This last year was full of spectacular moments as mobility continued to consume the world.
We now have almost three billion people online and most of that number is due to smartphones. Mobile apps eclipsed the web as the place people spend more of their time and an estimated 80% of adults will be using a smartphone by 2020. Since the best way to review the most important mobile events of 2014 is through a long, run-on sentence, take a breath and dive in:
Microsoft acquired Nokia, tablet growth slowed, VMware acquired AirWatch, mobile games outsold mobile apps, MobileIron went public, Apple shipped a phablet, Good acquired BoxTone, Gartner’s MDM Magic Quadrant became their EMM Magic Quadrant, Xiaomi ate everyone’s lunch in China, IBM and Apple got together to build business apps, Microsoft brought Office to the iPad, MEAP vanished while MBaaS appeared, Apple launched a Swift way to Pay, HTML5 became a recommendation, Android dominated market share, Apple dominated revenue and the Internet of Things won the hype award. Whew!
With the ‘Year in Review’ out of the way, let’s talk about the things that will make the most impact in the enterprise mobility space in 2015. Expect the ‘Bring Your Own App’ (BYOA) trend to hit a speed bump by corporate mobile centers of excellence that require enterprise mobile apps to meet security standards around authentication, data at rest and data in transit. Mobile developers need to up their game to break into the enterprise. Enterprise Mobility Management (EMM) companies will continue their move from Mobile Device Management (MDM) to Mobile Application Management (MAM) to data protection and on to Identity and Access Management (IAM). The goalposts will always be moving in this space.
In the smartphone space, low-cost devices will continue to garner the most market share. Remember, once you leave the world of subsidized phone plans, economics takes over. The trick for enterprises looking to use them in corporate-liable scenarios is to ensure the mobile operating system meets security and manageability needs while performing well on low-end hardware.
With millions of Win32 apps currently running most global businesses, large investments will be made in moving these apps to modern, sandboxed, mobile operating systems. Unlike many of the large, monolithic desktop apps built for Windows over the last two decades, mobile apps focus on specific tasks. This means for every Win32 app, multiple mobile apps will be built. Additionally, they will take advantage of device sensors to provide employees with better contextual experiences.
With the back end systems of most enterprises unable to speak the language of mobile devices, let alone support their performance and scalability requirements, upgrading these on-premises systems or moving them to the cloud represents another large investment companies will be making. Some companies will wrap their existing systems in REST/JSON APIs; others will connect them to MBaaS offerings, while others purchase new vertically-integrated mobile packages.
Rapidly shrinking wireless and sensor-enabled chipsets with low power consumption have given rise to the Internet of Things (IoT) with IPv6 ensuring there are enough addresses to go around. When combined with things like streaming analytics, machine learning and cloud scale, this descendant of SCADA and M2M is going to help companies unlock insights that lead to cost savings and new revenue opportunities.
In the end, the promise of personal computing is being realized via small, portable, sensor-filled, picture-taking, supercomputing, payment processing, low-powered communication devices that connect the citizens of the world and that’s a good thing.