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A Look Back: Mobile Enterprise Trends from 2013

Mobile enterpriseMobile enterprise trends gathered momentum in 2013 as the smartphone and tablet juggernaut rolled from the consumer space into the enterprises. Vendors tweaked their operating systems to be more enterprise friendly as the bring your own device (BYOD) concept knocked down more doors.

The increasing trend toward mobile business provides both entrepreneurs and hardware or service vendors with more opportunities. The reality is that anything you currently do on a laptop or desktop computer is or will soon be a mobile-enabled task. 

While 2014 will be headlined by the arrival of sleeker, curvier and more powerful smartphones, behind-the-scenes features will interest businesses and marketing. Smartphones offer — in increasing detail — a wealth of information about customer behavior, mood and location, allowing for new levels of tracking and interaction. 

Identifying Trends

The past year saw trends around mobile enterprise coalesce toward one increasingly dominant issue. If you can't do something on a mobile yet, you soon will, and those who delay or resist seem to be fighting a futile battle.

Between improving services apps and peripherals, mobile devices like phones and tablets are taking over from laptops and desktops everywhere from shop floors to corporate offices. With the inevitable rise of the Internet of Things, there will be more opportunities for these devices to interact with potentially huge numbers of sensors and peripherals. 

While that's good news for mobile vendors, those that can't keep pace, notably BlackBerry, are suffering. BlackBerry saw its enterprise ambitions culled in 2013, with Microsoft/Nokia looking to avoid the same fate in 2014. An improving range of tablets, Microsoft's heavy promotion of Skype and Yammer on mobiles, plus closer integration of the Windows systems — through Project Threshold — should help boost its offering. 

This year, we saw more focus on the ability to run smaller businesses entirely from mobile devices. Square and others continue to improve mobile credit card payment systems for smartphones, with Forrester predicting $90 billion in mobile payments by 2017. Most application suites now run effectively on phones and tablets, with the world really only waiting for Microsoft's Office for iPad.

Even big iron and big data are heading mobile. IBM and MongoDB announced their collaboration over a new standard to make it easier for companies to implement data-intensive apps running on the leviathan DB2 and MongoDB databases for the Web and mobile devices.

All of this enables new businesses to set up faster, run leaner and generate business with less overhead than in the past. Vendors and marketers need to highlight the simplicity and security of their services or add them to their roster as more businesses look for on-the-go operating solutions. 

Mobile's Local Focus

Having ensnared the wider world, all players across social, mobile and e-commerce are returning to the thorny issue of local, which has seen only modest success. 

Twitter is the latest social media service to narrow its Sauron-like gaze on the local business, no doubt with attempts to monetize likely to follow soon. Twitter acquired local information specialist Spindle back in June.

That was followed by Google Plus opening up local reviews in July as it tried to gain more traction as a social media service with a wider mission beyond group chats. With location-based advertising, user-needs awareness and location technology starting to move beyond the smartphone into glasses and smartwatches, the pieces are falling into place for a real drive to local marketing, advertising and associated management services. 

These new playgrounds will require new ideas and thinking beyond converting the horrors of local radio and newspaper advertising to the mobile space, a challenge for marketing 

Mobile Enterprise Driving App Stores

The discussion around BYOD is pretty much done and dusted. The likes of Apple, Google, Samsung, even Amazon's Fire OS now provide features through OS updates to allow secure zones on smartphones, keeping personal and business data secure and manageable by the IT department, reducing their opposition to user-owned devices.  


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