Wednesday, January 4, 2006

2006 prediction #2: consumerization comes in most unexpected areas

Gartner has recently published some research on how consumer technologies fuel innovation. Former META (which has been acquired by Gartner last year) CEO Dale Kutnick for instance has published a podcast on the power shift resulting from consumerization. Consumerization is everywhere! Web 2.0 is just a container term for all kinds of innovations / concepts / technologies that are a result of this consumerization. Very often the results are very surprising, and the idea of mashup even adds to these surprises. Major innovation does not only come from R&D departments of large organizations (either commercial or academic), but also from clever and unexpected usage from consumers. By combining (this is what mashup is about!) concepts and technologies new tools, concepts and technologies evolve.

Take this article (in Dutch) in a major Dutch newspaper for instance, about how the Nintendo Gameboy can be used to increase the engine power of scooters. It writes about how some clevers kids and mechanics found out, that with a Nintendo Gameboy you can easily read and manipulate the software and chips inside scooters. This makes it possible to erase the speed limitation which is set within the software, so that scooters can go way faster than the legally allowed 50 km/hour (in fact they can go as fast as 90 km/hour).
That's not all: not only kids and mechanics are taking advantage of this, but it has also gained the attention of scooter manufacturers, who are now developing and selling special cartridges for the Gameboy to read the scooter's technical data. They also provide special cables to attach the Gameboy to the scooter.

The above Gameboy anecdote is just an example to show how consumerization works, and that the results of the evolution can be found in the most unexpected areas. So this is my second prediction for 2006: we will see that consumerization will continue to drive innovation, and the results will be very surprising.

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