Are you a Glasshole?

Wearable devices are proliferating and are here to stay

SASKATOON, SK, Mar 21, 2014/ Troy Media/ – Recent incidents involving Google Glass started me thinking about the whole wearable trend that’s gathering momentum, particularly in North America.

One incident involved a woman wearing Google Glass while driving. She got a ticket for wearing the device, fought it in court and won. The second involved a woman wearing her Glass in a bar. At first it was a novelty to the other patrons, but it soon turned ugly when other patrons decided they didn’t want someone filming them in the bar without their permission. She was shocked to think that people would take offence.

Google Glass isn’t even widely available yet and it’s already spawned a new word to describe those who wear them. “Glassholes” pretty much sums up a significant number of people’s opinion of the device and the “Glass Haters” are the ones who use the term. It’s almost like a cult thing and what surprises me is that the people who wear these things think it’s useful enough that they would wear them wherever they go.

To me that falls under the “what are they thinking” category. How can people get to the point where their interaction with the rest of the world has to be through a glass lens and what can possibly be so important that all that information has to be right in front of your eye. And why would anyone want to look like a dork on purpose?

At the Consumer Electronics Show (CES) this year there was an explosion in wearable tech. Google Glass, smart watches, fitness trackers, devices like scales, blood pressure monitors and fitness bands that all work with the same software to give you instant measurements on a myriad of different things.

On one hand all I can say to that is “huh?” On the other hand, I get it and am excited by it.

Google Glass

Why, exactly, do we need a scale that, when we step on it, uses Wi-Fi to send the data of our weight to a website? Other connected devices take our blood pressure, get the data from our fitband and several other devices and save that data to the same site. Then we can call the data up and see everything that’s been loaded.

How many people want to know that last Sunday they weighed 200 pounds, had a heart rate of 68 (increasing to 89 for 10 minutes when the boss came in), their blood pressure was 130/70, they had walked 956 steps and burned 300 calories? Or that other wearable devices will tell you that, during that time, you took 14 phone calls, five of which went to voicemail and you had 42 text messages and 66 e-mails?

I do – I’m kind of weird that way, but it really sounds to me like a load of data that only a small minority would ever look at – and once you’ve looked at it what do you do with it? You can either use the data to change your lifestyle, lose weight, get more exercise and so on, or you can do nothing with it except marvel at how much data you can collect about yourself very easily.

While I personally think Glasshole is an appropriate name for those wearing who wear Google Glass – I wouldn’t be caught dead with one on – I also think that other trends in wearable are worthwhile.

The Pebble watch or Samsung Gear or the upcoming (possibly) iWatch are all devices that I think have merit. In business, you need to have the ability to communicate quickly and it’s pretty darn amazing to get e-mails and text messages on a watch and leave your phone in your jacket pocket set on vibrate so as to not interrupt a meeting.

Wearables are the new frontier: we now have the technology to make them small enough and elegant enough to make them an item the average consumer would want.

If we embrace wearables, then the advancements in unifying technologies will mover forward at an increasing rapid rate. But ask yourself: are you’re itching to get your hands on the latest suite of connected devices or do you think this whole thing is a passing fad?

I, myself, don’t think so.

Troy Media columnist Murray Hill reviews products weekly. You can follow Murray on Twitter at @MurrayDHill.

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