does. Bellabeat Leaf measures menstrual cycles, sleeping patterns and physical activity.
Media messaging is all about conditioning to us to think that streaming data about our bodliy functions is harmless and normal.
An online search of Internet-connected clothing and other products turns up scores of positive reviews. Rarely is the public reminded of the potential for gross privacy violations. Many of the privacy issues come from permissions granted by the apps. Once we consent to the app’s permissions, the sky is the limit for where the data can end up.
Forbes estimates that 10 billion clothing, accessory and footwear products will be digitally connected to the Internet of Things, a term that refers to objects that can send and receive data via the Internet. CISCO Systems, a technology company, predicts that a total of 50 billion devices will be connected to the Internet of Things by 2020.
Photo source: Morguefile.com
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