5 consumer trends that will change the enterprise

  • Mobile and consumer technology innovations offer new opportunities for enterprises.

  • From facial recognition for security authentication to virtual reality for equipment repair, new enterprise apps take advantage of emerging technologies.

Two of the world’s largest mobile and consumer technology shows, CES and Mobile World Congress, were held within the last three months. These events showcase the latest inventions in such areas as wearables, Internet of Things (IoT) and mobile devices. What’s often overlooked in the media coverage is how these new technologies will impact the business world at large.

After following the latest announcements, five consumer technology trends have emerged that will change how we design enterprise apps and services.

smart watch

1. Wearables get personal, which means they’ll enter the enterprise soon.

Until recently, most wearables lacked useful features beyond activity tracking, or were unattractive computers strapped to your wrist. At CES we saw the beginning of fashionable wearables. Smarter wearables that could offer better notifications and more advanced apps were also more prevalent. We also saw new IoT chipsets that could make wearables more powerful. The combination of these innovations means consumers are more likely to purchase wearables and more likely to bring them into an office environment. This will take several years, but the introduction of the new Apple Smartwatch will speed up the adoption of wearables in the enterprise.

2. OS fragmentation gets worse, not better, with wearables and IoT.

AndroidWear, WatchKit, and WebOS are the latest wearable development environments to hit the scene. While wearables share some design elements with smartphones, the fundamental design goal is different, as are the operating systems. Instead of OS platforms consolidating, businesses will be faced with an even more confusing set of options.

3. Virtual reality will lead to better enterprise wearables. 

Over the past year, there have been tremendous innovations in virtual reality glasses. Companies such as HTC, Sony, Microsoft, and Oculus have all announced new or improved products. These innovations will improve over the next three years. Once glasses are smaller, lighter, and more affordable, they’ll provide the foundation to deliver advanced enterprise services, such as warehousing pick and pack apps, augmented reality for equipment repair, and new training classes.

4. A future of self-driving cars will yield better fleet management today.

While automakers are working diligently to make driverless vehicles a reality, millions of cars and trucks across the globe are rolling out with sensors. These sensors and a new set of cloud-based API services enable software companies to create comprehensive, real-time tracking of vehicles and the health of a company’s cargo.

5. Perceptual computing will change enterprise security.

Facial recognition and voice commands are changing the consumer experience in social networks (e.g., Facebook facial tagging) and in accessing software and services. For example, a consumer can unlock access to their computer and log into commerce sites using facial recognition, voice, and a third factor authentication such as a smartphone. Once this becomes commonplace in the consumer market, a company’s employees will expect the same easy access to corporate services, particularly on mobile devices.

Innovations like IoT are transforming the design of enterprise apps and services. As you’re reading about the next great generation of consumer products, I encourage you to consider how these products might be re-purposed to work in your business setting.


Maribel Lopez is the CEO and mobile market strategist for Lopez Research, a market research and strategy consulting firm that specializes in communications technologies with a heavy emphasis on the disruptive nature of mobile technologies. All opinions are her own. AT&T has sponsored this blog post.

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