A Holiday Wish for All of Us

By Samuel Greengard Print this article Print
Holiday wish list

From banishing passwords, to making tech devices that work, to getting value from social media, this holiday wish list covers tech problems that plague everyone.

Dear Santa,

It would be great if you, Mrs. Santa and the elves would deliver a few choice gifts this holiday season:

Help retailers, merchants and restaurants see the digital light. It turns out that Apple has invented a mobile wallet that works really well. But many merchants and their employees don't have a clue what Apple Pay is or what benefits it provides, including faster lines and airtight security. Most businesses also seem completely bamboozled about how to set up digital coupons and loyalty apps or use QR codes to deliver detailed information about the products in their stores.

Banish Passwords. Seriously, who can remember dozens of passwords? They're easily lost or stolen, and, in many cases, they provide only limited protection. And two-factor authentication is a pain in the eggnog glass. Although true biometric systems are beginning to take shape, perhaps you can sprinkle them like snowflakes into businesses and homes all over the globe.

Make things that work. No offense, Santa, but the elves aren't meeting quality control standards. Almost every electronic device I use breaks or glitches on a regular basis. Soon, we're all going to need a full-time tech support elf to fix all the problems.

Even worse, with connected devices and the Internet of things, we suddenly don't have just one company to argue with about problems. Now we have five or 10 or 20 … and none of them seem to know what the problem is or why it's taking place.

Get companies to wake up to security risks. Too many IT executives are swigging from the spiked holiday punch bowl 24/7/365. They aren't watching over enterprise systems and valuable data. As a result, stolen personal data and compromised credit card numbers are the gifts that keep on giving—all year long.

Perhaps you could provide these executives with a nifty holiday necktie or scarf imprinted with the words "Think Security!" And how about a cool audiobook that tells them how important it is to protect their company's assets.

Deliver some actual value from social media sites. Sorry if I'm being a bit of a Grinch, Santa, but 99.9 percent of the social media stream is just plain noise. Unfortunately, it's getting worse—though I did like your tweets about Rudolph's matted fur and Facebook brags about Giljagaur the elf and his extraordinary toy output.

Hey, maybe you can even sing a special carol this year:

"T'was the night before Christmas 

and all through the house,

not a device was stirring,

not even a computer mouse.

From the bedroom to the office,

from the porch to the mall,

click off Facebook, Twitter and LinkedIn.

Click off them all!"

This article was originally published on 2014-12-12

Samuel Greengard, a contributing writer for Baseline, writes about business, technology and other topics. His forthcoming book, The Internet of Things (MIT Press), will be released in the spring of 2015.

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