It’s here: The ultimate office tech wishlist for 2018

December 18, 20175 Minute Read

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The holidays are all about giving—and we know hopeful IT pros are wishing some of those shiny wrapped parcels and packages are filled with the latest office tech. Business tech trends have revealed an array of innovative goodies, some of which can even boost the efficiency of workflows in your office. It’s the most wonderful time of year, indeed!

But in an age where cybersecurity risk is a haunting nightmare that never quite goes away—even during the holidays—many IT employees have one thing at the very top of their list for 2018: tech solutions that will effectively defend their IT environments, allowing them to sleep better at night.

If you’re making your wishlist, we don’t want you to miss out on adding a few of these items to it. We’ll even throw in some hints about how you can make the case to your CFO to make the investment. Cheers!

1. Virtual reality gaming gear

Over the course of 2017, virtual reality (VR) made huge strides—both in its technology and its application in the workplace. Some proactive adopters have dived into VR to reduce concept-to-production cycle times, improve training procedures, and deliver fully immersive customer experiences. This technology is changing the way everyone is doing business, and if your IT department wants to lead the charge of innovation in this area, you’ll want to make sure the latest VR tech is on your wishlist.

Even if this type of technology is too far out of reach for your IT budget at work, it’s hard to resist the hype of VR at home. If you’re into gaming, you’ll definitely want to put a new gaming laptop or desktop at the top of your list. With a machine that can unequivocally deliver the top-notch performance needed to support VR or mixed reality headsets, you’ll find yourself lost and fully immersed in a new gaming dimension you’ve never experienced before.

2. 3D for everyday objects

In the last few years of business tech trends, we’ve seen a cottage industry spring up around 3D-printed objects. From fun to functional, you’ll find everything from Adidas footwear and snowflakes and stars to tools like those pressed into duty on the International Space Station and even cars.

While it’s great to think the only limit is imagination, IT pros can probably come up with a laundry list of items to 3D print in the office. Some printers can rapidly manufacture small electronic parts, for example, which could be a boon when something breaks. And entire office cubicles can be produced via a printer. Your CFO should be delighted to hear that a machine the size of a washing machine can produce productivity in the form of quick fixes and walled quiet zones in a snap.

3. Seamless streaming

Got your head in the cloud? You may be wondering what to do come March 2018 if you’re among some 3 million subscribers to G Suite’s Google Drive for desktop. While Drive itself isn’t going away, you won’t be able to store and sync files from desktops any longer. The alternative to consider is cloud file streaming with Drive File Stream.

Making the case to adopt this tech may be as simple as presenting the startling facts that laptop theft happens about every 53 seconds—and more than 4 percent of employer-issued mobile devices are lost or stolen annually. As Tektonika’s Jasmine Gordon suggests, “Think of file streaming as insurance against the truism that people are at least sometimes irresponsible with their office technology.”

4. Smart, secure copiers and printers

Every workplace has them, but these office tech workhorses are taken for granted across the board. Without the right equipment, though, your business is vulnerable to downtime and security threats. Multifunction copiers and secure printers perform well beyond their basic duties while keeping your network safe.

Does your CFO need convincing? Tell them their investment will help get that paper in a way that saves you big—both in terms of money and peace of mind. In a Black Hat conference briefing, HP Security Advisor Dr. Kimberlee Brannock said that selecting hardware, software, and connected devices with built-in security features—like advanced threat detection and self-healing capability—can reduce risk. Aren’t financial professionals all about mitigating risk?

5. Intelligent apps

Research from Gartner suggests that every application and service moving forward will incorporate AI at some level. Just look at how Alexa, Cortana, Siri, Google, and other virtual personal assistants have become the go-to help with a variety of tasks from reading books to paying bills or ordering a pizza. Tapping that potential in the office can have a big impact on productivity—like sifting through email or scheduling meetings—without replacing people.

David Cearley, vice president and Gartner Fellow, makes a case for incorporating more of these into enterprise networks and workflows. Cearley believes augmented analytics that use machine learning for automating data preparation, insight discovery, and insight sharing will grow in the coming year and prove useful for a broad range of workers.

6. Facial recognition

Apple’s iPhone X is on the cutting edge of using this technology for secure access to devices, while Huawei is nipping at its heels by incorporating infrared to make 3D maps of a human face. Although it’s still not widely available, the implications for this tech are far-reaching, especially in a work environment.

Speed and accuracy of facial recognition can boost the security of mobile payments, for example, not to mention simply signing in to internal networks and hardware. It’s never too early to start making a case to your CFO for this added level of security. HP’s Chief Security Advisor Michael Howard noted at the 2017 Black Hat conference that at least 70 percent of today’s successful data breaches originate from endpoints, such as routers or printers, that aren’t secured and therefore vulnerable to hackers.

If you’re looking for devices that can make a big impact on your office, these recommendations are a great place to start. Let’s not forget that the best “gifts” are not only ones you use on a regular basis, but those that take a little extra work off your plate and help you sleep better at night. What’s at the top of your list?

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