Newspaper article International New York Times

Perks of Personal Tech Come to 'The Enterprise'

Newspaper article International New York Times

Perks of Personal Tech Come to 'The Enterprise'

Article excerpt

In a conflict of personalization and privacy, personalization has triumphed.

Last week, the heads of two of America's biggest companies said almost the same thing about what personalized technology would mean to the future of business.

First, Timothy D. Cook, the chief executive of Apple, said his consumer technology company was starting to address the business world, which people in tech call "the enterprise."

"We want to make tools to help people change the world, and that means being in the enterprise," Mr. Cook said at a conference on Sept. 29 for Box, a company that makes online storage and collaboration tools. It is, he said, "a huge opportunity for us."

Jeffrey Immelt, the chief executive of General Electric, endorsed that view later in the day. "Industrial companies have yet to feel the benefit of the Internet the way consumers have," he said in an interview. "We're just getting started."

Each man takes his stand relative to where he sits. Mr. Cook talked about the prospects for the kind of mobile Internet services delivered on iPhones and iPads and developed on Macs. Mr. Immelt is building a system of sensors and so-called predictive data analysis that he hopes will deliver $10 billion in revenue to G.E. by 2020.

That same year, G.E. is forecasting, there will be one billion connected electric meters, 100 million connected light bulbs and 152 million connected cars globally.

But what does it mean for business technology to be like consumer tech? Looking at consumer tech today, the answer is personalization.

Google looks at your searches, emails and other online behavior and sends you a likely ad. Facebook reads your social behavior to the same end. Online media uses tracking cookies. The iPhone logs your location and sends it to various places.

It doesn't end there. Tesla cars and Nest thermostats are designed to watch what you do with them and adjust themselves to better serve you.

Remarkably, mass-produced goods increasingly personalize into something unique because of a lot of snooping on you. Few consumers turn personalizing features off, adjust use or boycott the products. In a conflict of personalization and privacy, personalization has triumphed. …

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