That's One Small Step for Man, One Giant Leap for Smart Sneakers
Except the giant leap (of faith) might cause some privacy issues.
Long gone are the days when technology was all about daring to dream -- reaching for the stars, and of course, walking on the moon. Nowadays as we pursue the rage that is the blockchain, the insanity that is artificial intelligence, and the awe of smart technology, we wonder about privacy -- namely DATA PRIVACY. We're sure you've seen a lot in the trends regarding privacy, and just how much information companies can glean from smart devices. This particular news will blow you away, though: the advent of smart sneakers.
Believe It or Not, We've Seen Those Smart Sneakers Before!
Probably every basketball player's favorite scene in the iconic sequel Back to the Future II, it still to this day blows the mind away that way back when the idea of self-lacing shoes was a thing. Crazy enough, Nike even designed the exact brand for fun with "self-lacing tech" as a tribute to Marty McFly and his trip to the future, but wouldn't you know it....
Nike will be releasing a BLUETOOTH-CONNECTED product that will do literally the same thing. And it's not simply for fun, or as a tribute: but a true marketable and salable product.
They're Called the ADAPT BB SNEAKERS
The shoes will go on sale very soon -- as in within the week. That's right: you basketball players out there can get your own self-lacing shoes for $350, capable of control via a smartphone app that'll tie them tight or keep them slipper-loose for easy wearing. It sounds fun. But as we've seen with the majority of tech trends out there, the worry is -- data privacy.
The question is should we be so worried about self-lacing sneakers? Maybe, maybe not. Here's the deal:
The Issue in This Case, of Course, Is Hacking and Cyber-Terrorism
Granted, the kind of havoc wouldn't be on the same level as bio-terrorism or Osama bin Laden, but one would certainly cause a lot of frustration with smart sneakers gone haywire. After all, the smarter the "device" (or shoe), the easier it may be for it to get hacked.
Surely Nike and other brands such as Under Armour and Puma could face a lot of scrutiny in infusing their products with the kind of smart technology hearkening to the days of the DeLorean and going 88 miles an hour just to watch the Cubs win the World Series (which they did about a year-and-a-half ago).
The Cause for Concern, Honestly, Plays Out Big Time for Fitness Apps and Trackers More
Think about sharing the information on your running routes and health routines. That's more of your identity broken down into the granular digital details hackers and ID thieves would love to get their hands on, and all it takes is a few tweaks to hack into Nike's mainframe, and your own shoes become the eagle eyes of the criminal.
It's all well and good that the vulnerability is there knowing our favorite brands are taking the steps necessary to protect not only your feet, but your digital personalities. After all, even Under Armour and Puma have already placed securities for their smart sneakers that would factor in protection against someone being able to control your shoes and make you dance when you don't want to.
But How? It's Very Simple.... Two-Factor Authentication
You've seen the social networks: they have that system in place as well. Bluetooth security layers include the easiest way for owners to be the sole controllers of their shoes -- however, that begs the obvious question....
What if someone hijacks your smartphone? What then? You've got a problem.
Here's the thing about Bluetooth: there's a rigid structure to it. You can only control other devices via your physical phone, which means even if someone had your account information, they can't control your smart sneakers via another device. It has to be the phone that was originally paired with them.
That means for someone to really truly hack into your smart sneakers, they'd have to steal your phone and be within reasonable distance to do some damage. Unlikely.... But possible.
Truly Even Nike Says There Would Be Cause for Concern Only as Other Vendors Seek to Hop on the Bluetooth Bandwagon
It's a numbers game: the more smart sneakers are out there in the market, the better chance of one of them getting hacked. This would particularly be the case if lesser brands try to emulate the offering, but with less resources to work with. Nike has the mettle and the clout to manage all the security and tech, but what about other brands? Perhaps not so much.
Make no mistake, though: Nike isn't impervious to the pain. Although the particular Bluetooth tech called Low Energy allows for longer battery life, plus dead-on encryption for extra protection, the fact is security researchers still found ways for hackers to spread malware, which leaves you with smart sneakers that have gone crazy, no doubt.
But That's a Hypothetical. The Good News Is Brands Are Aware of the Trends, and They'll Take Action Accordingly.
Thanks to the fact that these particular companies related to fitness, training and exercise aren't necessarily preoccupied with collecting your personal data as they are with simply harnessing more of the bare-bones metrics to benefit your daily fitness routine. In other words, they're not going to advertise you to death with the information they glean from your shoes. The data only truly is there to benefit you -- not them. That's hopefully the case for many other verticals, such as home speakers and even, well, cities!
That, of course, is just our opinion, and we're sticking to it. What do you think? Are we going back to the future with power laces? Or is that a recipe for disaster in the space-time continuum? You be the judge: SIGN UP FOR A VIGYAA ACCOUNT AND LET'S HEAR YOUR THOUGHTS!