It’s a chilly, overcast winter day in Seattle. Freezing rain drizzles from trademark gray skies, pattering gently against the glass windows of a local coffee shop. Sitting alone at a dimly lit table, Mia takes one last sip of espresso from a worn, chipped mug before donning her glasses and jacking into a Virtual Security Dock (VSD).
Mia – a white hat bounty hacker – scans the interactive dock for job postings, eyeing a lucrative intrusion detection and prevention system (IDPS) challenge before selecting a pair of tablet-based side channel attack analyses.
Seconds later, she is poring over a torrential river of raw data, probing for potentially critical vulnerabilities to a wide variety of attacks, including timing, electromagnetic, acoustic cryptanalysis and differential fault analysis.
Struggling to make sense of the information overload, Mia enables VSD’s enhanced visualization mode. Disparate streams of data coalesce into coherent patterns, allowing the digital bounty hunter to identify several possible weaknesses along a relatively robust security perimeter.
Sounds like science fiction? Well, a future dominated by advanced VR tech may be closer than it appears. Indeed, Gartner research director Brian Blau recently confirmed that interest in head-mounted displays, which power virtual reality (VR), augmented reality (AR) and other smartglass apps, is set to increase significantly.
To be sure, the technology behind HMDs will be used in a variety of consumer and business scenarios by 2018.
“HMDs [were] more popular in 2014 than at any point in the past. Prior to 2014, HMDs were mainly found in specialty applications, such as industrial design or military training and simulation, where HMD technology is well-developed,” Blau explained.
“However, even with a long history of HMD development, broad adoption in the consumer market has yet to take hold. That situation will change as soon as HMDs are offered as stylish, consumer-grade video eyeglasses. This will eventually drive adoption when paired with compelling virtual worlds and augmented real-world content.”
Eliott Jones, VP of User Experience at Rambus, echoes Wilson’s assessment.
“As with other technology and devices, the popularity of HMD amongst mainstream consumers will act as a catalyst for enterprise adoption. In particular, security researchers can be expected to benefit from a new way of visualizing and interacting with complex datasets,” said Jones.
“It is important to note that effectively extracting meaning from a vast amount of captured raw security-related data requires engaging a broader range of perceptual processing in the brain that goes beyond alpha-numeric information. In this case a highly visual and intuitive user interface (UI) enables the user to absorb information and process it with extreme cognitive efficiency. This combination of multi-sensory experience and an intuitive design creates an integrated, meaning driven – rather than information driven – analytic environment which serves to optimize a platform’s efficiency and ultimately helps define its competitive advantage.”
According to Jones, HMDs should be viewed in the context of the rapidly evolving Internet of Things (IoT). As we’ve previously discussed on Rambus Press, modern UI technologies for the IoT strive to engage the range of a user’s senses by incorporating evolved design principles that facilitate simple, more natural methods of interacting with the environment.
Specific examples, says Jones, include electric cars that can be programmed, monitored and controlled remotely via a simple mobile app; personalized home environments that are configured and regulated from any location; phone calls handed off seamlessly from one device to another as the user moves from the office to the car; and social, crowd-sourced driving experiences powered by real time traffic feedback.
Interested in learning more about the IoT and UX? You can check out some of our previous articles here, including “Making sense of Big Data in the age of the IoT” here, “Understanding the IoT’s evolving requirements” here, “Why intuitive interaction with visual data is critical for security” here and “The UX matters for the Internet of Things” here.