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Chapter 14 Emerging Trends, Technologies, and Applications Learning Objectives Summarize new trends in software and service distribution. Describe virtual reality components and applications. Discuss uses of radio frequency identification. Explain quick response codes. Summarize new uses of biometrics. Describe new trends in networking, including grid, utility, and cloud computing. Discuss uses of nanotechnology. Chapter Outline I. Trends in Software and Service Distribution A. Push and Pull Technologies With pull technology, a user states a need before getting information, as when a URL is entered in a Web browser so the user can go to a certain Web site. With push technology, also known as “webcasting,” a Web server delivers information to users (who have signed up for the service) instead of waiting for them to request the information be sent to them. Push technology can be effective for business-to-consumer (B2C) and business-to-business (B2B) marketing as well. Push technology delivers content to users automatically at set intervals or when a new event occurs. Push technology streamlines the process of users getting software updates and updated content. Push technology also improves business relations and customer service because users get the information they need in a more timely fashion. B. Application Service Providers Application service providers (ASPs) provide access to software or services for a fee. Software as a service (SaaS), also known as “on-demand software,” is a model in which ASPs deliver software to users for a fee; the software is for temporary or long-term use. With this delivery model, users do not need to be concerned with new software versions and compatibility problems because the ASP offers the most recent version of the software. Users can also save all application data on the ASP’s server so the software and data are portable. The SaaS model can take several forms, such as the following: Software services for general use, such as office suite packages A specific service, such as credit card processing A service in a vertical market, such as software solutions for doctors, accountants, and attorneys Generally, the advantages of outsourcing—less expensive, delivers information more quickly—apply to the ASP model, too. However, ASPs have some specific advantages, including the following: The customer does not need to be concerned about whether software is current. Information systems (IS) personnel time is freed up to focus on applications (such as customer relationship management and financial information systems) that are more strategically important to the organization. Software development costs are spread over several customers, so vendors can absorb some expenses of software development and develop more improved software. Software is kept up to date, based on users’ requests. The ASP contract guarantees a certain level of technical support. An organization’s software costs can be reduced to a predictable monthly fee. Here are some of the disadvantages of ASPs: Generally, users must accept applications as provided by ASPs; software customized to users’ needs is not offered. Because the organization has less control over how applications are developed, there is the risk that applications might not fully meet the organization’s needs. Integration with the customer’s other applications and systems might be challenging. II. Virtual Reality Virtual reality (VR) uses computer-generated, three-dimensional images to create the illusion of interaction in a real-world environment. In VR terminology, the everyday physical world is referred to as an “information environment.” Before VR technology, even the best graphics programs used a two-dimensional environment to illustrate a three-dimensional object. VR technology has added the third dimension so users can interact with objects in a way that has not been possible before. Virtual reality began with military flight simulations in the 1960s, but these VR systems were rudimentary compared with today’s systems. One needs to be familiar with these terms in order to understand the following sections: Simulation—giving objects in a VR environment texture and shading for a 3D appearance. Interaction—enabling users to act on objects in a VR environment, as by using a data glove to pick up and move objects. Immersion—giving users the feeling of being part of an environment by using special hardware and software. Telepresence—giving users the sense that they are in another location (even one geographically far away) and can manipulate objects as though they are actually in that location. Full-body immersion—allowing users to move around freely by combining interactive environments with cameras, monitors, and other devices. Networked communication—allowing users in different locations to interact and manipulate the same world at the same time by connecting two or more virtual worlds. A. Types of Virtual Environments There are two major types of user environments in VR: egocentric and exocentric. In an egocentric environment, the user is totally immersed in the VR world. The most common technology used with this environment is a head-mounted display (HMD). Another technology, a virtual retinal display (VRD), uses lasers. In an exocentric environment, the user is given a “window view.” Data is still rendered in 3D, but users can only view it on screen. They cannot interact with objects, as in an egocentric environment. The main technology used in this environment is 3D graphics. B. Components of a Virtual Reality System The following are the major components of a VR system: Visual and aural systems—these components allow users to see and hear the virtual world. Manual control for navigation—this component allows the user to navigate in the VR environment and control various objects. Central coordinating processor and software system—this component generates and manipulates high-quality graphics in real time, so it needs a very fast processor. Walker—this input device captures and records movements of the user’s feet as the user walks or turns in different directions. C. CAVE A cave automatic virtual environment (CAVE) is a virtual environment consisting of a cube-shaped room in which the walls are rear-projection screens. It uses holographic devices that create, capture, and display images in true 3D form. CAVEs are used for research in many fields, including archaeology, architecture, engineering, geology, and physics. D. Virtual Reality Applications The U.S. military uses VR systems for flight simulations. In medicine, they are used for “bloodless” surgery. In the entertainment industry, they are used in games and theaters. VR systems can be used for many other business applications, too. The following are some current business applications of VR systems: Assistance for the disabled—virtual reality helps extend the capabilities of the disabled. Architectural design—architects and engineers use VR systems to create blueprints and build prototypes to show to clients. Education—VR systems are used in educational games and simulations, such as VR “flash cards” for teaching math skills. Flight simulation—commercial airlines and the military have been using flight simulators for many years. VR systems can also be used in videoconferencing and group support systems. A relatively recent application of VR is in therapy for sexual assault victims, victims of motor vehicle accidents, people who are fearful of heights, flying, or public speaking, and in treating eating disorders and alcoholism. E. Obstacles in Using VR Systems One major obstacle to using VR technology is that not enough fiber-optic cables are currently available to carry the data transmissions needed for a VR environment capable of re-creating a conference. VR systems have generated a lot of excitement in recent years, but the following problems must be solved before this technology’s potential can be realized: Confusion between the VR environment and the real environment Mobility and other problems with HMDs Difficulty representing sound Need for additional computing power F. Virtual Worlds A virtual world is a simulated environment designed for users to interact via avatars. An avatar is a 2D or 3D graphical representation of a person in the virtual world, used in chat rooms and online games. Users can manipulate objects in the simulated world and experience a limited telepresence that gives them the feeling of being in another location. Communication between users can take the form of text, graphical icons, and sound. Currently, virtual worlds are used most often for gaming, social networking, and entertainment. Other organizations use virtual worlds to conduct a variety of business activities, such as marketing and sales, product development, recruiting, and team meetings. Some of the widely used virtual worlds include ActiveWorlds, Club Penguin, EGO, Entropia Universe, Habbo, RuneScape, and Second Life. III. Radio Frequency Identification: An Overview A radio frequency identification (RFID) tag is a small electronic device consisting of a microchip and an antenna. This device performs the same task as bar codes, universal product codes (UPCs), and magnetic strips on credit and debit cards: It provides a unique identification for the card or the object carrying the tag. Unlike bar codes and other systems, RFID devices do not have to be in contact with the scanner to be read. There are two types of RFID tags: passive and active. Passive RFID tags have no internal power supply, so they can be very small. Typically, they absorb the signal from the receiver device, convert this signal into energy, and use this energy to respond to the receiver. Active RFID tags have an internal power source and are usually more reliable than passive tags and can broadcast signals over a much wider range. These tags can also be embedded in a sticker or under the skin (human or animal). Despite RFID’s advantages, there are some technical problems and some privacy and security issues. On the technical level, signals from multiple readers can overlap, signals can be jammed or disrupted, and the tags are difficult to remove. Privacy and security issues include being able to read a tag’s contents after an item has left the store, tags being read without the customer’s knowledge, and tags with unique serial numbers being linked to credit card numbers. A. RFID Applications RFID devices have been used by many organizations in the public and private sectors, including Walmart, the U.S. Department of Defense, Toyota, and The Gap. The five major categories of some common applications of RFID are: tracking and identification, payment and stored-value systems, access control, anticounterfeiting, and health care. IV. Quick Response Codes A QR (quick response) code is a matrix barcode consisting of black modules arranged in a square pattern on a white background. It offers a larger storage capacity compared to standard UPC barcodes. Compared to conventional bar codes, QR codes have the following features: High storage capacity Small printout size Dirt and dust resistance Readable from any direction Compatible with the Japanese character set QR codes can be read by smartphones that are equipped with cameras. The scanner app must first be downloaded to the smartphone in order for the camera to be able to read the QR code. This eliminates the need for bulky handheld scanners, which is one of the reasons for the QR code’s growing popularity over bar codes and RFID tags. V. Biometrics: A Second Look Since September 11, 2001, biometrics have become more widespread in forensics and related law enforcement fields, such as criminal identification, prison security, and airport security. Because biometrics offer a high degree of accuracy that is not possible with other security measures, they have the potential to be used in many civilian fields, too. Here are some current and future applications of biometrics: ATM, credit, and debit cards Network and computer login security Web page security Voting Employee time clocks Member identification in sport clubs Airport security and fast check-in Passports and highly secured government ID cards Sporting events Cell phones and smart cards VI. Trends in Networking A. Wi-Fi Wireless Fidelity (Wi-Fi) is a broadband wireless technology that allows computers and other devices to communicate over a wireless signal. Wi-Fi connections are easy to set up, they have fast data transfer rates, and they offer mobility and flexibility. However, they are susceptible to interference from other devices and to being intercepted, which raises security concerns. In addition, there is a lack of support for high-quality media streaming. B. WiMAX Worldwide Interoperability for Microwave Access (WiMAX) is a broadband wireless technology based on the IEEE 802.16 standards. It is designed for wireless metropolitan area networks and usually has a range of about 30 miles for fixed stations and 3–10 miles for mobile stations. Compared with Wi-Fi, WiMAX theoretically has faster data transfer rates and a longer range. In addition, it is fast and easy to install and enables devices using the same frequency to communicate. Disadvantages of WiMAX include interference from other wireless devices, high costs, and interruptions from weather conditions, such as rain. This technology also requires a lot of power; and when bandwidth is shared among users, transmission speed decreases. C. Bluetooth Bluetooth is a wireless technology that allows fixed and mobile devices to transfer data over short distances (usually within 30 feet). It can also be used to create a personal area network (PAN) for communication among computerized devices, including telephones, PDAs, and game consoles. Bluetooth uses a radio technology called Frequency Hopping Spread Spectrum (FHSS), which separates data into chunks and transmits each chunk on a different frequency, if needed. Unlike infrared devices, Bluetooth has no line-of-sight limitations. Similar to other wireless devices, its susceptibility to interception is a security concern. Bluetooth can also be used in the following ways: Video game consoles, such as Nintendo and Sony PlayStation, can use it in their wireless controllers. Companies can use it to send short advertisements to Bluetooth-enabled devices. A wireless device, such as a mouse, keyboard, printer, or scanner, can be connected via Bluetooth. Computers that are close together can network via Bluetooth. Contact information, to-do lists, appointments, and reminders can be transferred wirelessly between devices with Bluetooth and OBject Exchange (OBEX), a communication protocol for transmitting binary data. D. Grid Computing Generally, grid computing involves combining the processing powers of various computers. With this configuration, users can make use of other computers’ resources to solve problems involving large-scale, complex calculations, such as circuit analysis or mechanical design—problems that a single computer is not capable of solving in a timely manner. Each participant in a grid is referred to as a “node.” Cost saving is a major advantage of grid computing because companies do not have to purchase additional equipment. In addition, processing on overused nodes can be switched to idle servers and even desktop systems. Grid computing has already been used in bioinformatics, oil and gas drilling, and financial applications. Other advantages of grid computing include: improved reliability, parallel processing, and scalability. Grid computing does have some drawbacks. Some applications cannot be spread among nodes, so they are not suitable for grid computing, and applications requiring extensive memory that a single node cannot provide cannot be used on a grid. In addition, licensing agreements can be challenging, and synchronizing operations in several different network domains can be difficult and require sophisticated network management tools. Finally, some organizations are resistant to sharing resources, even if doing so benefits them. E. Utility (On-Demand) Computing Utility (on-demand) computing is the provision of IT services on demand. Users pay for computing or storage resources on an as-needed basis, similar to the way one pays for utilities such as heat and water. Convenience and cost savings are two main advantages of utility computing, but this service does have drawbacks in the areas of privacy and security. Because the service is outside the company’s location, theft or corruption of data is a concern. Universities and research centers take advantage of utility computing to run complex programs for which they do not have the necessary resources. Sun Microsystems (now a part of Oracle) and IBM offer this service in the form of storage and virtual servers. Other companies offer virtual data centers that allow users to combine memory, storage, and computing capabilities—Liquid Computing’s LiquidIQ, for example. F. Cloud Computing Cloud computing incorporates, under one platform, many recent technologies, including the SaaS model, Web 2.0, grid computing, and utility computing; hence, a variety of resources can be provided to users over the Internet. Business applications are accessed via a Web browser, and data is stored on the providers’ servers. Nearly all tech vendors are involved in cloud computing. Generally, cloud computing includes components in the form of infrastructure as a service (IaaS), platform as a service (PaaS), and software as a service (SaaS). Infrastructure as a service (IaaS), also called hardware as a service (HaaS), is a type of cloud computing whereby computer infrastructure (such as storage, hardware, servers, and networking components) are delivered as a service. This model is particularly popular in data centers where the infrastructure is used as an outsourced service and the center is billed only on usage and how much of the service is used. Platform as a service (PaaS) provides a computing platform and a solution as a service. Clients use the platform and environment to build applications and services over the internet. PaaS automates the configuration, deployment, and ongoing management of applications in the cloud. Cloud computing has many of the advantages and disadvantages of distributed computing. With this platform, users can request services, applications, and storage. For small and medium businesses, it means they do not have to invest in expensive equipment to compete effectively with large companies and can concentrate on the services and products they provide. Cloud computing services typically require a fee, although some are free. Public, Private, Hybrid, and Community Clouds: Which One to Choose There are four options when using cloud computing: public, private, hybrid, and community clouds. With a public cloud, users connect with an off-site infrastructure over the Internet. It is more suitable for organizations that need scalability (the ability to add or drop resources), do collaborative projects over the Web, and/or offer standard applications over the Web, such as e-mail. In a private cloud, the services and the infrastructure are run on a private network. Because a participating organization purchases and maintains the software and infrastructure itself, this option offers less cost savings than a public cloud. It is recommended for organizations that operate on highly secure data. Some providers of public cloud services offer private versions of their public clouds. Also, some providers of private cloud services offer public versions of their private cloud. A private cloud achieves cost savings by integrating fragmented infrastructures, automating common data center tasks, and providing financial accuracy and responsibility. Organizations that operate on both private and public data may choose a hybrid cloud. This is a collection of at least one private and at least one public cloud. A hybrid cloud allows an organization to take advantage of the scalability and cost-effectiveness that a public cloud computing environment offers without exposing mission-critical applications and data to the outside world. With the community option, the cloud infrastructure is designed for exclusive use by a specific community of users from organizations that share common concerns (e.g., security requirements, policy, mission, and compliance considerations). This infrastructure may be owned, managed, and operated by one or more of the organizations in the community, a third party, or some combination; and the infrastructure may exist on or off premises. With this alternative, the costs are spread over fewer users than with a public cloud (but more than with a private cloud) to realize its full cost-saving potential. Cloud Computing Security Most experts believe that security is a concern when using a cloud computing platform, and users play an important role in its success. In a cloud computing environment, there are two types of security issues: client (the user) side and server (the provider) side. The organization using the cloud services does not have much control over the server-side security issues; the provider is responsible for server-side security issues. However, the client-side security is the responsibility of the organization using the cloud services. Gartner, an analyst firm, has identified seven cloud-computing security risks: privileged user access, regulatory compliance, data location, data segregation, recovery, investigative support, and long-term viability. Before choosing one, an organization must make sure a cloud provider has a clear policy regarding these security risks and has indicated in writing how it will deal with each of them. Additionally, some level of trust between the provider and the user is needed. Without it, using cloud computing becomes a risky venture. VII. Nanotechnology Nanotechnology incorporates techniques that involve the structure and composition of materials on a nanoscale. Nanotechnology is also being developed to make computers much faster and smaller, with more memory. However, nanotechnology is currently too expensive to justify its use in many applications. Further research and development should reduce its cost in the future. In the field of information systems, the current technology for miniaturizing transistors and other microprocessor components might reach its limit in the next decade, so new technologies, including nanotechnology, will be necessary. Nanotechnology might also play a role in the following areas: Energy (reduction of energy consumption, increase in the efficiency of energy production, more environmentally friendly energy systems) Information and communication (larger and faster storage devices, faster and cheaper computers, display monitors with low energy consumption) Heavy industry (aerospace, construction, refineries, vehicle manufacturing) Some consumer goods incorporating nanotechnology are already on the market. They use what is called “nanomaterials.” Nanomaterials have been added to sports gear, such as tennis and golf balls and tennis rackets, to make them more durable and improve their responsiveness; tennis balls incorporating nanomaterials bounce better. In addition, IBM has developed the scanning tunneling microscope (STM), which is capable of imaging atoms and incorporating nanomaterial layers into hard disk recording heads and magnetic disk coatings. This technology might also improve electronic circuits and data storage devices. Key Terms With pull technology, a user states a need before getting information, as when a URL is entered in a Web browser so the user can go to a certain Web site. (P. 297) With push technology, also known as “webcasting,” a Web server delivers information to users (who have signed up for this service) instead of waiting for users to request the information be sent to them. (P. 297) Application service providers (ASPs) provide access to software or services for a fee. (P. 298) Software as a service (SaaS), also known as “on-demand software,” is a model for ASPs to deliver software to users for a fee; the software is for temporary or long-term use. (P. 298) Virtual reality (VR) uses computer-generated, three-dimensional images to create the illusion of interaction in a real-world environment. (P. 299) In an egocentric environment, the user is totally immersed in the VR world. (P. 300) In an exocentric environment, the user is given a “window view.” Data is still rendered in 3D, but users can only view it on screen. They cannot interact with objects, as in an egocentric environment. (P. 301) A cave automatic virtual environment (CAVE) is a virtual environment consisting of a cube-shaped room in which the walls are rear-projection screens. CAVEs are holographic devices that create, capture, and display images in true 3D form. (P. 301) A virtual world is a simulated environment designed for users to interact with one another via avatars. (P. 304) An avatar is a 2D or 3D graphical representation of a person in the virtual world, used in chat rooms and online games. (P. 304) A radio frequency identification (RFID) tag is a small electronic device consisting of a small chip and an antenna. This device provides a unique identification for the card or the object carrying the tag. (P. 305) A QR (quick response) code is a matrix barcode consisting of black modules arranged in a square pattern on a white background. (P. 306) Wireless Fidelity (Wi-Fi) is a broadband wireless technology. Information can be transmitted over short distances—typically 120 feet indoors and 300 feet outdoors—in the form of radio waves. (P. 309) Worldwide Interoperability for Microwave Access (WiMAX) is a broadband wireless technology based on the IEEE 802.16 standards. It is designed for wireless metropolitan area networks and usually has a range of about 30 miles for fixed stations and 3–10 miles for mobile stations. (P. 309) Bluetooth, which can be used to create a personal area network (PAN), is a wireless technology for transferring data over short distances (usually within 30 feet) for fixed and mobile devices. (P. 309) Grid computing involves combining the processing powers of various computers. With this configuration, users can make use of other computers’ resources to solve problems involving large-scale, complex calculations, such as circuit analysis or mechanical design—problems that a single computer is not capable of solving in a timely manner. (P. 310) Utility (on-demand) computing is the provision of IT services on demand. Users pay for computing or storage resources on an as-needed basis, similar to the way one pays for utilities such as heat and water. (P. 311) Cloud computing incorporates, under one platform, many recent technologies, including the SaaS model, Web 2.0, grid computing, and utility computing; hence, a variety of resources can be provided to users over the Internet. Business applications are accessed via a Web browser, and data is stored on the providers’ servers. (P. 311) Infrastructure as a service (IaaS), also called hardware as a service (HaaS), is a type of cloud computing whereby computer infrastructure (such as storage, hardware, servers, and networking components) are delivered as a service. (P. 312) Platform as a service (PaaS) provides a computing platform and a solution as a service. Clients use the platform and environment to build applications and services over the internet. (P. 312) Nanotechnology incorporates techniques that involve the structure and composition of materials on a nanoscale. (P. 314) Instructor Manual for MIS Hossein Bidgoli 9781305632004, 9781337625999, 9781337625982, 9781337406925

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