2013 was a banner year for enterprise mobility. In case you weren't keeping track or had an actual day job that kept you away from the day-to-day changes in mobility, here's a look at what you missed.
2013 Enterprise Mobility in Review
Samsung overtook Apple as the market leader in smartphones and is currently the key driver for mobile device innovation on a global basis
The iPhone is quickly transitioning from an innovative groundbreaker to a standard, much as Blackberry was in the mid-2000s and Palm was in the early 2000s. Given what we know about Palm and Blackberry, Apple should be concerned.
Mobile application platforms continue to be bought up left and right
SAP started this trend with the acquisition of Sybase and its Unwired Platform in 2010, Motorola acquired RhoMobile in 2011, IBM acquired Worklight in 2012, SAP bought another mobile app platform in Syclo later in 2012, and Pivotal (a spin-off of corporate giants EMC, VMWare and General Electric) continued this trend in 2013 with the acquisition of Xtreme Labs. Not to give away all my predictions, but this trend is going to continue over time.
Multi-platform mobile device management became commoditized
Mobile device management platforms have always ultimately been acquisition targets for endpoint management and endpoint security solutions because they are a piece of the holistic enterprise endpoint puzzle. This year, the market validated that mobile device management is a niche IT management solution by steadily driving the price down.
BYOD got a lot more press from large enterprises such as Cisco, Dell and Intel, but this PR belies the fact that BYOD has actually plateaued
Regardless of whether one looks at numbers from Gartner, Aberdeen or Forrester, the adoption of BYOD has settled at around 70 percent of companies, while the other 30 percent simply are not following based on their own business logic.
With This in Mind, What Can We Expect for 2014?
From a device perspective, I have three predictions:
1. Windows Phone will come into its own as a solid third place behind Samsung and iPhone
Microsoft is not the most talented company when it comes to identifying new trends, but it tends to succeed in the areas where it invests. The Xbox, Microsoft Dynamics and Microsoft Azure are good examples of Microsoft's ability to buy its way into key markets. For Microsoft, mobility is a core market and the Windows Phone OS is both very user-friendly and very functional. In fact, one could argue that the "flat," panel-based Windows Phone front end actually pushed the mobile user experience along and inspired Apple to create its own "flat" user interface rather than the skeumorphism that Steve Jobs famously advocated for.
2. Wearable technology will be big in 2014, but not from the technology you expect
Google Glass is currently a media darling and smartwatches are not far behind. Although both of these wearable devices will continue to get significant commercial backing in 2014, companies seeking the Next Big Thing for enterprise mobility need to be more humble.
Plantronics started developing APIs for its headsets back in 2011 under the vision of its CTO, Joe Burton. After a couple of years of building a developer community and integrating headsets and other equipment with communications protocols, Plantronics is poised to transform mobility by shifting the brains of mobility from the smartphone to the headset.
Look for Plantronics to create at least one headset in 2014 that is out of the box and will provide a new level of productivity and connectedness for the enterprise.
3. Samsung will continue to maintain its market share leadership in 2014
Samsung has perfected the "me-too" development of mobile devices and Apple seems a bit short on innovation these days. Given the market momentum and the sharp execution in developing Galaxy devices, Samsung's market leadership seems certain. However, this situation is exactly when market leaders get lax.
Just as Blackberry took iPhone for granted in 2007 and iPhone took the Samsung Galaxy S for granted in 2010, a new market threat will emerge in 2014 if Samsung does not stay on top of market trends.
For mobile applications, my one prediction is very simple:
1. Mobile application development platforms are going to be devoured by larger companies in 2014
If you are using Antenna, Verivo or Kony to develop mobile apps, be prepared for a potential acquisition. The biggest problem with mobile applications is that the skill set to create a functional mobile application is different from the skill set to create a web-enabled or standalone application. To bridge this gap, developers need a separate mobile toolkit and any mega-vendor that doesn't have a mobile application development toolkit will be left behind.
Salesforce got into the act with its launch of Salesforce1, which is designed both to handle web-based and mobile applications. Oracle has pushed Oracle ADF and its mobile business intelligence application platform. Expect HP and Dell to get in the mix as they seek to modernize their existing mobile portfolio. An interesting wildcard could be Adobe if they choose to diversify their mobile portfolio to account for the inevitable death of Flash.
Finally, from an enterprise mobility management perspective, I have three predictions:
1. Mobile device management will become completely commoditized
Mobile Device Management (MDM) has shifted from a value add to table stakes for companies seeking security and compliance from their mobile deployment. However, this means that any MDM company with a business model predicated on charging $2 per month/per device for pure device management is going to be hurting in 2014 as the price point declines to $2 per year/per device. Traditional MDM vendors will need to build out and sell new value added capabilities, which include application security, secure content management and expense management.
2014 will be a Darwinian year for enterprise mobility management vendors: evolve or die.
2. As BYOD continues to stabilize, wireless expense management will see a renaissance
Now that companies have tried BYOD and many firms have found that their per user costs for mobility have actually risen, the CFO office is going to take notice and ask IT and procurement departments to control these costs. Luckily, wireless expense management and telecom expense management solutions have been working on a number of BYOD solutions for several years and will be up to the challenge of cutting wireless costs by 10 percent to 20 percent on a per-user basis.
3. A new Blackberry will emerge
Although Blackberry is dying, there is still a market need for highly secure devices for government, financial services, healthcare and other highly regulated industries. There is a market gap for a vendor to emerge and provide the security that Blackberry provides, but with multiple routes to ensure business continuity rather than the single point of failure to Waterloo that led to multiple breakdowns. The value of Blackberry is not in its handsets, but in its detailed policy management and encryption. Although Blackberry is too bloated to play this role going forward, there is an opportunity for a new Blackberry-like service to start up in 2014.
So, this is what you need to watch out for in the world of mobility. Stay clear of the hype, stay focused on functionality and utility, and make wise mobility decisions in 2014.
Editor's Note: Read more by Hyoun, see his Data Driven Employee Engagement