CES 2011 – Consumer Geek or Future Enterprise Insight
-Danny Wootton is director of innovation at Logica. The opinions expressed are his own.-
As ever with the Consumer Electronics Show, there has been a flurry of announcements of new technology and the latest must have gadgets. However, depending on how you look at what comes out of this show and what your view is on the consumerisation of enterprise IT, then you can either think of the show a geek heaven or an insight to the technologies and tools we’ll all be using in our organisations in years to come.
So I thought I’d look through some of the major announcements and trends and take a look at how and when we can expect to see them in business.
The World In 3D
The show saw a plethora of 3D related announcements covering 3D content, products and services. The range of hardware devices included 3DTVs, Blu-ray players, AV receivers, PCs and Games Consoles, with Sony showing 3D gaming on the PS3. From a service perspective we are also starting to see organisations such as Sky and ESPN provide 3D TV. There is also a promise of 3D mobile devices, tablets and the emergence of Autostereocopy, the delivery of 3D with the need for special eyewear.
So what for business, well one element will be that over the coming years, 3D technology will enter the workspace subtly through standardisation, where equipment will incorporate 3D as a standard feature, such as PCs, Laptops etc. However, will there be a business need – well yes I think there will, but in a fairly niche way, with 3D being used to enhance areas such as data visualisation solutions, and virtual world asset management solutions in sectors that have large and complex physical assets such as oil refineries, power stations and water treatment plants.
I also see 3D being used heavily in training a few years from now. Logica already provide training in virtual world environments and solutions where we combine virtual world experiences with real world physical assets. I think it is a simple extension to move these into a 3D environment.
3D Sensor/Scanner solutions such as Xbox Kinect will also start to be used in training environments to being more realism to virtual world training environments
I think 2011 will be the ‘year of the tablet’, with the devices spreading like rabbits (2011 is the year of the rabbit in China), although 2012 will probably be the year of the enterprise tablet. I don’t know how many years the industry has been touting the benefits of tablets, it took the iPad launch to finally get mass market scale and now many companies have launched their own alternative products – I think CES 2011 saw over 80 announcements of new products.
So, how will this flow through to the enterprise. Although we see a small amount of tablet usage in business already, I think it will 2012 when we really start to see a rapid take up of the devices for business use. This will be driven by three things. Consumer take up in 2011 will mean that more individuals bringing their devices into the office, applying pressure onto the IT organisation to use their devices on the corporate network – consumerisation of IT. The next factor will be the corporate buying cycle and the need to have enterprise levels of security, encryption and traceability on the device. These solutions are starting to emerge, but are not currently mainstream. The final driver is the development of enterprise apps for tablets. For tablets to generate real volume in the enterprise space, will be access to corporate CRM, ERP and other apps, designed for ease of use with a table, not just replicating a PC
With more and more companies moving development resource to app development or developing app versions of their software in parallel to other versions, the app market continues to grow. We have also seen recent announcements of non-mobile device companies getting into the app store space. Additionally, we have seen announcements by Microsoft and ARM that lead us towards the possibility of Windows running on any and all types of devices (rather than mobile variants etc). So the spread of app use and processing power of mobile devices continues to grow.
The Internet Of Things
We have seen and talked about the internet of things for a few years now and there have been ethernet and WiFi enabled devices available for some time, but this year, we are starting to see thought go into how the user interacts with those devices – connected through apps, browsers on TV etc. I think what we’ll see develop through this year is a better understanding of how all of these internet-enabled devices start to link together for the end user. This will include things in the home, office, on the road etc.
For me, the flow of this into business will start to see – finally – a take up of M2M (machine to machine) and a better understanding of how M2M can be used by individuals within a business. The awareness of connected things in the consumer world starts to raise awareness of the value that can be generated in the business world. However, the change that needs to happen in business to build momentum is looking beyond the connectivity. I see M2M starting to be positioned as Cost Reduction Through M2M Enabled Information Management, Operational Efficiency Through M2M Enabled Insight & Foresight Into Business Performance, Increase Revenue Through New M2M Enabled Services.