It's time for another round-up of the most significant innovations happening in tech. Every now and then I like to call your attention to the advancements that could have a real impact on your business and the way you work. Here are four big developments I'm watching closely.
1. Chips that self-destruct
The massive Target security breach sent shockwaves through the retail industry. How do other companies prevent a similar situation? One answer is to make data harder to access. All software is stored somewhere, which is what makes a new research project at IBM even more interesting. Slated for use in military settings, the innovation has to do with chips that can self-destruct. (A glass substrate will break and the chips will self-destruct if they're zapped with a remote radio frequency.) In business, such a chip could wipe customer data if a breach occurs.
2. Laptops that run on solar power
Photovoltaic cell technology has improved recently to the point where solar power might be more viable. In fact, Apple just filed a patent for so-called Smart Glass, according to a Mashable report, that can change translucency to pump in more solar power. But other interesting things are happening in solar as well. Start-up Goal Zero is working on the Yeti 1250 Solar Generator that uses solar panels and can keep an entire refrigerator running for up to 24 hours.
3. Cars talking to each other
The U.S. Government recently announced plans to make car-to-car communication a requirement for automakers in the future. A recent trial in Michigan proved that accidents occur less frequently when cars can transmit their location to other cars. For business owners, there's an obvious implication: someone has to make the car sensors, handle the legal implications, resolve the insurance issues, make the apps, and lead the other innovations that will make it all happen for the 200 million drivers in the country.
4. Android on the desktop
One of the biggest surprises this year at the Consumer Electronics Show was an all-in-one touch computer from HP called the Slate 21 Pro. It runs a desktop version of Android with a handy row of icons at the bottom (think: the Mac OS launch bar) and extra security features to protect data. For startups, this offers an opportunity to develop apps for use in a business setting--not just those you'd use when traveling, but desktop apps for running a business securely.