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1 billion smartphones projected to ship in 2013

Since the advent of Twitter, social media has revolutionized how businesses connect with clients.

As technology developers continue to expand the definition and scope of social media, businesses will increasingly turn to various platforms as a means of connecting their employees, analysts at Deloitte L.L.P. say.

The development and expansion of such platforms — what Deloitte’s Eric Openshaw calls enterprise social media — represents just one of the tech trends forecast in the Technology, Media and Telecommunications (TMT) Predictions 2013 report released by the consulting firm last month.

“If you’ve thought of the evolution of social media as a yardstick, we’re probably two or three inches into the yardstick in terms of figuring this thing out,” said Openshaw, vice chairman and leader of Deloitte’s U.S. technology, media and telecommunications practice. “We’ve got a ton of case-study work around very successful implementations of social networks to solve complex business problems.”

Openshaw said social networks can be utilized internally by companies to facilitate group projects, promote human resources initiatives and to streamline supply chain management, procurement and delivery processes.

The TMT Predictions report projects that more than 90 percent of all Fortune 500 companies will have selectively or fully implemented an enterprise social network by the end of 2013, which would represent a 70 percent increase over 2011.

“When you can get people to collaborate more completely, especially on complex problems, there is value to be extracted if those problems can be solved in less time,” he said. “You have opportunities to utilize social media both internally and externally to create very, very different participation models.”

As the use of social media and Web-based platforms expands, so too will the use of smartphones and tablet computers, according to the report.

Deloitte projects a record 1 billion-plus smartphones will be shipped worldwide in 2013, bringing the total smartphones in use to about 2 billion by the end of the year.

In two separate trends related to the expanded smartphone use, Openshaw said digital networks will continue to struggle to meet the demand for bandwidth and that companies will increasingly turn to more complex passwords and user authentication measures as network security is made more vulnerable by the volume of devices.

“We see in our research statistics that there’s no foreseeable dropoff or tapering off in the volume of data moving across networks, and it’s taxing network bandwidth,” Openshaw said.

The TMT Predictions report suggests that as many as 90 percent of all user-generated passwords are generic or predictable.

Openshaw said that will lead more businesses to use authentication tokens or even fingerprints or other biometric systems, to allow for more secure access for both consumers and employees.

“I think multiple-intersection, multiple-path security measures are not only things businesses will be thinking about and working on but also the consumers … will have to think about doing business with places that offer that proactively,” he said.

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Patrick Gallagher

Bio: Fairfield County Bureau Chief Staff Reporter Westchester County Business Journal Covers: Economy, energy, government, infrastructure and public works projects, law, media, technology Phone: (914) 694-3600, ext. 3017

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