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Technology Buzzwords

Strategically Speaking
Feb 19, 2014

Author: Eric Wilson,

There’s no debate that technology is drastically impacting the financial services industry and our daily lives.  As new products and technologies emerge, along with them comes new terminology.  Here are a few buzzwords you are likely to hear a lot more of in the future and why they matter.

Responsive Web Design

Applications that become heavily adopted are usually the ones that have a great user interface design.  When everything is the right size and in the right place, using a well-designed application can be a pleasant and seamless experience.  Really good software designers and engineers know this and tend to be highly skilled at making the most logical use of available space. 

Interior designers use a similar approach with a technique called “space planning”.  If you have a floor plan with dimensions, you can design a room before ever actually seeing the place. 

A fine strategy…until the dimensions change!  When you move to a house with a new layout, your design will be different.  

The same problem can occur when trying to use a software application across devices ofResponsive Web Design various screen sizes.  What may work great on a 17” desktop monitor with a keyboard and mouse can be ineffective to use on a 4” smartphone with a touch screen.   

Responsive web design will help move web based products toward a device agnostic culture.  The concept is for the application to “respond” based on the user’s equipment in order to provide a high quality experience on all devices.

It accomplishes this through flexible layouts, images, and grids that intelligently adapt to a user’s environment.  As you view the product on different devices (or flip them on their side!), the screen layout may change in ways that are more appropriate for the device you are using. 

In the future, many web applications are likely to shift towards a responsive design approach.  Since web design is as much of an art as it is science, how well it responds to different devices will be a huge part of a product’s adoption rate.  Consider this when looking at cross-device compatible products for you and your customers.

Internet of Things (IOT)

The number of physical objects connecting to the internet is expanding at an extremely rapid rate.  It is estimated that there will be 26 billion “things” connected to the internet in 2020.  We are talking about much more than PC’s, tablets, and smartphones.  These devices can be anything from thermostats, appliances, health monitors, or anything else that has an on/off switch. 

When you add the internet into the equation, the physical objects around us can transmit data related to their function and even work collaboratively with other devices.  Here are some examples of how internet connected objects are already being put into action in an attempt to improve the overall quality of life. 

  • Sensors are being used to provide information on the source and freshness of food. 
  • Advanced detection systems have been created to alert or notify potential natural disasters of emergencies. 
  • Thermostats and other household devices can be controlled and monitored remotely.

Coordinated devices working together (often without human input) can impact everything we do. The opportunities for innovation are endless. 

Regardless of how you feel about it, the Internet of Things seems headed to our front door, and it’s likely to have a big impact on everything.

Data Science (especially with Big Data)

The amount of data being stored in the world today is so large we will need more words added to the English language just to quantify it!  Stored data is now into the zettabytes. (In case you are interested, the order goes gigabyte, terabyte, petabyte, exabyte and zettabyte.)  There’s only one numbering value left (yottabyte) before we will need new words to describe the size of all that information.

Almost all industries are realizing that there is huge potential in data.  According to the McKinsey & Company:

“Big Data is the biggest game changing opportunity for marketing and sales since the internet was invented almost 20 years ago”. 

If you work in the financial services industry, you probably already see data analytics in action assisting executives and risk management professionals with risk mitigation and regulatory compliance. 

Data science incorporates mathematics, models, and other techniques to extract knowledge from data (especially “Big Data”).  As data pools continue to grow and sources of data are combined, good tools to help people analyze all that data will become increasingly essential.

Maybe you’re already using one or all of the technologies I described, or these buzzwords were common knowledge to you.  If so, please share your experience – we’d love to hear from you. 

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