TechWreck: Hackers Hijack Nanny Cams

Nanny cams can be a handy tool for parents monitoring their children; however, they do have their drawbacks if proper precautions aren’t taken. In recent cases, these devices have been hacked, allowing uninvited guests to see into the house and even speak: professional nanny Ashley Stanley was startled when a man began making comments like “Oh, that’s a beautiful baby” and “That’s a really poopy diaper” as she cared for one-year old, Samantha.

But how are these hackers gaining access to these IP cameras that are protected by WiFi passwords? Not only does WiFi have its own security settings, but the router does too. It is important that passwords that are tough to crack are set up for both of these devices in order to ensure security and privacy.

Popular wireless IP camera, Foscam has received a lot of backlash for these technical incidents as they sell 50,000 to 60,000 cameras each month. However, security and privacy issues aren’t limited to cameras. For the connected device industry to really take off, manufacturers will need to address consumer concerns about security, and educate users about taking proper precautions.






TechWreck: The TGI Friday’s Mistletoe Drone

‘Tis the season, and this year, restaurant chain TGI Friday’s has been trying to add a little holiday merriness—with a serious misuse of drones.

The restaurant chain meant well. It first rolled out the mistletoe-carrying drone program in the UK a month ago in an attempt to “help people get a little closer at this time of year”. The drones also carry cameras to take pictures of the kissing couples, who are then rewarded with gift certificates for their PDA and holiday spirit.

After seeing initial positive feedback, the company quickly brought the drones across the Atlantic, hoping to spread some holiday kisses across the States. But alas, it was right here in New York City that the mistletoe drone drew its first blood. Georgine Benvenuto, a photographer from Brooklyn Daily, was in the Sheepshead Bay TGI Friday’s when she was unfortunately hit in the face by a flying drone. The blades kept spinning and blood was shed.

Although an isolated incident, this accident points to a larger problem with the commercial use of drones. When it comes to using unarmed aerial vehicles (UAVs) like this in public space, brands need to carefully weigh issues like practicality, safety, and privacy before deploying them as stunt marketing. The bottom line here is, drones can be used in many productive ways, but delivering mistletoes in a busy restaurant is probably not one of them.


Image from the YouTube Video TGI Fridays Launch #Togethermas Mistletoe Drones

TechWreck: What To Do With All That Wearable-Generated Data

As The Verge writer David Pierce pointed out in his Microsoft Band review, the newly launched fitness tracker—like dozens of other wearables currently available—generates a boatload of biometric data, providing users with a heightened sense of the quantified self. But beyond that, it doesn’t do really much, leaving users bewildered and lacking insights they can act on. In his own words:

That’s the thing about all fitness trackers: even the most powerful ones are only measuring internal data, data about me. …  If the Band knows my heart rate and my sleep stage, why can’t it wake me up at the perfect moment in my sleep cycle?

Indeed, “what am I supposed to do with all that data” has become a question frequently asked by the early adopters of wearable tech. Wearable makers need to go beyond basic functions such as tracking, syncing and data-gathering. Only by fully exploring the actionable insights the data can provide, or by building a rich narrative for the users to engage with, will wearables find a mass audience.

Header image taken from the linked review on The Verge

TechWreck: #TechnologyAndStuff In Connected Cars

Picture from @ChevyTrucks on Twitter

Every year Chevrolet gifts a new car to the MVP at the World Series. This year, however, an Internet meme was born out of an unexpected gaffe during the televised handover ceremony, as a nervous Chevy spokesman stumbled through his speech and described the new features of the 2015 Chevy Colorado as “class-winning and leading, um, you know, technology and stuff “.

While he did at least manage to point out the new truck comes with “WiFi powered by OnStar, sitting there on the screen”, the speech was unintentionally funny for all its awkwardness. Naturally, “#ChevyGuy,” “#TechnologyAndStuff” were among the top 10 national trending topics on Twitter within an hour. Besides the relatable nerves brought by public speaking, one crucial reason behind such instant virality is that the vaguely defined “technology and stuff” description struck a cord with US consumers, who are just as confused about the technological capabilities of connected cars as the Chevy Guy.

Unlike previous TechWrecks, however, Chevy quickly turned the situation around by embracing the “technology and stuff” line with a hashtag on Twitter and made it a campaign tagline, creating a very effective impromptu viral campaign. To avoid future mishap like this, though, automakers must do a better job at familiarizing the consumers with all the “stuff” connected cars have to offer. After all, no one wants to buy something they don’t understand.

For more in-depth analysis on the present and future of connected cars, stay tuned for our upcoming white paper.