Growing up: a look at enterprise mobile’s near future

  • Despite mobility’s infiltration into daily life, the technology is still in its adolescence.

  • Applications of location awareness are endless, from analytics to location-based triggers.

  • Full desktop experiences on mobile devices will soon become common.

Mobility’s sudden intrusion into our lives causes us to forget that the technology is still in its adolescence, making it subject to constant and rapid changes. Just consider mobile video calls, which weren’t even viable until about five years ago, and now are readily available on nearly all smartphones.

Consumers take the ever-changing environment in stride. Enterprises remain slower to acclimate, largely because of the tremendous amount of overhead required to manage the performance and security of enterprise mobility. According to the 2014-15 Nemertes Enterprise Benchmark, by the beginning of 2015, only about 60 percent of companies were utilizing Mobile Device Management (MDM), the most popular enterprise mobility management (EMM) tool, to support smartphones, tablets, and other emerging devices.

The lack of preparedness caught many companies off guard, resulting in lost opportunities to create better, more efficient solutions, not only for internal and external end users, but also for IT to manage the rapid increase of mobile devices entering the workplace. As a heads up, the following are on the cusp of being major disruptors, both commercially and internally.

Location and context awareness

Between Bluetooth and WiFi, location information can be tracked in real-time and can be quite accurate. Applications of location awareness are endless, from analytics in a retail store that can track movement patterns, to location-based triggers in a manufacturing setting, where all automation can be completely fueled by location data streaming in from beacons.

It is predicted that context awareness will be even more disruptive. Companies will likely turn mobile devices into the keycards of the 21st century, building granular profiles on devices that are easy to manage though backend MDM systems, allowing security and compliance to be individual-based, as opposed to blanketed.

Unified desktop and mobile devices

There is a blurring of the lines between desktop and mobile devices today, and it will only increase in the future. Currently, about 14 percent of companies are deploying mobile and desktop applications through the same platform. As HTML5 development matures and refines, the applications themselves will begin to blur between mobile to desktop. Like most websites that have both desktop and mobile optimized versions, applications will likely follow suit.

Many traditional mobile phone tasks, such as voice calling and text messaging, are already available on the desktop. Soon it will be commonplace to see full desktop experiences on mobile devices. Imagine a dock next to a simple display and keyboard. A mobile device placed into that dock could create a desktop instance, running flexible applications dynamically optimized for the current desktop environment. When this comes to fruition, it will cut the number of provisioned devices by up to half, as IT will have no need to deploy both computers and mobile devices.

The impact of mobile devices on the enterprise has already been felt, and this is just the start of the disruptive nature of mobility. As technologies continue to advance, keep a vigilant eye on mobility trends, and evaluate and plan to avoid falling behind or missing opportunities.

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Matthew Craig is a Research Lead at Nemertes Research. He has written this guest post for the Networking Exchange Blog.

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