woman on bicycle with phone
By 2020, enterprise mobility will have changed dramatically due to a number of factors PHOTO: FaceMEPLS

By 2020, more than 105 million workers in the United States will be mobile, and that means big changes in the not-too-distant future for any business trying to keep up with the pace of mobile innovation.

Enterprise mobility is constantly changing and evolving. If you’re a business leader or mobility program manager, this can make tomorrow’s mobile technology difficult to predict and plan for. 

So, what trends does your business need to pay attention to?

Integrated Device Management 

As legacy enterprise features and capabilities get incorporated into mobile devices, the line between mobility and traditional desktop computers is rapidly blurring. 

Rather than juggling multiple management systems, corporate IT departments will begin seeking out solutions that can integrate separate management systems into a single platform. These solutions will save valuable resources and provide program-wide usage and expense visibility.

Customized Device Security Solutions

Enterprise device security is also changing at a fast pace. Today, the Enterprise Mobility Management (EMM) software market features dozens of different products that offer comprehensive mobile device security. 

As this market matures, however, specialization will take place. Cheaper solutions with fewer — but more specific — options will surface, causing companies to reassess their current solutions and choose a combination of EMMs that satisfy their unique needs.

Mobile Services Decoupled from Hardware 

Your company also needs to be aware of the changes carriers are making. Outside the US, decoupling network service from hardware purchases is already standard practice, and it won’t be long before domestic service providers are doing the same.

Entrenched business models die hard. You don’t expect Exxon Mobil to buy your vehicle if you promise to use only their fuel for the next two years, so why should carriers work that way? 

While this development will most likely cause some short-term sourcing and procurement headaches, your mobility platform will experience new levels of freedom and optimization when your device purchases are no longer handcuffed to service contracts.

Increased Popularity for Enterprise Internet of Things

As the Internet of Things (IoT) continues to explode in popularity, wireless network providers will become much more relevant to stationary device management. Unlike smartphones, IoT device usage requires little network bandwidth and tolerates larger amounts of latency. This means companies can optimize data services around cost instead of speed.

Carriers are also beginning to recognize IoT as a lucrative sub-market and offer usage plans built to satisfy these devices’ specific usage needs. All of this adds up to a much more favorable set of economic conditions for future enterprise IoT deployment. Stationary devices will rapidly become relevant to every mobile data network because of their ubiquitous reach.

Dramatic Improvements to Mobile Apps

Today’s apps will seem clunky and incomplete in comparison to the mobile apps of the near future. By the end of this year, expect developers to take monumental steps in improving app performance. For example, look for apps to load better, irrespective of network connectivity.

What’s more, when a device is connected, apps won’t just be serving a user actively. They’ll also take steps to serve the user offline by updating behind the scenes, even when the user isn’t interacting with the app. Apps will also feature deeper device operating system integrations, meaning they’ll interact with smartphone microphones, cameras and battery power levels in never-before-seen ways.

Consumer-Grade Location Awareness 

In addition to improved app performance, the success of consumer-grade location awareness will be transitioned into the enterprise. While rare right now, don’t be surprised to see location-based business apps with customized alerting capabilities sooner rather than later.

Hybrid Cloud Storage

Take note, too, that hybrid cloud solutions are quickly becoming the go-to storage solution for enterprise mobile apps because of their ability to hold massive amounts of data.

In this model, organizations can securely host mission-critical apps and systems on premise, while simultaneously offloading sizable app datasets to an external provider.

Artificial Intelligence

Enterprise mobility has also witnessed the recent rise of AI-driven virtual assistants. As programs upgrade old smartphones or purchase new ones for the first time, they’re incorporating the AI technology that now comes standard on Apple, Google and Microsoft smartphones into their business operations. 

While it’s still early, the initial returns are encouraging. Companies that integrate virtual assistants into their program strategy should save time, reduce errors and improve employee efficiency.

Citizen Developers

The rise of citizen developers is another interesting industry trend that could prove useful to enterprise mobility programs sooner than you think. As more low- and no-code app platforms are developed, it’s becoming easier for people without programming knowledge to create functioning, secure apps. 

It won’t be long before organizations begin to take advantage of Rapid Mobile App Development (RMAD) and build most, if not all, of their enterprise apps in-house.

The future of enterprise mobility is here. Is your business ready?