Five Predictions for Enterprise Mobility this Year

The enterprise mobility space is a fast-moving market. Probably faster than any other we have seen before in the technology industry. Over the last two to three years it has really heated up: As the Apple iPad was introduced, we’ve had a strong battle between Apple and Android versions, and more recently the introduction of the Microsoft mobility products. The year 2013 will certainly bring even more exciting developments.

Here are five things that we expect to see this year:

1. More apps, more uses. In many cases with enterprise mobility, we have taken desktop functionality and transferred it to the mobile device. What we hope for is a 1-to-1 translation of value. There are two problems with this: First, in many cases, functionality is not directly transferable. Thus, we get less value. Think about the use of desktop virtualization technologies: It’s a lot harder to navigate without a mouse. Second, this approach assumes that the devices have the same use cases. And we know that this, in fact, is not true. Mobile devices introduce new use cases which will stimulate the development of new apps. I think we are only at the beginning stages. There are more use cases (and therefore, more apps looking to solve the problem) out there that we have not even thought of yet.

2. Mobile devices take up more of your computing time. While still not your primary computing platform, mobile devices are taking up a greater percentage of your computing time. I just think about my own use: I do a tremendous amount of my email on my mobile device. Part of the reason is that mobile devices are extending our computing time beyond sitting behind the desk. But as more apps become available and the devices get more sophisticated, they may challenge the computer as your primary computing platform. Not today, not tomorrow, but it’s out there. Just take a look at PC sales and tablet sales. PC sales are largely flat; tablet sales are skyrocketing.

3. BYOD becomes the norm. I have recently seen a lot of numbers thrown around about how many smartphones and tablets will be sold in the next two to five years. The numbers are big! And I expect that many of these are going to consumers who will inevitably want to use these devices for work as well. In some sense, the floodgates have already opened and enterprise IT departments now need to effectively manage this onslaught. Furthermore, tools and solutions to help enterprises enable BYOD are becoming much more sophisticated and widely available. Solutions, such as our mobilEcho®, allow mobile users to access corporate file resources – on servers, NAS devices, SharePoint – while providing the enterprise with the security and management it requires.

4. Security becomes even more important. It’s hard to name a time when security isn't important but, let’s just say that in the early stages of enterprise mobility, the end-users were way ahead of the enterprise. Enterprise mobility, over the last three years, has largely been a consumer-led revolution, mostly thanks to the Apple iPad. And over that time period there has been an increasing amount of solutions rolled out to address security needs. So it’s not so much that security is becoming more important, but rather that solutions are now available that can actually balance the need for security (and management) with the need for end-user simplicity. We see this all the time with our solutions, like activEcho™ which provides enterprise file sharing capabilities (sometimes described as enterprise Dropbox). activEcho provides consumer-grade simplicity with enterprise-grade security and management.

5. Consolidation of vendors. There are more vendors than you can count that are addressing the mobility space – and that includes the enterprise mobility space. I expect that to accelerate with many of the smaller companies either getting gobbled up or going away, enterprises will start to expect more from their vendors than just the ability to address a single need.

What are your predictions for enterprise mobility this year? Share now!