CHANCES are, some of the Christ­mas presents we buy or re­ceive this year will use some form of smart tech­nol­ogy. As a so­ci­ety, we have been buy­ing gifts in the form of gad­gets and giz­mos for decades. Games con­soles, DIY equip­ment, re­mote con­trol cars, TVs and stereos have all been com­mon presents opened up in count­less homes in Glas­gow on Christ­mas morn­ing.

The trend will con­tinue this year, with gifts in­clud­ing smart tooth­brushes, vir­tual re­al­ity head­sets, drones, smart watches, wire­less head­phones and self­lac­ing train­ers! Ac­cord­ing to data an­a­lyt­ics com­pany Glob­alData, this new “wear­able tech” in­dus­try is pro­jected to be worth a stag­ger­ing $54 bil­lion by 2023!

Tech­nol­ogy works best when it adds value to peo­ple’s lives. The com­mer­cial suc­cess of tech­nol­ogy, at least in the case of these new Christ­mas gad­gets, can in­crease greatly if they can be a source of fun and en­ter­tain­ment.

What is be­com­ing clear is that smart tech is be­com­ing more and more in­ter­twined with our daily lives. Many of us will now own a smart­watch such as a Fit­bit that sup­ports us with health and fit­ness goals and we are now see­ing the health­care in­dus­try make use of this tech­nol­ogy by mon­i­tor­ing pa­tients. These in­dus­try-stan­dard wear­ables come with sen­sors, ar­ti­fi­cial in­tel­li­gence and big data to re­motely mon­i­tor pa­tients and sup­port the di­ag­no­sis of ill­nesses.

As is so of­ten the case, new tech­nolo­gies and in­dus­tries bring with them new chal­lenges. As smart tech be­comes more preva­lent, we must be­come more aware of the po­ten­tial pit­falls and know how to com­bat any threats as­so­ci­ated with be­ing con­tin­u­ously con­nected to the in­ter­net.

Cy­ber crim­i­nals can do se­ri­ous dam­age. In 2017, NHS Eng­land can­celled an es­ti­mated 7,000 ap­point­ments and op­er­a­tions be­cause of ma­li­cious com­puter in­fec­tions, known as a ran­somware, which threat­ened to block com­puter ac­cess un­til a ran­som was paid.

This in­ci­dent should be a wakeup call and it is naïve to think that hack­ers and cy­ber van­dals only target wealthy cor­po­ra­tions. Scots now spend £38 bil­lion a year us­ing on­line trans­ac­tions, so house­holds in Glas­gow and through­out the coun­try re­ally need to con­sider how they can best pro­tect their on­line data.

For these rea­sons, Glas­gow

The lat­est tech­nol­ogy is now a big part of Christ­mas

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