Here Come Smartphone Barcodes…And Other Small Business Tech News This Week

(This post originally appeared on Forbes)

Here are five things in technology that happened this past week and how they affect your business. Did you miss them?

1 — Barclays will be bringing a barcode reader to your smartphone soon.

The British bank’s Barclaycard division is testing out a “Grab+Go” app that will eliminate the need to wait in long lines at the store by turning the user’s smartphone camera into a barcode reader. This “pocket checkout” works by having the shopper scan each item being purchased and then checking out via the smartphone app. (Source: Engadget)

Why this is important for your business:

Barclaycard believes the app will “work best in independent shops and smaller convenient stores – the kind of places customers dive in to for just a few items.” Look for this technology to make its way here very soon, adding convenience and speed for your customers.

2 — Facial recognition technology is coming to air travel and home security.

Rather than having passengers present physical documents to get on board their flight, Delta Air Lines and JetBlue are planning to use fingerprints, irises or even faces to work as ID. In other news, security company Nest has unveiled its new Nest Cam IQ with a subscription service that includes facial recognition learning to identify people, so users can easily tell if the person at the door is a child home from school or a pesky solicitor. (Sources: Bloomberg and Forbes)

Why this is important for your business:

Facial recognition technology is becoming more widely used and affordable. Continuing enhancements will improve your company’s security and may offer new ways for customers to use your products.

3 — A software company wants to help you build a VR or AR app for your small business.

Appy Pie’s easy-to-use platform has an Augmented Reality option that features “image recognition and tracking that gives app users the ability to scan and recognize everyday real-world objects, track positions, and augment the display of the object.” In addition, the Virtual Reality option “provides users with panoramic and 360 videos for real-world experiences in a virtual world.” (Source: VentureBeat)

Why this is important for your business:

The platform promises to allow you “…to create VR and AR apps that let you promote 360-degree still images, 360-degree video, and AR solutions.” Abhinav Girdhar, CEO of Appy Pie, said, “To garner interest and enhance customer experience, it is crucial for small to medium-sized businesses and startups to take action with the various types of technology that are out there.” Is your company ready to take the plunge?

4 — Google can now return your personal information in its search results.

The tech giant has a new way for users to easily search their Gmail, Google Photos and Google Calendar by choosing the “Personal” tab under the search results box while on Google Chrome. The image search also uses “Google’s deep learning expertise” to find pictures of a person’s dog, for example, if the search query is for “dogs.” (Source: Forbes)

Why this is important for your business:

Image, calendar and email searching will continue to evolve, and you’ll be able to use these tools to enable faster searching of data on your internal systems – as well as enabling your website visitors to find the information they need from you faster.

5 — Tattoos that change color could help you keep track of your health…and other things.

Researchers at MIT and Harvard Medical School have collaborated on a project called DermalAbyss that looks at how tattoos inked with biosensors can convey real-time data about people’s bodies. Katia Vega, the MIT Media Lab researcher in charge of the project, has “created three different types of biosensor inks that measure the shifts in interstitial fluid in your skin, changing color based on the levels of glucose, sodium, or pH in your body.” (Source: Fast Company)

Why this is important for your business:

Vega believes one way this technology would be useful is for diabetic patients who need to monitor their glucose levels but would prefer not having multiple finger-prick tests every day. This would definitely be beneficial for businesses that provide healthcare services.