The Future of Wearables: Eve Maler on Trust Frameworks & Data Ownership

future of wearables with Eve Maler

We’re excited to co-sponsor The Future of Wearables podcast – a new podcast interview series hosted by Heather Schlegel, a futurist. Each week during The Future of Wearables series, Schlegel will interview mobile industry thought leaders and wearable makers for a one-hour discussion on the future of wearables for work, entertainment, communication, learning, health – and more. If you haven’t already subscribed, Sign up for The Future of Wearables podcast to get the latest episode in your inbox. Read on for this week’s episode, and our take aways.


The first Future of Wearables episode features Eve Maler, Vice President of Innovation and Emerging Technology at ForgeRock. Maler is a strategist, innovator, and communicator on digital identity, access, security, and privacy – with a focus on creating successful wide-scale ecosystems. Her background includes creation of interoperability standards such as SAML for identity and XML for data. Maler’s interests range from redefining privacy and consent so they work better for people (no small undertaking) – to building successful, interoperable and open ecosystems. ForgeRock helps build seamless connected relationships across applications, devices, and digitally connected “things.” At ForgeRock, Eve Maler drives innovation into its open source identity platform and she leads their standards efforts on the User Managed Access (OpenUMA) web protocol.


During the podcast, Heather Schlegel and Eve Maler discuss two important topics in the emerging world of wearable tech – trust frameworks and data ownership. Listen to the conversation and learn how Maler thinks about wearables, her advice for businesses interested in getting into the wearables market, and her 2030 predictions for wearables.

“If you want to create the killer app for wearables it has to materially benefit my life.”
– Eve Maler


When it comes to mobile application development for wearable devices, data privacy presents significant challenges – as well as great opportunities. It’s important to evaluate and understand how the mobile app you design can improve someone’s life – and so they can justify the cost of the wearable device. You also must design user interfaces that inspire people to engage repeatedly with the wearable device and its apps.

Based on the comments by Eve Maler, here are 3 tips from Sourcebits about designing and developing mobile apps for wearables with trust and data in mind:

• Make the Data Transparent

Quietly collecting user data in the background is a short-sighted approach to customer engagement. You don’t want users to angrily “discover” their information has been taken – this breaks their trust and hurts your business. Be upfront about the data you collect, how you use it and how you protect it. This can lead to users sharing even more data than they might have otherwise provided, and you’ve established their trust at the beginning of your relationship. Respecting customer data can be a competitive advantage – so gaining user confidence is critical to long-term success.

• Clearly Communicate the Return Value for Sharing Data

You need to inspire engagement from the moment the user downloads your app and opens it. Show immediate value to the user the first time the app is opened, and make it clear why the user should share his/her data. For example – providing charts to track progress over time, or the ability to compare data with friends.

• Build Opt-In Privacy Settings

How much data is optional for your wearable app users, and how much is required? This can dramatically impact your user experience, and must be accounted for in your app design and development. What will the app look like if someone elects not to give access to geo-location tracking? How can you add value if a user doesn’t connect with Facebook friends? Your privacy settings will impact many design and development decisions – so plan accordingly.

According to TRUSTe, 79 percent of U.S. consumers are concerned about data collected by connected devices like wearables. Preliminary data from Online Trust Alliance’s (OTA) forthcoming Online Trust Audit shows 14 percent of leading Internet of Things (IoT) products do not have a discoverable privacy policy for consumers to review prior to purchase. On May 13th, 2015 OTA announced it is leading an initiative to develop a security, privacy and sustainability trust framework initially focused on connected home and wearable fitness technologies. When this framework is ready, it will be an important element to designing and developing mobile apps.


If you’re thinking about entering the wearable tech market or have an existing app that you’d like to reimagine for the Apple Watch, smart glasses or other devices – you’ve come to the right place.


Piotr Gajos, Chief Innovation Officer

Piotr is Sourcebits Chief Innovation Officer. A 2006 Apple Design Award winner, Piotr draws much of his inspiration from film and music, and focuses on leading our Innovation Strategy Workshops, generating new ideas for Sourcebits, and consulting on projects.