I.T. Times

Volume 6, No 3 Information Technology News of the University of California, Davis November 1997

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The Gartner Group, a leading provider of IT research, advisory, and market research services, uses the phrase "the four I's" to refer to benchmarks and indicators that predict advances in technology. Taken individually, each of the four I's helps analyze advances in a specific technology-related area. When combined, they can predict new products and trends. Much as advances in laser technology lead to innovations in surgery techniques, advances in one I can lead to advances in other I's. The four I's are Interface (the ways in which users interact with applications), Intel (the company that sets standards for processing power and advances in components), Infrastructure (basic cabling and other physical components of a network), and Internet (existing and emerging tools and their standards).

Many of the technologies we will be using in the near future fall into one or more of these categories. Medipoint Systems, for example, has created a voice-enabled system capable of hearing and transcribing 110 words per minute with an accuracy rate of 98%. Here we see an advancement in the Interface area.

Biometrics (retinal, voice, or thumbprint authentication), used for enhanced security, is an advancement in both Interface (relating to how the user verifies his or her identity) and Internet (standards will need to be developed to authenticate and transmit secure information).

Full streaming audio and video technologies will become increasingly available as chips with the power to support video (Intel), backbones robust enough to handle increased traffic (Infrastructure) and browser plug-ins capable of displaying video (Internet) are developed.

As advances are made in each of these areas, technologies such as desktop video conferencing, distributed desktops, avatars, and intelligent agents will enable us to do things we can only dream about now.

The CAIT can be contacted at advancedit@ucdavis.edu or 752-5711.