Another Tech Wish List

By Samuel Greengard Print this article Print
Tech Wish List

Technology vendors have made a lot of progress this year, but there are still a number of issues that need to be resolved. So, here's my holiday wish list.

Dear Santa,

It's another holiday season and I'm hoping you, Mrs. Claus and the elves will drop the following gifts into my stocking:

Better batteries: Phones and devices keep getting thinner, but battery life is a giant lump of coal. What's more, the Apple Watch, which is a really cool device, has such meager battery life that it's a pain in the tick-tock. While researchers continue to explore all sorts of experimental technologies, a true breakthrough is as elusive as a Santa sighting. Is it possible to charge up the elf team and deliver a better battery?

A thicker digital wallet: Mobile wallets are finally here, but many retailers and other businesses are still hopelessly behind the curve. Santa, how about sending out a winter blast email that would convince all stores, travel agencies and ticket sellers to load tickets, vouchers and coupons into a mobile wallet, and also to link loyalty programs through Apple Pay and Android Pay.

If that's not possible, I could use a new leather wallet that holds the 38 plastic and punch cards I currently possess.

More mindful marketing: It's nothing short of ironic, Santa, that despite all of today's big data and analytics capabilities, I'm constantly snowplowing through an avalanche of misguided marketing emails and messages—more than 5,000 this year! What's more, some Facebook ads are downright creepy.

It's no wonder that so many people—some estimates run as high as 200 million globally—now rely on ad and tracker blockers.

A sense of security: It seems as though data breaches are now as common as snowflakes at the North Pole. Will we all become victims of identity theft and fraud within a decade?

Seriously, this is progress?

It's great to see chip cards—thanks to new federal regulations—and Apple Pay and Android Pay are great, but we need business and IT executives to get serious about security and stop the onslaught of breaches. Perhaps you can convince them by putting offenders on the permanent naughty list.

Smarter and better remotes: Things are getting way too complex, especially with today's home theater systems. Apple has taken a reindeer leap forward by incorporating Siri into the new Apple TV remote. Yet, inexplicably, while it can pinpoint content to watch or buy, it can't search through my music library for Burl Ives' Holly Jolly Christmas song.

Voice technology is marching forward: Comcast and others offer remotes that are voice activated. However, we need to have more advanced voice controls for all remotes—or, better yet, embedded in TVs and other appliances.

This article was originally published on 2015-12-18
Samuel Greengard writes about business and technology for Baseline, CIO Insight and other publications. His most recent book is The Internet of Things (MIT Press, 2015).
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