The evolution of hardware, proliferation of personal data and importance of trust

A friend and colleague of mine, wrote a thought provoking piece about the re-invention of hardware when wearable technology and sensors begin to permeate modern life. An excerpt from his article:

For brands looking at opportunities in this space, there are a number of factors to consider. Most notably, as devices become smaller they also become more personal, driving a different type of consumer engagement. Partly because they’re always on, and partly because of the different contexts within which we use them, we interact with smartphones in a fundamentally more emotional way than with desktop computers. Wearables will push this further still, by integrating into the very fabric of our lives; brands will need to be alert to the threats as well as to the opportunities this creates for their customer relationships.

The amount of personal data generated by wearable tech and sensors will be vast and deeply sensitive to the individual. We are currently in the early stages of adoption but as this technology becomes more pervasive, there will be a growing consumer need for greater security and control over their personal data. There are clear personalisation opportunities for brands wanting to engage with their future data rich customers. However, trust will play a huge role in future relationships between brands and customers. Trust is currently an important aspect of brand preference but it is formed through different factors and rarely (unless the business is data focused) includes the careful handling of such rich and sensitive personal data. As a result, I strongly believe that brand trust will become as important as brand recommendation has as a key performance indicator. The key questions are; how do we define trust in the information age and how do brands build trust with their customers. Questions for another post.

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