Delete as applicable, depending on your penchant for new tech. We’ve examined the ups and downs of wearable technology before and, as the products inch closer to market, early adopters are testing their capabilities on many fronts.

Singapore Airlines (SIA/SQ) Airbus A380 (9V-SK...

Airbus A380 landing at Singapore Changi Airport. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

This week it’s everyone’s favorite industry in the spotlight, as airlines examine the customer service applications of wearable tech like Google Glass.

It doesn’t stop there though. They’re also augmenting the customer data that flows to their Glass-equipped employees so that it includes real-time social media updates, such as airport terminal check-ins and Twitter complaints.

Again, subject to your perspective on being confronted with the latest devices, this could either fall on the side of serving or stalking.

 

Technology Marches On

The initial surprise of being served by a new technology will fade quickly. Much as we’re now comfortable checking in with a computer that scans our documents or being served by an airline agent with an iPad, in a few years it won’t be remarkable if attendants are sporting Google Glass, iWatches, and any other device that makes them more efficient.

What should give us pause is the data trail that we’re leaving behind. Moreover, it’s how quickly technology is catching up to filter out the noise from that data and serve it up in ways that others can use.

In many cases these applications will benefit us a lot, such as developments in the medical field and professional sports. But without getting too dystopian about things, it’s also possible that this immediate access will help others exploit those who make poor sharing choices. Even content shared on social networks assumed to be private can wind its way out into the open.

In the past it may have taken significant effort to unearth embarrassing or incriminating updates, causing issues only with motivated searchers like recruiters or significant others. As smarter algorithms combine with mobile devices for always-on, immediate access, however, the applications become more worrying. Private complaints to blow off steam could easily become public knowledge, for example. If this occurs after the fact then it tends to be handled by a customer service agent detached from the situation, primarily concerned with placating the customer. If the agent receiving it is also the cause of the complaint, however, situations could quickly become a lot more heated.

The emphasis needs to be on the individual to understand where technology is taking us, what information others have access to, and to adjust our habits accordingly. In reality the transition is rarely that seamless and the intervening knowledge gap will require restraint on both sides.

The last thing we want from the promise of wearable technology is real-time footage of airline agents receiving one too many notifications of passenger dissatisfaction. That’s when this happens.

 

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