As the divide between personal and work mobile devices erodes, let's take some time to explore some companies and ideas that may drive changes in the mobile world for the rest of 2012.
A few months back, some interesting tidbits were provided from RIM’s new CEO, Thorsten Heins, in an analyst call.
Notably, the Canadian mobile device and messaging company appears to be exploring a potential sale (nothing new) and is clearly focusing on its business customers -- not the consumer market -- for which it has no real offering until 2013 at best. Heins also revealed to have pushed back against the wishes of RIM co-founder Jim Balsille to open the Blackberry Messenger service to other devices.
As opposed to beating up on RIM (which is all a bit unfair at this point and I think that Balsille was in the right), I want to examine the concept of focusing purely on the business as opposed to consumers as with regards to mobility. Does it make sense in 2012 to have a mobile platform play that ignores the driving force behind IT purchases -- the consumer?
Gone are the days where we use separate mobile technology for our work and personal lives unless of course we are talking about very specialized integrated devices (logistics, medicine, engineering, science).
Standout services that used to drive enterprise mobile device sales, like the “direct connect” service that built Nextel into a major presence, are being rapidly eroded by cross-platform communications apps such as Lync, Voxer and Tango.
A few companies / concepts that come to mind (other than Apple, RIM and Google-related terms) that may help shape mobility in the rest of 2012 are:
- Near Field Communication
In comes technology that will see itself in more and more devices this year -- Near Field Communication (NFC). Among other uses, NFC is allowing shoppers (just like myself) to purchase items instantly using their mobile devices.
The largest hurdle for NFC to clear in order to be part of a “mobile wallet” solution has been the US telecoms. Entrenched players like Verizon have long viewed mobile payments as an offering that would easily integrate into existing cellular billing paradigms. Instead, offerings directly from payment processors and third parties (Google) have cut the cellular provider out of the mobile commerce equation.