Gwinnett Tech Forum: The Evolution of Wearable Technology

Using smart watch

Partnership Gwinnett hosts quarterly Technology Forums ( I enjoy attending them because they always have interesting topics, knowledgeable speakers, and great networking with technology professionals. The last one I attended was called “The Evolution of Wearable Technology.” Panelists included Rick Erazo (RE), of AT&T Wearable IOT; Todd Charest (TC), Chief Innovation and Product Officer, Ingenious Med; and Peter Presti (PP), Research Scientist at Georgia Tech IMTC Georgia Tech. The panel was moderated by Robert McIntyre (RM), from the Wireless Technology Forum.

The discussion began with some introductory remarks and a history of wearable technology – where it came from up to where it is now. The moderator then presented a series of questions for each panelist regarding how they use the technology, what are the trends and obstacles they see, and how they believe this technology will change employer and consumer behavior. Below I have put some highlights form the discussion.

Check their website for future Forum dates.

Hurdles for wearable technology?

Size, battery life, and consumer behavior.

Factors of adaptability of wearable technology?

Health, productivity, safety and security.

Interesting stats:

  • 10% of wearable devices will be working on a cellular network.
  • 24 million devices were in use by end of 2015.
  • A 36% annual growth is expected in this market through 2017.
  • By 2018 it will be a $12 billion range market.

There is a difference between non-traditional OEM’s of wearable technology and enterprise wearable technology.

Non-Traditional OEM Enterprise
Concerned with how the device “looks” on the body

Personal preferences, tastes, personality traits of the wearer, fashion, lifestyle


Concerned with how the device “functions” and affects productivity

Ex. Google glass flopped with consumers but has been taken up by service providers

  1. Why are wearables taking off?
    • Mass adoption of smart phones. (RE)
    • There are better user interfaces and user experiences now. (RE)
    • A wearable is not just the device but also an infrastructure. (PP)
    • We are understanding better behavior change – behavioral engineering – so now we can collect data passively and do something with the data to make lives better. (TC)
  2. Is the wearable the extension of the human or is the human the extension of the wearable?
    • We start with the human first. (TC)
    • We may be transitioning in to a “Borg Lab” (from Star Trek) where humans and wearables will co-evolve (like clothes). (PP)
    • An extension of the human 0 that fashion element that represents who you are to the world – like luxury items. (RE)
  3. How will wearables enhance and challenge the workplace?
    • Wearables can work very well in certain areas – like manufacturing – like id badges – for authentication and to provide access. (RE)
    • Any job that needs interaction with a terminal can use a wearable. (PP)
    • We are collecting a vast amount of data today – information overload – we need to learn how to make sense of it. It will not be fashion but usability that will determine a higher adoption rate in the workplace. (TC)
  4. What about privacy and security?
    • These are the biggest challenges in this market. How do we strike a balance? What is the younger generation’s understanding of privacy, etc.? (TC)
    • What happens to the data collected by the wearable beyond health – photos, etc.? Regulatory policy will come into this space within the next 5-10 years. (PP)
    • These are critical to adoption multi-faceted approach through every step in the use of the wearable for security. We each need to access our risk. Need to look at mobile device management – and update IT policy to include wearables and IoT; especially bio-data of employees. (RE)
  5. Which wearable is your favorite and why?
    • Google Glass – a massive social experiment of what people are willing to accept and not to accept. Fashion vs. form vs. function – what is the right way to build these things? (PP)
    • Samsung Gearup 2 and Timex Metropolitan (RE)
    • Need to look at the breath and depth; my smartphone, Apple Watch (convenience and social acceptability), Fitbit (social norms) (TC)
  6. Which wearable technology company should we buy stock in?
    • Fashion name brands like The Fossil Group which just acquired Misfit. (RE)
    • Small start-ups; Pulse Wave monitoring company (PP)
    • Companies working with cognitive computing; self-driving cars; insurance companies (DC)
  7. Other comments:
    • Problem with Google Glass is that its battery life is too short so it is not good for constant and long-term monitoring (PP)
    • Empowered patients – “sitting (not moving) is the new smoking” – this is a public health concern; we need to get employees moving (PP)
    • This will be a competitive space, but a big challenge is that the data collected in one device is not transferable to different platforms. (TC)
    • Who owns the data? Will you be beholden to a certain brand because they have your data (not ideal). The user should own the data. (PP)
    • It will be a crowded space (RE)


2015 Cyber-security Summit Atlanta


On July 15, 2015, the US Chamber of Commerce ( partnered with the Georgia Chamber of Commerce (, the Georgia Institute of Technology (, and the Technology Association of Georgia (, to present the Atlanta Cyber-security Summit (

The event is part of a nationwide tour stopping at various cities throughout the US to promote awareness and preparedness of companies regarding cyber-security risks and threats, as well as resources and strategies to prevent, manage, and recover from them. The half-day event included various speakers from local and national FBI, Secret Service, Department of Homeland Security, NIST, US Army Cyber Protection Brigade, and corporate representatives. Their presentations were full of valuable information – some new and some as refreshers, but all good components of a business cyber security toolkit.

I have put down some highlights and thoughts below, as well as some of the resource URL’s that they shared with us. What are you doing from a business standpoint on the issue of cyber-security? Do you even know where to start? One myth that we should do away with right now is that size does not matter in this arena in terms of being a target – it matters in terms of the resources we have to protect our data and mitigate incidents. But it is not futile. As a business professional you do need to think about how to incorporate some security controls in your operations. Although the message was clear from this event that our adversaries (i.e. hackers, etc.) have their own rules that they play by and will not give up the attacks, it is also clear that there are resources and help out there from the US government, military and private sectors. So read a bit, check them out, and let us know if you have any questions.

Ann M Beauchesne, Senior Vice President of the US Chamber of Commerce began her discussion with a poignant statement “The Internet is infested” and “90% of all cyber attacks are done to private companies.” She added that the focus is now on health records – “that when stolen are worth their weight in gold.”   This was a recurring theme – the records do not weigh physically but they weigh heavily with value. Another recurring message throughout the day was the increased use of social media and social networking tools by cyber-terrorists to get their messages out, recruit new jihadists, and create a cyber-jihad army. One tool spotlighted for them – YouTube.

Ann was followed by Tino Mantella, CEO of the Technology Association of Georgia. Tino indicated that in Georgia alone the cyber-security industry consists of more than 10,000 jobs and has raised $4.7 billion in revenue. His emphasis was that cyber-security is a “growing national security challenge.” Tino introduced Jim Kerr, General Counsel of Southern Company (, who spoke about how the electricity industry is approaching the cyber-security threat with cooperation and collaboration. Jim talked about how vital energy was for the “health and happiness” of people and so their systems must be reliable and resilient. The challenge of cyber-security is that “we do not necessarily see them coming” and in essence “we are under attack every day – millions of times a day – in fact, people are in our systems as I speak today.” He emphasized the importance of government and industry communication and collaboration. This message was also reiterated a number of times.

Next on the agenda was Adam Sedgewick, Senior IT Policy Advisor, for The National Institute of Standards and Technology ( Adams spoke about the NIST Cyber-Security Framework (, describing its components and its usefulness for business of all sizes, but especially small-to-midsize businesses, to ensure cyber-security in their companies. The five main concepts include: identify, protect, detect, respond, and resolve. Adam ended with a brief statement of how the US is now introducing this framework internationally (EU, Japan, etc.) to begin the conversation of worldwide standards.

One of the main objectives of these summits is to introduce local businesses to local law enforcement who can assist them should they experience an incident. Murang Pak and Michael Anaya represented Georgia FBI (, and Alan Davis represented Georgia Secret Service ( An important point brought up by Agent Anaya was the fact that “hacking” technology has progressed so much that you know have “unsophisticated hackers using tools developed by very sophisticated actors.” These actors could be criminals, nation states, individuals, etc. The agents agreed on that information sharing is so important when it comes to cyber-attacks since by reviewing and analyzing the data they can “identify a migration of threats from one company to another” and can warn the company to prevent the attack from happening or from causing extensive damage and/or loss.

Following the break, the private sector panel was bright up including Matthew Eggers of the US Chamber of Commerce, Dr. Steve Cross, Executive Vice President for Research, Georgia Tech, Sean Franklin, Vice President of Cyber Intelligence for American Express (, and Jeff Schilling, Chief Security Office of Firehost (   Their discussion ended up focusing on specific threat trends and security concerns of the Internet of Things. Dr. Cross offered two great resources form Georgia Tech, their annual emerging threat report ( and APIARY, an automated framework for malware analysis and threat intelligence ( Jeff talked about the consequence of not knowing your own system as one of the causes of cyber-security failures. “Know they self, know thy enemy” he quoted. “Do you know your own system – its vulnerabilities and its strengths?” Sean took a humorous approach to IoT “my refrigerator keeps threatening my toaster.” But his statement is funny because so many see the future truth in it. We know there are millions of devices connected to the Internet now, what happens when they start talking to each other and telling our secrets?

Before lunch Thad Odderstol, Director of Industry Engagement for the Department of Homeland Security offered a number of tools and resources for combating cyber-attacks ( and Col. Donald Bray talked about the Army Cyber Mission Force and the new Cyber Security Branch the Army is starting. Col. Bray also discussed briefly the Army training in cyber-security initiative from the Army Cyber Institute at West Point (, to the US Cyber Command ( to be consolidated in Fort Gordon, Georgia.

The luncheon keynote brought us Mark Guiliano, Deputy Director of the FBI. He used the recent cyber-attack on SONY as an example of cooperation between government and corporate. He outlined the “dark net” that we are combating and the agility of our adversaries. He also emphasized the importance of information sharing and spoke about the Cyber-security Information Sharing Act ( and why the government having access to encryption keys is so important. “Our job is to keep Americans safe. We can’t do that efficiently and effectively if we do not know what is going on” since right now so many criminal actors use encrypted channels to communicate and organize attacks. The Act is still being debated in Congress.

The Summit ended with the presentation of Dr. Phyllis Schneck, Deputy Undersecretary for Cyber security, National Protection, & Programs Directorate of DHS ( Her message was two-fold. DHS number one priority is building TRUST with the private sector, and one way they will do that is to BUY new technology from them.

This half-day was packed with information and expertise. But what does it all mean. Some skeptics would say this summit was part of an organized propaganda campaign for CISA and DHS – to “educate” the private sector about the need for giving government the keys to their data and to start building the “trust” Dr. Schneck spoke about. Perhaps. But they still offered a lot of good resources and tools for small and midsize businesses, who may not have a political agenda, but do have a bottom line to protect and grow.

Did you attend the Summit in Atlanta or in another city? Share you experience and/or thoughts in the comment box below. One thing is for sure – the conversation about cyber-security will continue.


Book Review: Big Data by Viktor Mayer-Schonberger & Kenneth Cukier


DATA. The name of the character from the Star Trek: Next Generation television series and movies[1]. Played by actor Brent Spiner, Data represents an outsider’s view of humanity as well as a futuristic possibility of the combination of the best of man and machine to achieve goals with empathy checked by logic and the need for efficiency and accuracy. Data is also known as a grouping of information that can be analyzed for decision-making. Data, the character, had a memory capacity of 800 quadrillion bits (~89 Petabytes)[2]. We, as data producers, created “2.8 zetabytes of [data] in 2012, a number that’s as gigantic as it sounds, and will double again by 2015.[3]” How many Datas do we need to hold our data if that was even an option?

Big Data,” according to Mayer-Schonberg and Cukier, is “the ability of society to harness information in novel ways to produce useful insights on goods and services of significant value.[4]” Even though this definition appears lofty, the book is actually more grounded as it presents the benefits, the promises, the potentials, and the risks of big data to our businesses, our lives, and our society. They begin with describing the new mindset that allows big data to fulfill its promises: we must accept that more data is better than less, that messy data is good, and that correlation, not causality, is good enough. The key to big data is that it “is about what not why – we can discover patterns and correlations in the data that offer us novel and invaluable insights.[5]

Based on some prior successes of big-data techniques (like airflight price discounts, hotel discounts, the Google flu algorithym) a big data consciousness – “the presumption that there is a quantitative component to all that we do, and that data is indispensible for society to learn from[6]” has evolved.   And they do mean everything we do, especially our interactions online via social media and other interactive online platforms and mobile apps. Now “our personal connections, opinions, preferences, and patterns of everyday living have joined the pool of personal information already available about us.[7]” But one of the problems is the insidious nature that this recording of our everyday activity takes place. “Technology has reached a point where vast amounts of information often can be captured and recorded cheaply. Data can frequently be collected passively, without much effort or even awareness on the part of those being recorded.[8]

Why is this data so valuable? Presented in the book is the nature of the data itself: it can be reused for many purposes not just the one it was collected for, the quality of the data does not diminish with its use, ad storage and processing of the data has decreased in cost significantly.

But what about the issues of privacy and intellectual property ownership? What about notice and consent and our right to not be monitored 24/7? The book offers some insight into these concerns and some possible solutions, like making the data collectors and users more accountable to those they collect the data from. It is easier said than done. However, it was nice to see the authors tackle the questions instead of glossing over them.

There is a lot to chew on in this book. Much more than we can recap in this review. It serves as a great primer on big-data for those who want to get a good foundation on its essence, but it also serves as an exploratory for those who want to delve more into big data’s long-term impact. I recommend you read it and then engage with it. I found myself halfway through the book starting to see big-data applications to a lot of what my clients are doing right now. Was that one of the purposes of the book? Isn’t that the purpose of any non-fiction book? To make us stop, look around, and think, and then…

For more on this book:


[1] Yes, I am a sci-fi buff and enjoy Star Trek, Star Wars, etc. But I do not reach the level of “trekky.” It is, however, a goal that can still be achieved.

[2] “Data,” Memory Alpha,, (accessed March 10, 2014).

[3] Patrick Tucker, “Has Big Data Made Anonymity Impossible?” MIT Technology Review,, May 7, 2013.

[4] Big Data, pg. 2

[5] Big Data, pg. 14

[6] Big Data, pg. 97

[7] Big Data, pg. 100

[8] Big Data, pg. 101

Managing Online Risk Chapter 5 Add. Resources


Big Data

These are resources are to help you apply some of the concepts, best practices, and lessons learned from the content in each chapter. Most of them are in addition to what are already listed in the book and serve to complement the highlighted resources in the chapters. Post in the comments others that you would recommend.

  1. Help Net Security: Using security, cloud and Big Data to drive success (Nov. 2014)
  2. How To Manage Big Data’s Security Challenges (May 2014)
  3. CSA: Top Ten Big Data Security and Privacy Challenges (Nov. 2012)
  4. White House: Big Data and Privacy Review
  5. Visualization: World’s Biggest Data Breaches
  6. SC Magazine: Data Breach Blog
  7. Verizon 2014 Data Breach Investigations Report (annual)
  8. NCSL: Security Breach Notification Laws by US State

Managing Online Risk Chapter 5 Questions

Question Mark Key on Computer Keyboard

These questions are to help you apply some of the concepts, best practices, and lessons learned from the content in each chapter. You can use them in individual reflection, or present them to your security team for group feedback and discussion.

If you haven’t bought the book yet go to our “Buy the Book” tab or click here:

Big Data

  1. Does your company’s data management plan include specific online/digital activity security risks and mitigation strategies?
  2. Does your company use data analytics to assist in IT security and risk control and management?
  3. Does your company have a data breach/incident response protocol?
  4. Is IT Security part of the responding team?
  5. If you capture user information from your company’s online presences (website, social media accounts, etc.) to you have the appropriate policies/disclaimers in place? See pgs. 121-122 for more details.