There was no shortage of disruptive technologies in 2016. Oculus and Vive were just two brands that made virtual reality (VR) and augmented reality (AR) more accessible than ever before. While Pokémon Go‘s popularity has faded, its record-breaking launch proved that AR-based games could rule the personal technology world.
While 2016 was the year of massive technology disruptions in the personal sphere, there’s also been some thrilling motion in the business IT realm. Discover four under-hyped technologies that could really change the way you work in 2017 and beyond.
1. Biometric sensors
The biometric sensor market is poised to be worth $1.83 billion by 2024. According to Security Magazine, the technology has arguably existed since 1891—when Juan Vucetich began archiving human fingerprints—but it’s finally arrived in a big way.
Devon Streed, security department head at utilities company PacifiCorp, told Security Magazine, “Implementing biometrics has enhanced security without requiring enormous overhauls in their two-factor authentication programs for employees.”
While there’s active controversy surrounding the use of biometrics in the workplace—especially when it comes to HR—the potential is exciting. Security consultant David Mount is just one IT pro who’s downright psyched about the possibilities of biometrics for security. Writing for ITProPortal, Mount said that biometrics have the potential to solve some of IT’s biggest headaches, including mobile access management, mobile platform usability, and convenient, adaptive authentication. Maybe forgotten and weak passwords can finally become a thing of the past?
2. Automated security
Manual defence against cybercrime is about as effective as . . . well, it’s just not effective at all. Even signature-based detection methods are quickly becoming obsolete in the era of advanced, persistent threats. Today’s IT pros need security solutions that are policy-driven, hands-off, and able to scale to threats. Thanks to this, the software-defined security market is predicted to grow from US$1.59 billion to US$6.76 billion by the year 2021, according to a report by MarketsandMarkets.
3. Facial recognition
If you see a coworker swiping away at their phone screen intensely, they may not actually be on Tinder. They could be addicted to Snapchat filters, quietly examining themselves in flower crowns or full black-metal face paint. These filters aren’t just a way to take a really flattering selfie—they’re actually a hallmark of just how far facial recognition tech and artificial intelligence have come.
PetaPixel explains how Snapchat filters were trained using thousands of human faces to determine patterns of contrast points, allowing users to “create a point mask” and transfer this data into a filtered new image. While Snapchat filters may have limited pragmatic use for IT pros in the workforce, it’s an exciting sign of just how far facial recognition tech has come.
Global wealth management firm UBS is piloting the use of facial recognition technology to hone their client services, according to Fortune. UBS chief investment officer Mark Haefele says they’re testing a tool that gauges subtle facial expressions to determine specific interests in their various products, such as a preference for short-term trading over long-term planning. And get ready to loosen your grip on your passports; soon you won’t need one to enter or leave Australia thanks to facial recognition.
4. The IoT ecosystem
Australia is leading IoT adoption in industries like agriculture and government. Businesses are using smart, connected devices to reduce electricity consumption, equipment maintenance needs, and secure their buildings. While this technology isn’t new, it’s the state of where it’s at that’s really exciting. We’re now in a place where businesses can look beyond random IoT devices, like smart printers and thermostats, to a true IoT ecosystem.
Realistically, you need more than a sweet gadget budget to add more connected devices to your company’s network. You need to look toward building an infrastructure that can scale as your needs for functionality change.
2016 was the year the future became mainstream. Some exciting concepts in artificial intelligence and cutting-edge tech are now mainstream, affordable, and allowing businesses to drive innovation.