If you’ve seen the news this week, chances are you ran across reports about this year’s Consumer Electronics Show (CES). It’s an annual event where technology companies parade their products in front of consumers, businesses, and technomaniacs in search of the “next big thing.” Although chances are few of these inventions will ever make it to retail shelves, CES products reveal where business technology is headed.
To help companies plan for the future, our friends at ZDNet came up with a list of trends that business professionals should watch. We’ve added our take on things, which we are sharing with you now.
Have wearables reached their tipping point yet? If your answer is “no,” you’re correct. While wearables are commanding a lot of attention, consumers tend to lose interest pretty quickly.
This could change in 2015, according to ZDNet, which says that they found some useful products among the throngs of inventions at CES and believes this could be the year that wearables go mainstream.
So, how does this prediction impact businesses? ZDNet explains that “Companies are going to have to start looking more seriously at wearables that could help their businesses and consider the impact of wearables on their BYOD policies.”
Wearables aren’t new to the automatic identification and data capture (AIDC) world, which has long been focused on designing products that improve productivity in a wide variety of industries. For example, many warehouses already rely on wearable barcode scanners to expedite the pick, pack, and ship process (among other things). Likewise, field services personnel and retailers are actively using mobile printers— from manufacturers like Zebra and Honeywell Intermec—that comfortably sit on the hip to quickly print receipts and invoices.
But with the consumerization of IT and proliferation of mobile devices—including widespread adoption of BYOD (bring your own device) policies—business are facing new challenges. Employees expect quick access to applications and information that helps them be more productive, but are often met with sluggish networks that can’t handle high-volume downloads in the workplace. Too, security and privacy issues need taming as the lines between our personal and professional lives continue to blur.
Gaining popularity is the use of 3D printing. Like wearables, three-dimensional printing isn’t widely used yet, although interest in this technology remains high. At CES, ZDNet found more players entering the 3D world, which should address some of the current issues with speed and use.
While this movement will accelerate adoption of this intriguing technology, ZDNet doesn’t see it changing the immediate printing landscape—that is if you’re a manufacturer or engineering company tasked with designing and building products. Instead, they predict an onslaught of 3D printing companies aiming desktop products at small businesses, rather than consumers. In fact, they envision—and we agree—that service bureaus will provide 3D printing until this technology becomes more mature.
Internet of Things (IoT)
Talk about a hot topic! The IoT is the next game-changer. Cisco estimates that 50 billion devices will connect to the Internet by 2020, while Gartner believes that this same timeframe, global suppliers of products and services will generate incremental revenue exceeding $300 billion, which will boost the total economic impact to $1.9 million.
In case you’ve been hiding under a rock, here’s a snapshot of how the IoT works: Sensors in everyday items capture data that is then transmitted to machines which analyze it and recommend actions. By automatically compiling and analyzing “big data,” companies have a comprehensive picture of how well things are working and can make intelligent decisions about how to manage assets and inventory across the enterprise, for example.
This has huge implications for businesses of all kinds as noted in the predictions by industry leaders. First, the ability for machines to talk directly to other machines (M2M) eliminates the need for human interaction, thereby speeding the processing and dissemination of information. And while that is great, it comes with a price. Infrastructures must be shored up to handle the influx of data, which is stored in the cloud for easy access. And they must integrate with other systems to ensure seamless connectivity.
Once those details are sorted out, the final link to success lies with the analytics. Companies with systems that can successfully manage mountains of data to produce meaningful key points will be able to make better, more informed decisions while enjoying what ZDNet calls “the holy grail of business process automation.”
Innovations in mobile apps
For years, innovations in cellular technology topped the talk at shows like CES. But in the past couple of years, this chatter has quieted due to the saturation of mobile devices. In fact, Apple and Samsung have experienced “lukewarm responses to their recent products” as consumers and businesses alike are seemingly bored with new features.
There is one bright light that will change how businesses work. Mobile computers and portable printers will continue to take advantage of cellular and Wi-Fi technologies when capturing, sending, and receiving data. But now you can customization applications on multiple platforms to more efficiently capture data using wearables that expedite processing. And then you can easily share this information using mobile devices—such as smartphones, tablets, and phablets—which according to ZDNet aren’t undergoing major changes in 2015.
For businesses, the spotlight sits squarely on software and connected devices, including rugged enterprise tablets and sleds that withstand the rigors of industrial settings while delivering the same experience and similar benefits of consumer devices.
As a leader in business process automation technology, System ID can answer your questions about the direction of wearables, mobile computing, the IoT, BYOD, wireless security, and application development. Give our advisors a call at 888.648.4452, or visit the System ID website.
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