Consumerization of IT on full display at CES as tech straddles both markets

by David Needle

January 11 2012

Microsoft CEO Steve Ballmer gave his last CES keynote with the help of American Idol's Ryan Seacrest
Microsoft CEO Steve Ballmer gave his last CES keynote with the help of American Idol's Ryan Seacrest

The iPhone and iPad kicked the consumerization of IT trend into high gear, but judging from products and comments made at CES at least one analyst thinks we’re only at the very beginning of the movement.

LAS VEGAS -- The Consumer Electronics Show here is a perfectly appropriate venue for the  latest smartphones, tablets, and Ultrabooks to be showcased, but that doesn’t mean consumers are the sole target of all the vendor’s offerings. Consumer technology is finding its way into the enterprise in a big way, from smartphones and devices to social networks, and vendors at CES are keenly aware their products can benefit from appealing to both markets. 

“The rhetoric is changing from what it’s been in past years,” says analyst Charles King who heads Pund-IT. “You heard it in (Intel CEO) Paul Otellini’s keynote yesterday when he used phrases like “lifestyle” to describe products. 

King says more vendors are talking about tech as an enabler that complements the IT infrastructure. He believes its very early days in the consumerization of IT as more products will be developed that can address both markets with the kind of user--friendly features consumers demand. 

Even Intel’s big Ultrabook push is evidence of a straddling of the traditional lines between enterprise and consumer products, according to King.”Intel’s pitch is basically saying, would you still want a tablet if you could have notebook performance and features with the lightness and long battery life of a tablet?” 

With most models just under 3 pounds, Ultrabooks are still more than double the weight of most consumer tablets including the iPad 2 that’s under a 1.5 lbs, but two pounds or more than traditional notebooks. 

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