For the third consecutive year, Information Security is the country's number one technology concern, according to the AICPA's 2005 Top 10 Technologies survey. Spam Technology—an issue closely associated with Information Security—apparently has lost some currency, falling from number two where it debuted last year to number four. A different issue closely allied with Information Security—Electronic Data Management, or the Paperless Office—moved up to second place from number three.
There are also two technologies making their debut in 2005: Authentication Technologies and Storage Technologies. Another issue, Learning and Training Competency, reappears at number 10 after an absence of three years.
|2005 Top Technology Initiatives
- Information Security. The hardware, software, processes, and procedures in place to protect an organization's information systems from internal and external threats.
- Electronic Document Management (paperless or less-paper office). The process of capturing, indexing, storing, retrieving, searching, and managing documents electronically. Formats include PDF, digital, and image store database technologies.
- Data Integration. The ability to update one field and have it automatically synchronize between multiple databases, such as the automatic/seamless transfer of client information between all systems. In this instance, only the data flows across systems from platform to platform or application to application. Data Integration also involves the application-neutral exchange of information. For example, the increased use of XBRL (eXtensible Business Reporting Language) by companies worldwide provides for the seamless exchange and aggregation of financial data to meet the needs of different user groups using different applications to read, present, and analyze data.
- Spam Technology. The use of technology to reduce or eliminate unwanted e-mail commonly known as spam.
- Disaster Recovery. The development, monitoring, and updating of the process by which organizations plan for continuity of their business in the event of business information resources through theft, virus/malware infestation, weather damage, accidents, or other malicious destruction. Disaster recovery includes business continuation, contingency planning, and disk recovery technologies and processes.
- Collaboration and Messaging Technologies. Applications that allow users to communicate electronically, including e-mail, voicemail, universal messaging, instant messaging, e-mailed voice messages, and digital faxing. Examples include a computer conference using the keyboard (a keyboard chat) over the Internet among two or more people.
- Wireless Technologies. The transfer of voice or data from one machine to another via the airwaves and without physical connectivity, Examples include cellular, satellite, infrared, Bluetooth, WiFi, 3-G, two-way paging, CDMA, Wireless, WiMax, and others.
- Authentication Technologies. The hardware, software, processes, and procedures to protect a person's privacy and identity from internal or external threats, including digital identity, privacy, and biometric authentication.
- Storage Technologies. Storage Area Networks (SANs) include mass storage, CD-recordable, DVD, data compression, near field recording, electronic document storage and networked attached storage (NAS), as well as small, personal storage devices like USB drives.
- NEW Learning and Training Competency (End Users). The methodology and curriculum by which personnel learn to understand and use technology. This includes measuring competency, learning plans to increase the knowledge of individuals, and hiring and retaining qualified personnel.
Each year, the Top Technologies Task Force prepares a "watch list" of five emerging technologies that have yet to gain viable commercial acceptance, but show promise for potential impact on businesses and individuals in the next 24-36 months.
- RFID ( Radio Frequency Identification). Silicon chips and antennae that transmit data to a wireless receiver could one day be used to track everything from soda cans to cereal boxes. Unlike bar codes that need to be scanned manually and read individually (you have to actually see a bar code in order to read it), RFID tags do not require line-of-sight for reading. Within the field of a wireless reading device, it is possible to read hundreds of tags per second.
- Search. Companies like Google, Apple Computer, and Microsoft are putting research and development resources into new ways of pinpointing digital files that do not require wading through directories of folders.
- Fuel Cells. Methanol-powered fuel cells represent an exciting alternative to aging battery technology that will help users complete the "everything wireless" puzzle. These electromechanical devices represent both an environmentally friendly solution (they give off carbon dioxide and water as their by-product), as well as provide unlimited life for mobile devices (just fill the tank when it runs low on fuel!).
- Digital Home. The line between "digital home" and the office work day continues to blur. For example "non-desktop" PC technology is making a difference in how we work at the office and live at home: 802.11 cameras monitor the office after hours or home during the day (security system), while a 42" plasma screen resides in the office conference room, as well as the living room.
- Display Technology. The continued evolution of various display technologies allow for higher resolutions and smaller devices with lower power consumptions. Display technology is also merging, so that instead of having dedicated functions, such as a television receiver and a computer monitor, one device is serving multiple functions.