New technologies are arriving on the market at such a pace that you hardly have time to educate yourself about what they are and what they do exactly, let alone what they will mean for your enterprise and the marketplace in general.
In this Audible.com interview, “Coming attractions: Five emerging technologies,” Jackie Fenn, vice president of Gartner’s Collaborative and Workflows Knowledge and Technologies Practice, talks about five hot and emerging technologies that could impact how enterprises conduct business. Those technologies are:
- · Voice portals
- · Content-based retrieval
- · Electronic cash (e-cash)
- · Display technologies
- · Embedded minicomputers
The interview, available free to TechRepublic members, can be accessed via Windows Media Player or Real Player. Read ahead to find out what you’ll hear in the interview and then click through to listen to more about these five hot technologies.
Similar to Internet portals, voice portals are platforms for requesting and receiving information. The difference: Voice portals operate on voice-recognition technology that is conducted over the telephone.
Stock prices, horoscopes, weather reports, and movie show times are just a few of the many types of information that this technology will enable you to access over the telephone without fumbling through tedious directories and number punching.
While PDAs and PCs will undoubtedly be key information retrieval tools, voice portals promise to move a lot of this retrieval activity to telephone lines and wireless phone networks.
If you’ve ever been led astray while conducting an Internet search for a specific topic, content-based retrieval could alleviate some of that frustration. While many Web site searches are structured around keywords, content-based retrieval goes one step further.
Instead of dealing with keywords, this smart-retrieval technology makes it possible for a search mechanism to “understand” the actual context and meanings of text—enabling searches to deliver more accurate, pertinent, and efficient results.
Electronic cash (e-cash)
Wouldn’t it be nice to pay for groceries with your wireless phone? If e-cash technology gains momentum over the next few years, making purchases will be close to effortless.
E-cash uses an existing consumer/service relationship as a foundation to consolidate different micropayments. E-payments would work through Bluetooth wireless technology, which allows such devices as digital phones to communicate with other devices like grocery kiosks or gasoline pumps. Thus, when a customer makes a purchase, the devices communicate, and the charge would then be itemized on the customer’s monthly wireless bill.
Analyst Jackie Fenn discusses two hot display technologies that will alter the way we view information:
- · Projected displays are tiny projection devices that will project images several feet in front of a viewer in adjustable dimensions. The devices will allow for mobile computing without the burden of tiny, eye-troubling screens.
- · Electronic ink seemingly converts paper into a display field of tiny pixels that change from light to dark in response to an electric current. Paper will give way to these kinds of LCD displays.
Fenn believes that embedded minicomputers are the beginnings of “ubiquitous computing.” She cites an example wherein some insurance companies are beginning to install—with the customer’s permission—tiny GPS systems into policyholders’ automobiles to monitor their driving habits so that the insurance company can tailor their premiums accordingly.
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