A Costly Convenience for the Digital Savvy.

Sometimes I wonder if modern technology today is good for us. Technology has helped to save lives, complete tasks, build machines, design skyscrapers and manufacture various modes of transportation. Yet at the same time, technology can also destroy what we have worked so hard to create. It can turn round any time and stab us in the back especially if it falls into the wrong hands.

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Why I’m bringing this up is because there have been a spate of break-ins occuring lately in so-called gated-and-guarded properties. Despite the number of guard patrols, high-tech security perimeter fencing, video surveillance and smartphone-controlled alarm systems, these culprits are still able to enter our homes without breaking a sweat.

This leaves me with these questions: Do they know how to hack into our safety measures that we have so carefully placed on our homes? Or perhaps they have a hacking software that unlatches the safety hooks that we’ve placed to protect ourselves?

In this new age of technology, there exists a wide range of tech gears and gadgets in the market that promise to simplify or enhance our lives. For the big spenders, a real-life, to-scale car conversion kit or an underwater recreational vehicle (RV) will certainly leave a glossy impression with their friends. For the restless travellers, breaking the bank for the latest, state-of-the-art gadgets will likely put you in the centre of attention.

Like I mentioned above, technology can be a double-edged sword depending on who is the one wielding it. The underwater RV is certainly not a practical purchase and you would be wary of bringing your expensive gear with you when you go around the world. Although we can forgive you for thinking of how easily some wallet-draining thingamabobs fit into our carry-on to make our next trip stress-free; from tech toys that allow you to keep an eye on your home or pets while you’re away, to handy gadgets for translation, or multi-USB-port power banks to keep your mobile phones powered up (phew, what a mouthful!).

Who can forget the automated and secure locks that are fast becoming an integral part of smart homes? Who knew that we would live long enough to see the deployment of keyless entry systems that can easily be managed with a tap of your finger on your smartphone app? You may jump for joy now knowing you can instantly grant and revoke access to your home while you’re on-the-go. But have you given any thought to what might happen if your phone fell into the wrong hands?

See, this is when technology can backfire and betray you.

It’s one thing to have convenience at your fingertips but it’s a whole different story when things go awry. The bar has been raised even higher with many hotels implementing the utilisation of mobile applications as their hotel room keys, which allows guests to bypass the front desk altogether. Now how about that? Have you ever made a reservation at a hotel room like this before? Would you think of this as a convenience or a threat?

While the ability to book a flight and reserve a hotel room online is nothing new, the switch to the focus on how much your smartphone capability is. In 2012, a mere 2 per cent of passengers preferred to use their smartphones for travel booking but that number had increased more than three times to 70 per cent in 2015! Travellers rarely part from their smartphones, and a larger value of mobile technology may reside in its ability to provide a seamless experience while in transit.

To make matters worse, the invention of geolocation has now provided us with the ability to receive status updates based on what part of the travel process we are in, from security lines to flight delays to full itinerary changes. Do we really need to know exactly where you have been, what you are doing at that very instant and who you are with now? Not likely. Letting the whole world know your whereabouts is a huge risk if that data and information fall into the wrong hands. So what would your best practice be then?

As the creation of new travel tools increases with a host of amazing opportunities to share and consider, so does your responsibility to address these issues and take control of your well-being. Your safety is yours alone to monitor and manage. The last thing you need is to open up your home to strangers who don’t care much for your dog.

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