relating to increased system security and trustworthiness, including access control and authentication. The need to determine and verify the user of a computer system or network is becoming increasingly important as a way of preserving system and data integrity, ensuring that sensitive data and systems are accessed only by those who are authorized, and ensuring the highest levels of system availability. These concerns affect both intra-enterprise and inter-enterprise communications.10 The manufacturing environment, especially the factory environment, calls for economical and robust technology to address these needs.
Finally, as manufacturing tools become more autonomous, it becomes imperative to ensure the correctness of controlling software, as control software with errors may be a major contributor to factory downtime due to physical damage.
The trend toward organizing workers of all kinds into teams with significant levels of decision-making authority gives rise to a need for technology to support collaborative activity.11 For example, intelligent systems are needed to support collaborative efforts in the design of complex products; they can also facilitate collaboration among factory and other, nonproduction personnel. Research needs include information technology to support empowered work teams of various kinds of personnel and tools for total quality management.
Research relating to technical tools for computer-supported cooperative work (including software, user interfaces, and supporting hardware) should be complemented by research examining relevant aspects of human behavior, education and training requirements, and other similar issues, to ensure both that optimal tools are developed and that they can be used easily.
10 Electronic contract documents and order qualifications, which are envisaged as part of our future enterprises, will require methods for identification, authentication, and non-repudiation.
11 Aside from the emerging, largely message-based groupware products, today's tools are aimed at supporting individual professional performers rather than collaborating teams.