Over the previous three years at ILTA, one of the most popular sessions has been “What's That? New and Cool Technologies”. This year was no different. A capacity crowd of legal technologists listened to the witty foursome of Jeffrey Brandt of PinHawk LLC, Mark Manoukian of Kegler, Brown, Hill & Ritter, Beau Mersereau of Fish & Richardson P.C., and Ben Weinberger with Phoenix Business Solutions. The cast injected levity into their dialog about predictions of where technology is headed.
They focused on several areas: Windows 8, Wearable Technology, Enterprise Content Management (ECM), Digital Currencies, and The Internet of Things (IoT).
The panel mentioned that Windows 8 is lightning fast. The difference between Windows 8 and 8.1 is that in the latter, a start button was added which is key for most users. Previously people had to hunt out where to begin and it was less intuitive. The other key takeaway, many firms have not implemented Windows 8 for a singular reason, many vendors do not support IE11 which comes standard on the OS.
The group cited many examples of how wearable technology will start creeping into law firms. Ben Weinberger stated that “The NFC ring could be used to unlock doors, mobile phones, transfer information and link people.” This could be a nonintrusive way to acclimate users to this sort of technology. It is easy and subtle. Others weighed in with current examples. Disney World uses Magic Bands worn by park goers. They are easily able to tap down for food, gift shop purchases, and unlocking their hotel room door. The goal with wearable said Jeffrey Brandt, is that the form will be small and help establish convergence.
Enterprise Content Management (ECM):
In a statement that seemed to shock the audience, several panelists stated that they thought law firms were on the cutting edge of ECM. Where firms are typically more conservative to adopt new technology, this is an area firms have a precise focus on organizing data into scalable structural components.
The panel was definitely split on this topic. Some saw the true value of having an unregulated currency while others bluntly said this was a disaster without government control. Bitcoin dominated the discussion as the crypto-currency of choice, but Mark Manoukian mentioned a new coin called Ripples which has the endorsement of MIT. Ultimately the panel suggested that some sort of regulation would be important for true adoption.
Internet of Things (IoT):
The Internet of Things is very popular these days. It is essentially applying an IP address to almost everything, e.g. each light at your home, doors, and appliances. The panel saw a great deal of opportunity here and mentioned law firm books as a great way to incorporate this type of technology. They spoke about placing RFID chips in books to keep track of inventories.
The fast paced discussion covered a wonderful array of topics that may have a major impact on the law firm of the future. The wearable technology discussion specifically referring to the NFC ring, seemed to strike a chord with most as something very plausible in the near future. Lastly, it does appear that ECM will continue to evolve within the firm to become more seamless and search dynamic.