Tag Archives: trends

An introduction to the General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR): What you need to know

35440117101_cbfe2c9d2b_zImage credit: Descrier

With a whopping 2.5 quintillion bytes of data now being produced every single day, the debate around data privacy is showing no signs of slowing down;  consumers and businesses are still asking the same fundamental question – how, where and by whom is our data gathered and stored? This issue is at the heart of the upcoming EU General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR). Designed to bring more transparency and structure to data protection, it is the first major legislative change to European Data Protection law since Directive (95/46/EC) in 1995, which regulated the processing of personal data.

Despite the importance of this regulation, lots of British companies are seemingly unaware of it. This has been partially due to indecision on the part of UK businesses about whether to invest resources in achieving GDPR compliance, given the lack of clarity around the power of European directives and acts post-Brexit. However, following the UK government’s confirmation that it will implement the GDPR, despite the decision to leave the EU, businesses will need to be compliant by 25 May 2018 or face enforcement action.

In light of this, now is a good time to look at exactly what the GDPR is, what it will mean for UK businesses and how your organisation can prepare for it.

What is it?

Simply put, the GDPR is the new regulation framework to create tighter limits on the processing of personal data and give greater rights to individuals. It essentially protects the right of European residents to regain control over how their personal information is shared and used. It will apply to EU-based organisations, as well as the data processing activities of those who target EU data subjects – meaning that if your business is involved in the acquisition, use, transmission, storage, destruction and breach of personal data in any way, you will be affected, regardless of whether your business stores or processes data on EU soil.

The act contains eight principles data processors must abide by when it comes to personal data – these include provisions that data need to be processed fairly and lawfully, be obtained only for specific purposes, be accurate and kept up to date. Finally, anyone holding the data must take measures to protect it, with data not transferred to a country outside the EU unless that country also has rules in place to adequately protect it. There are also new limitations surrounding consent, as data owners must grant separate consent for different processing activities and can withdraw them at any time, or have their data erased under the GDPR. Furthermore, if a company has already made information public, then they have an obligation to pass the deletion request along to others.

It is important to note that GDPR only applies to Personably Identifiable Information (PII), which may comprise a very small percentage of an organisation’s data. However, GDPR covers a wide range of PII and can include URLs, pseudonymised data, physical data and so on. Personal details such as email, for example, may not hold PII and therefore do not need to become part of the compliance envelope.

Why you should care

As discussed, the GDPR will define how organisations can collect, use and transfer personal data. Not only will businesses need to adhere to local laws governing information retention in every market they operate in, but they also need to re-evaluate their individual business requirements and risk appetite. Failure to comply with the GDPR risks a maximum penalty of either €20 million or 4 percent of worldwide turnover (whichever is greater) – it can cost your business money, reputation, credibility and more. Equally, the first organisations to become compliant can use it as an accolade, highlighting that personal data is safe in their hands.

In addition, service providers or ‘data processors’, which  were not previously subject to the more restrictive aspects of data protection legislation, will also now be affected. Organisations that use third parties will have to ensure that their data provider complies with the regulations as, in case of a breach, both data processor and data controller will be considered to have shared liability and will be penalised. Furthermore, all public authorities and organisations where core activities involve ‘regular and systematic monitoring of data subjects on a large scale’ or large-scale processing of ‘special categories of personal data’ will be required to employ a dedicated Data Protection Officer.

Always be prepared

Ahead of the GDPR, it is very likely that most businesses will need to overhaul their framework to ensure compliance and that they are aware of what data they hold, why they hold it, where it’s kept and how long it should be kept for. They will also need to re-think what data is actually needed to manage business and employment relationships.

Organisations will be required to build a transparency framework that re-thinks how they engage with individuals, from contracting and permissions processes to providing clear and comprehensive information on how they handle personal data. The next step is to review contracts with third parties, and include a right of audit in their contracts. As part of this process, there is a huge education element involved. Regular data protection training will of course be required and will have to be extended to contractors and other third parties.

Becoming GDPR compliant will no doubt be a long and laborious task, but will also be a significant achievement, and potentially one of the screening criteria for tenders in the future. Let’s not forget that all businesses handling personal data will be required by law to become GDPR compliant by 25 May 2018, so it’s crucial to start planning and revisiting your data strategy today.

*Blog first published on Liberty Comms’ company blog here.

**Worth noting that, for PR Professionals, CIPR has issued an ‘introduction to GDPR’ guide, which is accessible for members via this link.




By Maria Loupa

One of the biggest European Wearable shows took place in London’s Olympia last week, on the 18-19 March. In this year’s expo, we saw a variety of companies tapping in the wearable market, from smart watches, fitness trackers, face-mounted computers, and smart jewellery. Differentiators depend on capability, design and of course, price. Taking a variety of forms, from clip-ons and wristbands to “smart” onesies, bras and socks, the list was endless.

The two-day conference saw speakers and vendors from around the world. It’s definitely an exciting time for wearables, and we were there getting our hands on as many smart devices as possible.

The different types of wearables covered fashion, sports and fitness, health and M2M, which more often than not crossed paths. There was also a developer hack fest and a business start up track, as well as live product demo and an exhibition, giving companies the chance to show off products to anyone attending the event. Finally, the event also hosted ‘The Wearables’, an awards ceremony recognising the UK’s leading large and small companies in the sector.

Smartwatches and wristbands

Plain and simple, bulky or sophisticated, one thing is for sure:  smartwatches have potential but their success will be directly proportional to how easy they will be to use and of course, whether they are serving a useful purpose. Additional elements would be being fashionable, comfortable and supporting a wide variety of apps.


Among others, a screen-less, seemingly traditional watch that works with a SIM card and a handful of pressable keys and can both place and receive calls caught my eye. Ideal for a night out without having to worry for anyone nicking your £600 phone I’d say.


One of my favourite gadgets will have to be the gesture band concept which looks as if taken out of the movie “Click”. Working on simple pointing and waving gestures, with receivers hooked up to appliances around the home or office, its application can expand on pretty much any field but can be incredibly beneficial for healthcare purposes.

Fitness trackers

Smart clothing is a seemingly peculiar but promising area. With a lot of the items at the expo resembling super-hero costumes, the tight kind, it’s obvious that the focus is on tracking and feedback based on data from sensors close to the body. Tracking pretty much everything that uses current applied through the skin, you can keep track of your heart-rate, sleep, perspiration, skin temperature, stress levels, fat content, muscle strength and so on. The same goes for wristbands as well.

Health-related recommendations are taking a more practical approach. Smart clothes with inbuilt heating system to keep you warm when your temperature lowers; super-thin stainless steel fibres that feel like wool; smart bands that can be snapped around your wrist; UVA measuring wrist-bands that can measure light and UV exposure can support a variety of smart features. Trackers that can be attached on any piece of sport equipment like a snowboard can provide an accurate reading of measurements of each move of an athlete’s performance.

Jewellery & fashion
























Fashion is gradually becoming more important in the world of wearable tech, as more gadgets take fashionability, wearablility and durability into consideration. But as the Expo proved, they can work the other way around too, with predominantly fashion items borrowing tech elements. Interactive NFC technology can be used to imbue jewellery and skirts with a personal emotive message, video or photos, while seemingly normal shoes can light up upon a camera flash.

Eyewear & Ear wear


Augmented reality goggles are definitely a strong player in wearables. From riding a roller-coaster to checking if a chest of drawers you want to order can fit in your apartment, the simple and cool 3D headset along with an augmented reality app held a special place in my heart. From gaming to interior design, whatever it may be that you want to experience, you can basically customise your own virtual reality by downloading the app, sliding your own smartphone across the front of the goggles and enjoy!



Another notable series of eyewear, brings sci-fi movies to mind due to its design and capabilities.  Aimed mostly at enterprise, it offers hands-free access to information; it’s built around an Android smartphone without the cellular connectivity, camera complete with zoom, responds to voice commands and allows headset to headset communication. Additionally, experimentation with lenses on the inside and the outside of the frame and tiny high-res screens that won’t draw unwanted attention are definitely a great platform for innovation in the field.

What can complement an augmented reality experience can also come from… the ears!  We tried on a smart headset with 3D audio, which was particularly fun when demoed as part of a live concert experience. 3D audio effectively means that you can hear sounds differently depending on how you’re positioned, thanks to location-aware technology. It would be interesting to see how this one evolves passed the obvious entertainment applications.

As an alternative to scanners and QR code reading apps, the concept of a piece of eyewear with an embedded QR code and barcode reader was also appealing.

Finally, nano-coating technology seems to be a definite emerging trend. With nanotechnology applied to the inside of devices that can protect electronics from failure due to full submersion in water and other corrosive liquids. This advancement can have many applications, including potentially a solution to the overheating and prolonging life span of computers.

Final thoughts

The majority of the gadgets at the Expo are already available at the market or being released after May this year. Eventually, we’ll see a retail price tag on most of them. With more and more big and small companies involved, the pressure will be on releasing a competing product from every aspect.

However, the real challenge with wearables would be to show some real end-user benefit. While the focus is largely put on the technology, a lot of these devices are taking tracking and measurement a step further. It will be interesting to watch the developments on how the data will be gathered and interpreted to enhance customer experiences.

*As it appeared on http://www.techbm.co.uk/wearable-tech-show-2014-trends-to-watch/.

For more information on the Wearable Technology show you can visit http://www.wearabletechnologyshow.net/.


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