Smart Technology for three example Essay

3Smart Technology

SMART TECHNOLOGY

Cultural Issues in Smart Technologies

Cultural issues in Smart Technology are the changes in values, beliefs, and behaviours in a society as a result of their interaction with technological devices. These cultural issues play a significant role in innovation, adoption and acceptance of Smart Technologies in the society. Interaction of users with innovations like Google Glass, wearable fitness devices like Fitbit and use of Connected Cars influences the opinions and beliefs the particular society holds pertaining Smart Technologies. Cultural issues are important to Smart Technologies as they provide a guide for necessary and practical innovations within their social setting. Further, the cultural issues also guide innovators on the features for their innovations. Through these norms, a set of unspoken rules is also fixed to ensure developers are aware of the innovations boundaries seen as improper on their cultural setting. Inventions are primarily made as solutions for problems identified in the society by developers.

The development of Google Glass was to provide the community with a miniaturized computer that gives users hands-free usage. The users can communicate and access information on the internet with the simple use of natural language voice commands. In the development of wearable fitness devices, the developers sought to solve the age-old personal healthcare puzzle through giving users a platform on which they can monitor the functionalities of their bodies. . Fitness trackers have evolved healthcare through their different features. Mahdawi (2014), writing for The Guardian on “The Unhealthy Side of Wearable Fitness Devices” highlights how users can know health aspects such as blood pressure, heart rate and keep track of their daily exercises. Similarly, developers of Connected Cars gave users a portable Local Network through which devices inside and outside the car could communicate. All these innovations are planned and implemented based on the cultural norms of the society of their developers or their target users.

Other external forces come to play in influencing the attitudes of consumers towards Smart Technologies. The publicity held and marketing approaches taken by the manufacturer affects the adoption rate as well as the opinion on innovations. Google Glass managed to command such great enthusiasm among client due to the initial publicity strategies used by Google. The company launched the product to a selected audience mainly consisting of experts and influential people so as to create the proper publicity for their product.

Trust crisis

New technologies often have to overcome the scepticism in the market as users seek to have their concerns on the smart devices addressed before they can freely adopt the innovations. Concerns have been raised on the intensive amount of data that drives Smart Technologies. As Sparkes (2015) states, fitness wearables compromise the privacy of an individual through availing their private data on open platforms. Sparkes in another article for The Telegraph examines the risk cycling application put their owners. He notes that Hi — Tech criminals use them in tracking individuals and stealing from them. Criminals have managed to access platforms like Starva and acquire location information through the GPS logs stored on the platforms. In fact, even the country manager for Strave acknowledges the privacy risk created by the platform and urge their clients to be cautious with the private information they provide online and also to take adequate security measures for securing their property.

The storage of the data on public platforms has made civil rights campaigners believe that such personal data can be used for improper purposes such as discrimination. Insurance companies can use the application of big data that help in predictive medical analytics in the determination of premiums as they can see the client’s health pattern as well as make accurate predictions. This information can be used in job selection interviews and business negotiations to the disadvantage of a user of these technologies. For instance, clients can monitor the vital signs in a business negotiation to know whether there is room for further negotiation.

Additional trust issues have emanated from the perceived health risks that accompany wearable devices and other Smart Technologies. Fears have been live about the prospect of Google Glass damaging the user’s eyes. These fears were fueled further by Google themselves banning children under the age of 13years from using the devices [ CITATION Mai13 l 2057 ]. Users of Google Glass also reported headaches and eye discomfort from the glasses. Additional health concerns as reported in Fox News (2014), involve the increased exposure of the user of the wearable device to radio waves. The common view among users and health experts is the health effects likely to be brought about by such a radio wave exposure increase. However, in the case of Google Glass, developers also worked with health experts on the project to ensure the product poses minimal health risks to the user. Fitness device producers Fitbit also moved to assure their clients of no health risks from their products. The company highlighted that the products use Bluetooth technology for connectivity that has marginal and harmless radio waves. Further, they also clarified that their products are made to set radiation standards.

Developing gap

The majority of Smart Technologies originate from the developed world. Developing countries are left to play the role of secondary users after the innovations have been tried and accepted in the developed countries. The lack of development facilities puts the developing countries at a disadvantage when it comes to inventions. People in these countries are forced to adopt alien technologies that might not be tailor-made to fit their Smart Technology needs at the moment. For instance, Connected Cars are yet to make any leeway in the developing countries. The people in these countries do not see these innovations as ideal for their environment. Fitness devices are only starting to get some recognition in the developing world after extensive publicity by the manufacturing companies. However, there is still the impediment of the attitude that such devices and other Smart Technologies are only a preserve of the wealthy.

While people in the developed world are quick to try out and adopt new technologies, the people in developing countries are rather held back and only accept new technologies when they are tested in developed markets. Cultural issues also have a significant influence on the adoption rate of Smart Technologies in the two divides of development. The beliefs and values on technology in developing countries are different. Other factors such as economic feasibility also play a role in the adoption of Smart Technology. As the Communication for Social Change Consortium (2015), notes other factors like education, infrastructure and use of technology also have substantial effects on the diffusion rate of technology in developing nations. For technological innovations to function, supportive infrastructure must be put in place. However, in developing countries there is a challenge of these facilities. The costs development of this supportive infrastructure thus is an active hindrance to the adoption of technology in these nations.

Further, Smart Technology devices require a minimum level of understanding to operate them correctly. The education levels in most developing countries are thus also a hindrance to a great number of people to incorporate Smart Technology into their lives. The majority of the Smart Technology devices reused for secondary applications such as research, fitness and transport. These uses are incoherent with the needs of the majority of the people in developing countries. These people are still adopting technology for primary everyday uses such as making calls and cameras. Advanced Smart Technology is seen in the developing world as a reserve for the rich — which many of them are not.

Public policies and statutory laws also have an impact on the diffusion of technology. Governments that put restrictive measures on use and access to technology in developing world can be seen as blocking the adoption of such technologies. Internet access in some developing countries is carefully monitored and controlled by the government. Material that is considered to be improper is banned from public access. This information filtering is a disservice to the people of the developing countries as it denies them access to information that could revolutionize their perspective on Smart Technology. Further, the business policies in the developing world are rather restrictive to investors. Obligations like taxes and other legal requirements are rather expensive making it hard for foreign investors to bring in new technology into these countries.

Demographic adoption of change

Demographically, the youth is the early adapters of technological change. Smart Technologies thus rely on users in this category to adapt and pull the other members of the community to the technology. Senior members of the society are more resistant to change especially one that affects their daily routines [ CITATION Car13 l 2057 ]. Their lack of technical knowledge on Smart Technologies also serves in their disadvantage as they need to learn before becoming proficient users. The youths, on the other hand, are experimental and will willingly try new technologies to evaluate their overall value. The experimenting nature of the young makes them a perfect target market for Smart Technologies as they are willing to learn how to use and are also fast learners of technology.

However, Smart Technologies like the Fitbit fitness devices are mostly taken up by seniors and people beyond their youth years. These advanced age groups have an interest in these items as they are concerned for their health status. While the youth might be healthy and lively, those beyond youth find it necessary to keep tabs on their health condition. Health complications are also rampant among people beyond their youth age. This fact has made the adoption of fitness devices start with the old and trickle down to the youth. Other factors that cause adoption of smart technology impossible for the young people are the cost implications of the products. Connected Cars are high-end products only affordable to the wealthy. Young people in college or have worked for a few years are thus not in a position to afford these technologies.

Further, Smart Technology devices face immense competition from devices like phones. Although these specialised smart devices can attain much-refined results, users prefer having their information in a central place. The smartphone has met the information needs similar to those of Google Glass. The smartphone also achieves the connectivity convenience brought by Connected Cars. Differences between all these smart devices thus are only in the detail of the feature they allow the user. In fact, the lack of independence of Fitness devices in that they have to use other devices for information storage and synchronization is a factor that has contributed to their slow adoption by the youth.

Solutions

Governments ought to put more effort in the provision of significant support to Smart Technology innovators. This support will serve to encourage innovators and investors into the Smart Technology sector. The entrance of more players in the Smart Technology zone will ensure there is a constant flow of new and useful innovations. Establishment of incubation centres for inventions and inventors will serve to ensure the devices develop through the technology lifecycle and are beneficial to their users. Incubation of creators will enable honing their skills and consequently guarantee better innovations from this group. Originators will gain encouragement to continue with such outstanding creations like Google Glass and Connected Cars. Some of the solutions states can adopt are;

Supportive policies

The regulations placed in the technology sector ought to reflect the willingness of the government to support and foster positive ICT developments. Investors and inventors are likely to venture into areas where they enjoy government goodwill and support. The legislative framework thus should be made in a way that is appealing to the inventors. Obligations such as taxes and licencing should be given the primary address. The governments can be lenient in issuing operating permits to innovation businesses. Further, tax exemptions and reliefs should also be considered as a way of luring major players in the Smart Technology field into their countries.

Research grants

The government should take the responsibility of funding promising innovations and providing grants to innovators. State financing and subsidies will eliminate the expense barrier and in the process encourage more technological innovations. Further, the state ought to create an environment that is enabling to innovative businesses. The legislations put in place should all work towards fostering innovation. The government also ought to partner with technology firms in publicising useful inventions. People have more trust in the government than private entities. When there is government involvement in innovation drives, the people are likely to participate more and give better feedback.

Cultural issues impact the success and adoption of Smart Technologies. It is essential to bridge the cultural gaps between the technologies and cultures. The different stakeholders in the Smart Technologies sector ought to come together and create solutions to the current challenges in the area. The modern techno-centric society will adopt technologies as long as they meet their needs or make their tasks lighter. Developers should thus focus on making devices that fit into the daily routines of their target markets. The possibilities attained through Smart Technologies are truly a phenomenon. In fact, Google Glass I held as one of the greatest innovations of the decade.

References

Communication for Social Change Consortium, 2015. Technology Diffusion in Developing Countries. Available at:
[Online] http://www.communicationforsocialchange.org/publications/future-connect?articleid=51 [Accessed 23 October 2015].

Fox News, 2014. Experts: Why Wearable Tech Could Pose Health Risks. Available at:
[Online] http://www.foxnews.com/tech/2014/10/20/experts-why-wearable-tech-could-pose-health-risks.html [Accessed 23 October 2015].

Howard, C., 2013. Strategic Adoption of Technological Innovations. 1st ed. Hershey: Information Science Reference.

Mahdawi, A., 2014. The Unhealthy Side of Wearable Fitness Devices. Available at:
[Online] http://www.theguardian.com/commentisfree/2014/jan/03/unhealthy-wearable-fitness-devices-calories-eating-disorders-nike-fuelband [Accessed 23 October 2015].

Mail Online, 2013. Could wearing Glass damage your eyesight? Fresh Fears Over Health Impact of Gadget as Google BANS Children From Wearing Them. Available at:
[Online] http://www.dailymail.co.uk/sciencetech/article-2320168/Could-Google-Glass-damage-eyesight-Fresh-fears-health-impact-children-BANNED-wearing-them.html [Accessed 23 October 2015].

Sparkes, M., 2015. Is Smart Technology Really a Threat to Our Privacy?. Available at:
[Online] http://www.telegraph.co.uk/technology/news/11403494/Is-smart-technology-really-a-threat-to-our-privacy.html [Accessed 23 October 2015].