Each year, the AICPA Top Technologies Task Force prepares a âwatch listâ of five emerging technologies that may not have viable commercial acceptance currently, but show promise in the next 24-36 months as having a potential impact on businesses and individuals.
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- RFID (Radio Frequency Identification): Silicon chips and an antenna that transmits 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 automatically read hundreds of tags a 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 they run low on fuel!).
- Digital Home: The line between âdigital homeâ and the office work-day continues to blur. For example, ânon-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 display device is serving multiple functions.