Is enterprise tech now driving consumer products?

For a long time, it was assumed that consumer tech was pushing the BYOD trend. However, consumer technology also benefits from products originally meant for enterprise.

Samsung Dex dock in use
Barbara Krasnoff/IDG

For years now, there has been a popular storyline whose main thread was that consumer technology is invading the corporate office. It goes like this: People started using iPhones and other consumer-directed smartphones, and bringing them to the office, and before you knew it, you started getting a steady stream of articles about BYOD and how to adjust to the fact that people want to carry around and use their cool new phones rather than the more clunky (but IT-approved) tech that corporations used to issue them.

These days, however, it looks like technology that was originally created for the corporate space is making itself available for consumers -- and that consumers may be taking advantage of those features. Take as an example Samsung's Knox security software, which not only provides extra safety but allows you to separate your personal and work spaces on your phone. Originally developed for use by enterprise, Knox is now built into all of Samsung's new phones -- such as the Galaxy S8 and S8+ -- not only under the assumption that a large number of its phones will be used by employees, but that consumers of all types can make use of its features. And its new DeX dock may have been designed for business use, but could attract consumers who like the idea of using their phones for home computing without having to deal with a separate laptop.

Another new phone meant for business that may be attractive to a certain segment of the population is the new BlackBerry KEYone. Granted, this is, on its face, a very business-centric device -- for example, the display is not going to make the latest Netflix adventure video look as good as it would on higher-end consumer phones. But I'm wondering if all those folks out there who spend hours texting friends, family and colleagues may not find that a hard keyboard makes things a lot easier than the screen-based keyboards they've grown used to.

This doesn't just apply to phones. While many consumers are taking advantage of cloud storage services, photography buffs or media mavens whose collections run into the terabytes are making use of network-attached storage (NAS) to store their precious media and make sure they have access to it even when they're away from home.

This is all speculation, of course. But as laptop sales flatten and phone manufacturers have to strain to keep consumers spending upwards of $900 or more to buy this year's latest model, new devices that provide the security and extra functionality that can be found in corporate products may attract almost as much attention as a camera phone that boasts a few additional megapixels.

Copyright © 2017 IDG Communications, Inc.

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