NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory is interested in finding enterprise uses for consumer “toys”, using them to monitor firewall traffic, manage internal jargon and control model space environments.

IT Chief Technology Officer (CTO) Tom Soderstrom told the recent Red Hat Summit 2016 that he sometimes calls himself “chief toy officer”.

“I wear that badge proudly,” he said.

“I call myself the toy officer because today’s toy is tomorrow’s tool, but we don’t know which toy is tomorrow’s tool so we’ve got to experiment.”

Soderstrom has come up with a strategy to decide which toys to try to bring into the enterprise – one he calls E4 –“engage and enable everyone and everything”.

Although that tends to point towards an Internet of Things (IoT) strategy, Soderstrom believes IoT is only one “toy” that will become an enterprise tool in the future.

“[Rather] it’s the combination of existing technologies that is creating new opportunities,” he said.

“So what we need to do is experiment with all of these things – analytics, IoT, clouds, collaboration, [and] how we work.

“If people care when we show it [to them], then we keep doing it. If they don’t then we drop it.”