The proliferation of the Internet had significantly altered the order in which many technologies have later been delivered to enterprises and consumers. Earlier, technologies used to trickle slowly from enterprise users to consumers, but now it often happens the other way round.

Two really big examples that have touched lives of billions are webmail and social media.

Webmail has also been the earliest example of a cloud-based application, and in that context it looks pretty surprising that it took IT vendors and service providers so many recent years to take hype out of the ‘cloud’ concept and make it a reality for businesses.

Apart from cloud, another path-turning tech paradigm that has flowed from consumers to businesses—and not the other way round—is that of mobility.

Today, mobility is among the most prioritized ICT investments by businesses worldwide, wherein ‘mobility’ encompasses but is not limited to mobile services and devices.

Further, ‘apps’ that are an important constituent as well as enabler of  enterprise mobility too in their current form have developed in the consumer segment and are being ported to the business segment.

Mobile apps have already made it possible for phones to be used across a variety of day-to-day functions including ticketing, bill payment, maps and navigation, gaming, social networking, et al.

And if a newly tested and tried out application is any indicator of possibilities, mobile apps can be true enablers and catalysts of the next frontier of ICT—machine-to-machine communications.
Phil Bosua, an entrepreneur from Melbourne, Australia has designed a ‘smart’ bulb named as LIFX that can be controlled by an iOS or Andriod smart phone for switching on or off, dimming or brightening and even changing the color.

Blogger Matt Hickman of Mother Nature Network, who was among the first to talk at length on this innovation, wrote, “Simply screw the bulb into a fixture, download the free LIFX app to your smart phone, and you’re good to go…” (See

At $69, the bulb is more than a tad expensive now, even if it is designed to last 25 years. A good thing, however, is that $1,120,418 were generated through a fund-raising campaign as against an initial goal of $100,000, as Hickman notes. This implies that bulk manufacturing would now be possible and an economy of scale may be achieved, which could bring down costs significantly.

LIFX-like mobile apps may be early signs of what could be a dawn of consumer-centric machine-to-machine (M2M) communications. And it is not just the app but the crowd support pledged for the app in dollar terms that makes the potential so credible.

The nineteenth-century invention of the light bulb had kick-started a series of life-style innovations that continue to go on. Now a smart-bulb app innovation could prepare the ground for 2.0 versioning of many earlier inventions and innovations.
With Internet, consumers were first with cloud; with mobile apps, they could be first with m2m as well.

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