Welcome to Consumerology

A blog to track the consumerization of IT ...

Welcome to my new blog on CIO.com which, as you can see, is called Consumerology.

In this blog I'll be covering information technology-related products and services that are moving from the enterprise and the Small and Medium Business (SMB) worlds down to the Small Office Home Office (SOHO) and consumer markets. It's about the trend for high tech products from the enterprise world to migrate towards consumers and for consumer products to migrate into the workplace. This two way migration is both disruptive and transformative to the how, why, and when we do business.

How has this evolution happened? Well, once upon a time, we didn't have computers in our homes. If you're under thirty you probably won't remember such a thing but before your time, computers were huge, vastly expensive behemoths that lived in guarded, air-conditioned temples and were only used by big companies for serious things like accounting.

And then, in quick succession, along came microcomputers, the IBM PC, local area networks, Ethernet, TCP/IP, Windows, the Mac, the Internet, Linux, OS X, laptops, and, finally, the iPhone, the iPad and pad computing in general and that about brings us up to date.

So what's happened over the span of the last forty years is that technology created for the enterprise data processing world (which became the information technology world) has been continuously developed and redeveloped with new, more powerful products appearing at a breathtaking pace. Along with that, existing products got rethought, optimized, and priced downwards. The result has been an evolutionary process that would have made Charles Darwin's head spin.

The result of this evolution has been a procession of products with rapidly increasing performance and equally rapidly diminishing pricing (nicely predicted by Moore's Law) and over the last decade what has been so striking is how high tech has filtered down into the consumer market, not just getting cheaper but also becoming better value for money with deeper and broader feature sets and or higher performance.

Consider, for instance, WiFi technology. Although its roots stretch back to the mid-1980's it wasn't until 1997 that standards were developed and it wasn't until 1999 that the first 802.11a-based WiFi products appeared. These were initially very spendy and somewhat technical to get up and running.

Fast forward to today, just over a decade from the first WiFi products appearing and it's an almost invisible technology built into all kinds of consumer products ranging from laptops and pad computers to cell phones and toys.

Moving in the opposite direction, from consumers into IT, we have two of the most recent megatrends as examples: The Apple iPhone and iPad. What started as a purely consumer products have become so commonplace and so effective in accessing and delivering information that IT organizations can't simply ignore them. Somehow, these devices have to be integrated into IT infrastructure and then managed.

The consequence of these trends is that consumerization in information technology is inevitable and end users and IT organizations have to come to terms with what it means and how it will change the way they work.

Recognizing that the consumerization of IT is a profound market force, that the incredibly sagacious editors at CIO asked me to create a blog to track what's happening and to keep you, our readers, up to date.

I've been writing for and consulting in the information technology industry for 20 years (I've actually been in IT for about 30 years in total) and if there's one thing about IT and computers it's that there's never a dull moment. The pace of innovation never lets up and keeping up with products developments and trends is a full-time job … which is why you need this blog!

So, if you're trying to grasp how consumerization is changing the IT landscape, find out what's coming over the horizon, and figure out how it will impact you and your business, this blog is for you.

Gibbs will guide you from Ventura, California. Your questions, concerns, and ideas to consumer@gibbs.com. If you're in PR, send your pitches to pr@gibbs.com.

Join the discussion
Be the first to comment on this article. Our Commenting Policies