Consumer tech invading business

Is it possible to cross the business/consumer tech chasm successfully?

"It's unavoidable: consumer technologies will continue having a huge impact on the workplace. But this doesn't mean adopting consumer applications per se. Rather, business applications will be built differently, to assume consumer traits such simplicity, accessibility and low price."

The way of the future

Consumers' love affair with gadgets and gizmos has long been the bane of IT departments' lives. The long-suffering IT professionals are now well rehearsed in the art of politely turning down or ignoring requests to fine tune the chief executive's latest digital plaything. But still, the lines are blurring and that trend looks set to continue into the future.

So, what can we expect of consumerised enterprise IT in the future and what will be the next big trend to butterfly from the consumer space into the corporate arena?

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Some believe the future will be a virtual one. "Virtual worlds hold great promise in the business arena as ways to enhance and enable consumer-to-business and business-to-business contacts. Virtual trade shows, store fronts, user groups all will make inroads in the future," predicted Michael Tennefoss, head of strategic marketing at Aruba Networks.

"We expect to see regional adoption of SMS and texting' as a communications and transactional channel," said Esteban Kolsky, vice president of eVergance. "We're already seeing some pockets of this happening (some Asian countries using cell phones as ID and payment tools, certain Nordic countries transactional use of SMS, etc.) but as the medium gains adoption specially in older and less dynamic populations in society we expect to see it permeate into organisation's customer service implementation more and more."

Mobile leads the way

Again, many believe the mobile industry is leading the charge in the consumer/corporate crossover revolution.

"The enhancements pioneered by Apple with its iPhone interface and the work Samsung and Microsoft are doing in their mobile devices shines a light on where mobile devices need to go to properly support business mobility apps other than push email," said Nathan Marke, 2e2's chief technology officer.

"Proper capability to drive workspace and collaboration applications from a mobile device will be enabled by the enhancements made for consumers in viewing, managing and driving photos, maps and video."

Joe Baguley, global product director at Quest Software, added: "[Facebook, IM and mobile phones] have usually been driven by the young entering the corporate world and bringing their technology with them. I think this will drive Unified Communications and device/app convergence more than ever before.

"To see what is coming next, I would be looking at how the current university students are organising their lives, as this will be a good guide as to what is coming next."

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