CES 2019 continued its tradition of being the destination for consumer electronics news. At one time, the show had little, if any, relevance to IT, but with BYOD and beyond, what happens outside of work impacts what happens at work. Following are a few enterprise IT issues that come to mind based on some of the announcements.
“Convenience” has been the operative word in the consumer sector at least since the introduction of TV dinners back in the 1950’s. Time savers like bread machines now have fully automated industrial equivalents such as the Wilkinson Baking Company’s BreadBot. The persistent question, which has an evolving answer for every business, is why should humans have to do [fill in the blank]? If the task is boring, repetitive, time-consuming or hard to scale using humans, automation is the key. What might be automated next in your industry that will impact cost, productivity, efficiency and profitability? How could you translate that into a competitive advantage?
Cybersecurity and privacy
Bring-your-own technology has impacted enterprise IT and cybersecurity. Since wearables connect via Bluetooth, Near-Field Communications (NFC) and Wi-Fi, they provide yet more opportunities for brute force attacks. In addition, wearables tend to store Personally Identifiable Information (PII) unencrypted, which, if exploited, could result in political moves or other misdeeds that expose the organization to reputational damage, lawsuits and regulatory fines. Take the Withings Move ECG activity tracker, for example. It monitors a user’s heart health, which is great in some regards, but what if a device like this were compromised by a competitor, industrial spy or corporate politician and used to show that a key employee driving the popularity or market cap of a company was a liability? (Note: it is not our intention to imply that the Withings Move ECG is or any Withings products are less secure than any other IoT device because frankly we don’t know. It is just one of the CES announcements that made us consider the impact of such devices on IT.)
Voice interfaces are being integrated with all kinds of devices, including as the Lenovo Smart Clock, which leverages Google Assistant like its sibling the Smart Display which was introduced last year. The consumer electronics space is fueling the growth of voice interfaces, so your company should be at least piloting and testing them. Employees and customers will expect it. Figure out what they want and map your company’s interface strategy accordingly. Voice interfaces aren’t a complete replacement for more traditional interfaces just yet, but the mix is going to change rapidly. Are you ready?
The HTC Vive Pro provides a commercial option for training, design and simulating impossible scenarios. It tracks eye movement, which enables it to make efficient use of resources, aligning those resources with the user’s point of attention. It isn’t cheap, though. The pro version costs $1,399 and the cheaper Vive Focus is $599. Then again, the products are aimed at enterprises, not consumers.
Frankly, VR and AR are still struggling to take off generally speaking because the headsets can be uncomfortable. In addition, the virtual elements can impact perception which can cause dizziness, nausea and spatial-related risks.
The Samsung MicroLED modular TV allows users to configure screen components into any shape. It could be used artfully in lobbies and conference settings where a “wow factor” is desired. The two base screens are bolted together, whereas the other screens attach via magnets. Since the screens are modular, they’re also portable which is great news for creative minds, but potentially not-so-great news for asset management.