One of the most frustrating things about the future is that there’s no surefire way to know what’s coming. You can put in the work to set yourself up for success, but who knows what can change in your life unexpectedly? There are typically two ways people attempt to predict the future: one comes from Abraham Lincoln in the saying “The best way to predict the future is to create it.” The other prediction method relies on stats and trends from the present. Often, these two methods go hand in hand.
Let’s take Digital Evidence for example. How can we possibly predict the future of a relatively new concept? Step one would be to craft technology starting now so that it can grow as you progress forward. Step two would be to take a look at industry trends to see how similar technology is performing today. These two steps are being taken by industry experts across the country to help predict the future of Digital Evidence and how it is managed. Let’s take a closer look and break down the predictions.
How is Digital Evidence being set up for success in the present?
If this blog were written a few years ago, the predictions we’d make would likely look very different. That is largely due to the fact that Digital Evidence is in use across America today, giving us tangible examples of successes and shortcomings. Digital Evidence is a hot-button topic at the moment, and constant growth is helping to shape the future of the industry.
- Technology is all around us: One thing we know for certain is technology is involved in nearly every aspect of our daily lives. Professionally, you likely have a laptop or computer for checking emails, communicating with your team, and attending virtual meetings. Off the clock, you have a smartphone, a personal laptop, maybe a tablet, or a smartwatch. Our homes are full of technology as well from smart devices to doorbell cameras to Wi-Fi and more. Even walking down the road involves technology in the form of doorbell or security systems, CCTV near businesses, fitness tracking, and more. We are accustomed to technology, and it’s made its way into just about every aspect of our lives.
- New file types are being accepted as evidence: With so much tech around us, it should come as no surprise that new file types and formats are being submitted as evidence in court. We have new digital formats at our disposal, and they’re being used as exhibits more and more often. If your home is broken into, you’ll call on your own security cameras as well as your neighbor’s to get the justice you deserve. If there’s a car accident, someone probably has it on dashcam footage to help prove who’s at fault. These new file types have thrown a wrench into the equation because the courts were not prepared for them. Playback in court was nearly impossible, management and storage was a nightmare, and sharing exhibits was a logistical headache. As new formats continue to make their way into evidence, it’s clear that we needed a reliable way to handle them.
- Digital evidence management systems are assisting in the transition: A digital evidence management system is the best way to organize all digital files in a centralized location. Across the nation, courts are introducing digital evidence management systems to make uploading, sharing, reviewing, and playing back files possible from nearly any device. Systems like Vault from ImageSoft go above and beyond to offer file normalization, mobile capabilities, 24/7 access, and secure in-platform notation. Vault is an all-in-one solution that makes it possible to store and organize various formats. Systems like Vault are making the transition from physical evidence locker to digital evidence database seamless. Thanks to simple integrations, user-friendly platforms, and government-level security, Vault helps courts feel confident in their ability to transition to a new tech-based evidence solution.
What are the trends and stats saying about the industry?
Most predictions surrounding work, technology, and emerging industries such as Justice are heavily influenced by current trends and statistics. If we’ve seen a steady increase over the past several years, it seems fair to assume that the upward trend will continue. Of course, it’s not a guarantee, but trends do give us a solid understanding of how something is being received. Many different trends and stats can be taken into account when predicting the future of digital evidence and its importance to the Justice System.
- There’s new technology being introduced and developed: Perhaps most notably, there has been a consistent trend of technology becoming more popular year over year. As devices and software are created to make life easier and more convenient, the public is eager to adopt them. This is not limited to a specific industry by any means and is a rare trend affecting nearly all aspects of our lives. As we’ve mentioned briefly, we are seeing an increase in technology in professional and personal settings. People love to see what innovation can do for them, and new technology is fun to learn and typically very useful. We don’t need Alexas or Google Homes to control our electronics with our voice, but gosh is it fun. Based on what experts have reported for years, our fascination with new technology isn’t going anywhere.
- The public has growing expectations for digital solutions in the Justice System: Okay, we wanted to get through a blog without discussing the pandemic, but it truly is necessary in this case. The past several years have shown the public that not only is remote/in-person hybrid justice possible, but it’s far more convenient, typically more affordable, and much less stressful than the traditional process. As such, the public has come to expect these options, and doesn’t want to see the Justice System revert to legacy processes. People want to see digital evidence in court cases, they want to be able to reach a settlement online, they want to get through a trial without stepping foot in the courtroom. There’s an expectation that technology will continue to make due process a breeze, and the public rarely opts to move away from high-tech solutions once they’ve seen what they can do.
- More courts are adopting digital evidence management successfully: Not only is the public expecting greater technology from the Justice System, but it’s also seeing how successful digital evidence management has been within the courts that have already adopted it. Whether it’s through first-hand experience working with a court that uses digital evidence management or through hearing about success in the news, people are aware that these systems are available and effective. There are use cases displaying how beneficial digital evidence management is, arguments against it are few and far between. Courts can feel confident that the solution will also work well for them, and decision-makers can reach out to those with digital evidence management for tips and tricks.
What predictions can we make?
Based on the data available, we can make some predictions about the future of digital evidence with relative certainty. Of course, who knows what will happen in upcoming months and years, but these educated guesses are as solid as possible for the moment.
- Digital Evidence will continue to be used heavily in court cases.
- Digital exhibits will become the main evidence for cases.
- Technology will continue to expand, forcing the world to grow with it.
- Digital evidence management will be necessary for all courts to keep up with new file types.
- The public will treat tech as an expectation in the courts.
- Justice personnel will fight to keep a remote/hybrid option using technology.
If you’ve come to any predicted conclusions, please feel free to reach out to us or comment below. We are no psychics, but we do work closely with the Justice System and have had the opportunity to speak with those involved with evidence. We feel confident in the trajectory of the digital evidence management world, and we are excited to see where we move with Vault. To learn more, visit https://imagesoftinc.com/courts/digital-evidence-management/.