CES 2021 wrapped up its virtual trade show this week. The ongoing COVID-19 pandemic meant that attendees had to settle for virtual booths, video demos, and live-streamed press conferences instead of in-person events in Las Vegas, Nevada, where the conference was originally scheduled to take place.
Fitting then that this year’s event was heavy on tech aimed at fighting back against a virus that has infected more than 92 million people globally and killed more than 2 million. Among this year’s new gadgets were a mask with integrated microphone and ear buds, the pocket-sized Bio-Button symptom-monitoring system, and robots that emit UV light to disinfect surfaces.
COVID-19 has not only transformed the way people think about the spread of disease. It has created a need for new technology to support hybrid or fully remote working environments. And Lenovo vice president of commercial business, Christian Teisman hopes to capitalize.
Remote Work Requires Transportability
In a recent interview, Teisman said Lenovo devices launched at this year’s CES event were intended to be easy to use wherever the user happened to be working. The company launched a new ThinkPad detachable device, the X12. It features a detachable 12.3-inch tablet, stylus, and folio keyboard to transform into a laptop.
Lenovo also unveiled its new ThinkReality A3 smart glasses. The glasses come in two varieties: a PC version and an industrial edition designed for labs and factory floors. The A3 glasses allow users to create a customizable and secure virtual monitor experience. Teisman said the company’s new products will help make work more transferable from device to device.
Lenovo’s focus on remote work coincides with a trend in hybrid and remote work that predated the pandemic but that has since been bolstered by it. In late 2020, Gallup Poll sampled attitudes among full- and part-time employees about remote work. The study, conducted between September 14-27, 2020, had a number of interesting takeaways.
Some 33 percent of workers said they always work remotely, while 25 percent said they sometimes do, and 41 percent said they never do. While 55 percent said they’re not worried about exposure to COVID-19 at work, nearly two-thirds of workers said they want to continue working remotely.
Protecting Data in Remote Work Environments
Hybrid or fully remote work spaces create new challenges for data and network security. When shelter in place orders went into effect in March last year, many companies were caught off guard. Security infrastructure had not been set up to accommodate such a large remote workforce.
Among the many issues that IT departments faced were:
- Setting policy for the use of personal devices for work purpose
- Requiring remote employees to use VPNs to access company server
- Avoiding the use of public Wi-Fi networks for remote work
- Hardening security of home internet routers and passwords
- Establishing two-factor authentication
- Ensuring that remote workers properly back up their work
- Providing effective antivirus protection to remote workers
Whatever the future holds with respect to COVID-19, it seems likely that remote work, or at least hybrid work, is here to stay. This means that new technology will need to facilitate mobile work environments. It also means that data security will need to be just as portable.
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