I AM currently attending a Canalys conference, one that is focused on the value-added resellers and channels market, and is a good conference to attend when you want to know what is generally happening in the technology industry.
Here are some of the exciting things happening in tech. Some are encouraging, but some are worrying.
The important thing is that artificial intelligence and robotics are getting better and better and have the potential to take over some jobs that are currently done by people.
For instance, you may be aware that in many airports, train stations, or borders, there are now special lanes where the person can go in and out of the country by passing a turnstile instead of an immigration officer. They put in their passport, it is scanned, and the machine just asks that you put your fingers to authenticate that you are the person. Then the turnstile is opened, and you are on the way.
Singapore Changi Airport will soon go over another step forward – many people said it is already operational in Terminal 4. On most flights, especially international ones, most airports still need to have an inspector at the gate to check your passport and your boarding pass so that there will be no mistaken or switched identities.
In Changi, this is already done by machine. When you pass by immigration, your picture will be taken. At the gate, a computer will scan your face and check whether your boarding pass matches your face to authenticate that you are who you say you are.
I have written before that almost everybody in China now uses electronic money to pay from their cell phones. Another company is going a bit further. Instead of using a cell phone or your credit card to pay, now they are thinking using your fingerprint, your iris, or your face to pay.
In many offices, it’s already a practice that your fingerprint or face is used for your daily time in and out. Why not use your biometrics for that? After all, you may lose your cell phone or your credit card, but you would hardly lose your finger or your face.
So if you want to pay in the future, you just input your identity, and then it will scan your face, and if you are who you say you are, the amount in your account can be transferred to the merchants.
The standard in many countries is that everybody has a national ID system. Maybe that ID does not have to be a card, but just a number that you can use on your cell phone or tablet to store money, and establish your identity in making transactions.
Technology enables things that we could never think of before. One person revealed was that there is a US project to install a security system so that if the panic button is pressed, it will immediately shut down a lot of doors around the school. Why? Because there have been several rampage shootings, and if there is a threat, then this panic button can allow students to hide behind secure doors and be protected.
Sometimes, there can also be humorous applications.
A company is suggesting that they can do toilets in restaurants which won’t unlock unless the person scans his hands after doing his thing, and it is detected that it was properly washed with soap.