Consumerization is defined narrowly by many to cover trends like BYOD where employees are allowed to bring their own flavor of device to work.
To me, this new tech savvy employee is far more interesting as a consumer looking for tech in everything from cars to a hotel stay. Indeed, my book The New Technology Elite profiled examples from 75 industries which are embedding tech – software, sensors, satellite support, social features - in their products and services aimed at this new employee/consumer.
The inspiration for my book came from CES 2011. My book starts by describing the event which returns to Vegas next week (if interested, download full excerpt of Chapter 1 in file below):
Lost in the excitement about iPad killers and iPhone rumors at
the show was an even more significant nugget—the list of exhibitors included companies from just about every non-technology vertical industry:
- There was Walgreens—yes, the pharmacy chain—showing off its Refill application that allows you to scan the bar code from a previous prescription using a mobile phone, transmit it, and get a text message to go pick it up at a nearby store. At many of its stores, you could use drive-through lanes and related technologies.
- Whirlpool showcased its Duet washer/dryers with LCD screens and various laundry apps designed to give users advice on stain removal and other laundry questions.
- Nike introduced a GPS-enabled Sportwatch developed in collaboration with the navigation vendor Tom Tom.
- Ingersoll Rand showed off tech innovations around its Schlage home security and Trane thermostat products.
- Ford chose to unveil its all-electric Focus at the CES show rather than at the traditional car launch showplace, the Detroit Auto Show,which was only a week later.
- Not to be outdone by Ford, GM showcased a retail, boxed version of an OnStar-equipped rearview mirror. This opened up OnStar to nearly any vehicle—from a Ford to a Toyota. Its features such as automatic
crash response, turn-by-turn navigation, stolen vehicle location assistance,emergency and roadside services, and hands-free calling were long a reason to buy a GM car with the built-in OnStar.
- 3M showed off its Patterned Transparent Conductors (PTC). Using technology that enables a high degree of pattern control of conductive materials on flexible substrates, 3M is able to produce conductive traces
down to two microns wide or less to support projected capacitive touch sensing. This capability supports the development of new touch-enabled consumer electronic devices. PTC is able to decrease the amount of
space needed on the device bezel. Using silver, it offers a significantly lowered resistance that allows sensors to support fast response times, even in tablet sizes.
What’s going on here? These companies live far from Silicon Valley and are known as retailers and auto companies. Why are they competing for booth space and geek attention with technology vendors?”
CES 2013 continues that trend. There is a digital health mini-summit. There are Electric Drive and Higher Ed zones. There is a track aimed at boomers and tech use, and one focused on “MommyTech”. There are speakers from a wide range of non-tech verticals from AMC Theaters, Bosch Auto, Emirates Airlines, GE Appliances, Lowe’s, Pfizer and hundreds more.
And in a not so subtle change, Microsoft, long a major sponsor and keynotes, will not be so at this year’s event. In turn, car companies like Audi will be much more so.
This is the true vision of consumerization in the enterprise. Every enterprise, even from “old” industries reshaping their products and services for the new tech-savvy employee/consumer. CES and Vegas are a perfect launching pad.