Sensorification of the Enterprise

A few years ago a bunch of consumer internet companies had an “Oh, shit” moment around mobile. They saw all their traffic coming in from mobile rather than the web. They redid everything to take advantage of mobile. Many still aren’t done doing so (and some have yet to make the shift).

Now something similar is happening in the enterprise world, which is going to have its own “Oh shit” moment. But this is not just about bringing mobile to the enterprise. It’s about much more than that…

Think about what’s possible with smartphones today. The form and sophisticated functionality of smartphones has led to businesses we couldn’t ever have imagined (ridesharing, to name just one example). This was made possible partly because of the “sensorification” of the landscape, coupled with mobile and a friendly UI.

That same sensorification needs to move into the enterprise.

Enterprise UI is woefully behind. All those well-understood motions that have taken hold from our everyday smartphone behaviors — pinch, zoom, swipe, tap, speak, even just moving stuff around with our fingers — have yet to take hold in the enterprise. The user interface has always been an afterthought, the last thing one did after building a database. That is changing now.

So where do the sensors come in? Think about what happened on mobile. We don’t have a lot of screen real estate or functionality available there; the sensors are essentially used as “shortcuts” to information and actions the user doesn’t have to perform. Instead of having to manually type location in to our phones every time, GPS simply informs our phones that ‘you are here’ so it can automatically load that context.

For enterprise, the value of the sensors is in being a shortcut for the user interface, potentially even replacing typing so we can concentrate on the easy, fun, creative things.

— Scott Weiss




The views expressed here are those of the individual AH Capital Management, L.L.C. (“a16z”) personnel quoted and are not the views of a16z or its affiliates. Certain information contained in here has been obtained from third-party sources, including from portfolio companies of funds managed by a16z. While taken from sources believed to be reliable, a16z has not independently verified such information and makes no representations about the enduring accuracy of the information or its appropriateness for a given situation.

This content is provided for informational purposes only, and should not be relied upon as legal, business, investment, or tax advice. You should consult your own advisers as to those matters. References to any securities or digital assets are for illustrative purposes only, and do not constitute an investment recommendation or offer to provide investment advisory services. Furthermore, this content is not directed at nor intended for use by any investors or prospective investors, and may not under any circumstances be relied upon when making a decision to invest in any fund managed by a16z. (An offering to invest in an a16z fund will be made only by the private placement memorandum, subscription agreement, and other relevant documentation of any such fund and should be read in their entirety.) Any investments or portfolio companies mentioned, referred to, or described are not representative of all investments in vehicles managed by a16z, and there can be no assurance that the investments will be profitable or that other investments made in the future will have similar characteristics or results. A list of investments made by funds managed by Andreessen Horowitz (excluding investments and certain publicly traded cryptocurrencies/ digital assets for which the issuer has not provided permission for a16z to disclose publicly) is available at

Charts and graphs provided within are for informational purposes solely and should not be relied upon when making any investment decision. Past performance is not indicative of future results. The content speaks only as of the date indicated. Any projections, estimates, forecasts, targets, prospects, and/or opinions expressed in these materials are subject to change without notice and may differ or be contrary to opinions expressed by others. Please see for additional important information.

The enterprise is changing

Sign up for our enterprise newsletter to get the a16z take on the trends reshaping B2B and enterprise tech.