We spoke last week about the efficiency gains to come from the rise of the Industrial Internet and Smart Machines. This week, we continue our discussion with a focus on Biometrics and Device Management, and Wearables and the Personal Cloud.
Biometrics and Device Management
As mobile computing takes over the workplace, and productivity moves from desktop to handheld and out of the office, data security is only increasing in importance, especially for the likes of digital finance and remote device management. Many breaches are the result of user error or lax authentication policies, and it can be challenging to strike a balance between flexibility and security as new mobile devices reinvent the way we do business.
Fingerprint sensors have been around for years, but they never really took off for personal use. At least, not until Apple introduced the iPhone 5S. The 5S features a fingerprint reader integrated into the phone's Home button, allowing users authorized via Touch ID to instantly unlock the device with a push of the button, while forcing unauthorized fingers to tap in a lengthy passcode. Touch ID encourages users once dissuaded by the inconvenience of a passcode lock to password protect their devices, while maintaining the same level of convenience as an unsecured device for users authorized by the sensor.
Curiously, TouchID was omitted from the new iPad Air, suggesting that Apple is still testing the waters of this technology before introducing it to the likes of iPad-toting medical professionals, pilots, and bankers. If Touch ID proves successful on the iPhone in the hands of consumers, enterprise IT professionals may soon gain another means of securing their devices, with minimal inconvenience to the users they manage.
Wearables and the Personal Cloud
The cloud has revolutionized the way we share and consume data. Ditch the rolodex, the photo album, and keychain full of flash drives, because it can all follow us wirelessly from the cloud. Just as tablets and smartphones diminished the need for a full desktop environment, the rising popularity of cloud-based services reduces the need for carrying around a full suite of software and micromanaging data storage and circulation.
Wearables are more than just a fashionable way to make calls and get your mack on; they have tremendous potential for the likes of retail and proximity marketing, contactless payment, and monitoring vital signs. According to ABI Research, wearable wireless devices in sports and healthcare are expected to reach 170 million units worldwide by 2017. To take things even further, the FDA approved digital pills back in 2012, opening the door for real-time monitoring of vital signs outside of a medically-supervised environment and improving the flow of information available to caregivers. The challenge, then, will be securing and managing all these new devices after widespread deployment.
The rising tide of cloud-based communication and ever-shrinking electronics sets the stage for a wave of hands-free wireless devices that truly revolutionize the way we live day-to-day.
But what of 3D Printing? The process has been around for a while, why is it only now getting attention? Find out in Part 3 of our 2014 tech trend analysis, and be sure to follow us @NetopTech for more discussions on Tech Support and Customer Service Management!