Authentication could be good for business

22 Jan 2008

While regarded as an affront to liberty by some, a move to online authentication could be good for business and for users, bolstering consumer confidence in e-commerce and transactional websites, the latest Deloitte technology, media and telecoms report suggests.

The Deloitte report forecasts that in 2008 online traders will require increased online authenticity.

It also forecasts that the reluctance of consumers to spend money on digital downloads will mean the industry will look at ways of making music more tangible.

Deloitte also predicts the number of mobile devices that incorporate Global Positioning System (GPS) technology will grow rapidly.

“The technology, media and telecommunications sectors are challenging environments with constantly shifting dynamics for business and consumers to consider,” Tom Cassin, technology, media and telecoms partner at Deloitte, explains.

“Digital technologies will continue to have a profound impact on people’s everyday lives, and on business. How companies choose to create, distribute and charge for products, content and services will be critical for delivering sustained revenue growth,” Cassin warned.

Deloitte predicts that in 2008, PC owners will spend more money on virus protection, online backup and insurance over the lifetime of the computer than the original outlay for the PC. It predicts this trend will extend beyond the PC to other devices, including MP3 players, mobile phones and hard drives.

It says that in 2008, there may be an increasing clamour from regulators, users and online traders for the internet to require people to provide authenticated identity every time they make any transaction via the Web.

Despite the perception by some that the development could be an infringement of personal liberty, this move to online authentication may ultimately be good news for business and for users, for example, bolstering consumer confidence in e-commerce, online auctions, internet chat rooms and other transactional websites should help sustain growth, suppressing fears about the growing volume of online fraud or other malign behaviour.

Deloitte predicts the digital divide afflicting users of technology will become deeper than ever in 2008. This division affects people who own or need to use digital data, but are unable to access it. This digital divide is most vexing when the existence of multiple standards for a particular type of file limits the utility of current computing systems.

“Across the technology and media industries, there has always been a tension between the desire of companies to own proprietary solutions, and the desire of individuals and corporations for established and robust standards,” Deloitte said.

“In the realm of data storage, this tension is likely to become increasingly apparent during 2008, and dealing with it in a manner that satisfies the needs of both groups is likely to become a substantial challenge.”

By John Kennedy