Ecosystem Podcast RCast

RCast 14: The Mecca of Wearables (with Dana Farbo of Augmate)

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This year over 15 million people will visit the Saudi Arabian city, Mecca, including the few million currently there for the annual pilgrimage, the Hajj. As the birthplace of Muhammad, it is considered the holiest city in all of Islam. Every adult Muslim is required to make this journey once in their lifetime.

While on this pilgrimage, the devotees are required to wear minimal clothing: two white seamless cloths for men, ordinary Islamic condition of public dress for women. While the walk sounds primitive, the Saudi Arabian government has spent over $100 billion to provide more facilities along the way. And even though pilgrims are required to carry minimal goods, cell phones are now part of the tradition.

So when I read that Augmate, an IoT and Wearable device management company building on blockchain, is working on a social coordination tool for pilgrims traveling to Mecca, my eyes perked up. There have been some hairy incidents over the decades, including fires, protests, disease outbreaks, violence, stampedes—in 2015, 2,236 pilgrims were killed in one—and, this year, a swarm of locusts. A technology to coordinate would be rather helpful during such trying times.

Dana Farbo is the COO of Augmate. Over the last two decades, he has built and sold companies, written a best-selling book on online marketing, is an Adjunct Professor at Fashion Institute of Technology in New York City, co-leads the world’s largest augmented reality meet-up, and has spoken at technology events around the globe.

To understand what Augmate’s management system entails, Farbo explains it in an interview last month with Security Tokens Academy:

During our talk, we discuss privacy in the age of wearables—for example, what measures would be put in place if a doctor filmed a birth and then had his device stolen—as well as how Augmate stays one step ahead of hackers, the potential of using VR and even augmented reality for sexual harassment training, and how Verizon is using Augmate’s platform right now to simulate in-store robberies. And, of course, we chat about why blockchain is the key to all of these forward-seeking applications.