Digital paper and ink, touch-screen technology, social media and IT security headlined the opening session at Tech+ 2009, the AICPA Information Technology Conference here.

High-profile consultants David Cieslak and Randy Johnston gave more than 350 attendees an overview of both emerging and ongoing developments in hardware, software and critical technology issues.

Cieslak, principal of Arxis Technology, a Simi Valley, Calif.-based consultancy, reviewed the AICPA's annual compilation of Top 10 Technologies. The now 20-year-old undertaking ranked information security management as the No. 1 priority and concern among users for the seventh consecutive year. As evidence that IT security remains a crucial issue, he pointed out that five of this year's Tech+ sessions address the subject.

In his opening-day keynote on current tech trends, Johnston, of Network Management Group and K2 Enterprises, advised attendees to capitalize on the soaring rate of social media adoption and revealed the results of a study that showed the fastest-growing subscription demographic for Facebook is the 65 and older group, while 10 percent of all Internet traffic in January stemmed from Facebook.

“This is still like the Gold Rush,” he said. “You need to stake your claims [on social media] before the claims run out.” He advised attendees to take out both personal and business pages, and combine their social media outlets with Twitter, Facebook, Plaxo, LinkedIn and YouTube, and have RSS feeds.

He also pointed out the rise in e-reading technologies such as the Amazon Kindle, Sony Reader, and Ectaco JetBook, in the wake of a decline in newspapers, as many are folding or going to all-electronic editions. Universities such as Princeton, Yale and Oxford are creating textbooks for the Kindle, while newspapers like The Wall Street Journal and USA Today are available on e-readers.

That has given rise to digital paper like the Readius rolling display, and bichromal technology like the Gyricon, which uses transparent plastic sheets that can be re-used, Johnston noted.

Touch-screen technology, meanwhile, “is not quite ready for primetime, but it’s getting close,” said Johnston. “It might very well be the next big thing."


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