Business technology has taken its lead from consumer applications and trends in the past few years, according to keynote speakers at the Alcatel-Lucent Enterprise Forum in Paris.
"Enterprise business was the motor that was driving the direction of the telecoms industry," said José González Pueyo, head of voice and data enterprise services at Telefonica.
"In recent years it is more the user side and the residential side that is providing more ideas and more information, and people who work on the enterprise side are trying to catch up."
One of the most obvious examples is the adoption of instant messaging (IM) technologies for enterprise use.
"IM is becoming prevalent in industry and it is not just the tool of choice for the 'Zoe101' population," said Michael Hardiman, director of global accounts conferencing and collaboration solutions at Alcatel-Lucent.
"What is interesting is what is driving it. The older workforce does not realise what they can do, whereas the younger workforce has already worked this way."
Oscar Rodriguez, chief marketing officer at the Alcatel-Lucent business group, added: "We have moved away from these cool and interesting technologies only being the realm of the younger set."
Hardiman suggested that the technology has had to grow up to fit into a business environment, for example making it compliant with issues such as the legal storage of company data and being able to show a complete audit trail.
He maintained that most businesses would not think of using the consumer versions of IM software to run mission-critical business functions.
"Companies are increasingly security conscious today and most large corporations do not allow access to messengers such as AOL," he said.
"They do not allow users to install IM programs to their desktop and they do not allow them to use it through the network."
Another factor driving the uptake in traditional consumer technologies is the realisation of the 'always-on' modern world.
"We are all now hyper-connected in a world that no longer operates from 9am to 5pm, and where customers can no longer wait until the next day to get an answer," said Rodriguez.
Hardiman added that Alcatel-Lucent had tailored its products to meet the new demands from these type of consumers.
"If you are offering a service for sale over the web, you have no-one there to assist the customer," he said.
"With Call Centre IM Buddy, when one of your premium customers is on the web you can flash a message saying 'Suzy is standing by to help you if you'd like, click here' and it will initiate a chat session."
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