2012 was the year of enterprise mobility as more and more companies, big and small, across the globe, initiated adopting mobile solutions. There was clamor for mobility from consumers as mobile became an indispensable gadget for them and from employees as they witnessed more possibilities for it in work. Early industry adopters like retail, banking and healthcare benefitted by quantifiable results in consumer loyalty, productivity and efficiency etc., further encouraged other sectors to adopt mobility into their ecosystem. Enabling technologies like Augmented Reality, NFC, RFID and cloud computing etc., also opened up new opportunities for businesses to leverage mobile technology. In short, in 2012, mobility was disruptive in enterprises unsettling the traditional people-product-process engagement. From why mobility, the focus shifted on how to mobilize and now enterprises are thinking: what more to mobilize?
There are far more possibilities for mobility beyond its current usage in enterprises. With the start of a new year, it’s worth keeping the ear to the ground and listen to the signals? In our cover story, this month, we look ahead to know how the enterprise mobility landscape will shape up in 2013.
Here’s what to expect this year-
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Mobility for all – Inside and outside
Enterprises till now have primarily focused on customer-centric apps that enable consumers getting access to products and services. Employees, on the other hand, have been demanding greater mobility in workplace. 2013 will see a giant leap as more and more organizations find greater benefits in mobile solutions catering to the inner needs of the organization. As a result, enterprise mobility, for the first time in many companies will see dedicated budgets, strategic focus and prioritized implementations. According to Yankee Group, “The proportion of companies increasing their budgets for mobile applications has almost doubled in the past year, from 28 percent to 51 percent of all companies spending more, with many looking at different use cases, both internal and customer-facing.” Enterprises will look beyond picking the low lying fruits of mobility resulting into better parity between consumers and employees. So, on one hand we will see apps providing product information to consumers but there will also be apps developed that will help employees check stock status, track product movements and so on. Mobility will also spread itself beyond travel, banking, finance, healthcare and retail etc., to other industry sectors like automotive and manufacturing on a bigger scale.
Apps – We will see more of it
2013 will see more apps in the enterprises. Enterprise apps will move beyond providing mail, calendar, messaging and database access etc. The major thrust will be on line-of-business apps that integrate processes, products and people by bringing more sophisticated functionalities and enabling access to enterprise software and infrastructure. Employees would be able to interact with machines in real-time. Cloud-based technologies like Platform as a Service (PaaS) will provide the right infrastructure to the enterprises to cost-effectively scale-up mobility and provide entire workforce access to it.
Devices – The shift
Enterprise mobility till last year had revolved around smartphone. But the entry of Tablets and its evolving utility in the workplace will mark the shift. There will be diversity in devices as seen in consumer world with Apple, Android further eating into Blackberry’s base. Bring Your Own Device (BYOD) strategy which sometime back generated a reluctant and at times a combative response from the decision-makers will be an established norm. Further, mobile strategies will no more be centered towards one particular device type or platform but will look to accommodate as much diversity as possible.
Machine-2-machine – The new connect
Enterprise mobile solutions will not only herald a more robust connectivity between employees but will also witness greater push into M2M communication. Decreasing M2M device costs; permeating wireless connectivity, increasing enterprise awareness and business case feasibility and supportive government regulations will be the drivers for M2M this year. According to a latest study by mobile network operator E-Plus, M2M SIM cards in use in Germany is forecast to grow to over 5 million by 2013, up from 2.3 million currently. The existing market applications of M2M communications are in the automotive, consumer electronics, healthcare, metering, POS/payment, tracking & tracing, remote maintenance & control, and security sectors.
The advent of smartphones and Tablets will provide Augmented Reality (AR) with a suitable platform for its mass usage. Till 2012, most of the usage of AR in mobility was limited to location-based and navigational applications. But, evolution of image recognition technologies and further developments in mobile computing will power the development of a wider range of applications that promise to take AR use to next-level and dilate its usage across the corporate ecosystem. Augmented Reality as an enabling technology will spread its wings in 2013 across industries- from media to education and healthcare to entertainment.
Mobile Device Management – The security cover
|Among organizations which have not yet deployed an MDM solution, 32% will deploy one in 2013 and additional 24% plan to deploy one in 2014• Enterprise applications with augmented reality elements are expected to account for the third-largest proportion of revenues by 2015. — Juniper Research• The leading factor (34%) cited for deploying an MDM solution was the potential for loss of intellectual property• Among respondents switching to a new MDM platform, 31% indicated that they would likely select a cloud-based solution. Of those, 55 percent said they would choose a private cloud solution for security reasons
• The top three reasons cited for choosing a cloud MDM solution were:
Source: Osterman Research
The proliferation of smartphones and Tablets of all sizes, platforms and functionalities, the gold rush for apps in enterprises coupled with adoption of BYOD strategy has led to deluge of security threats for enterprises. Securing critical corporate data hosted on mobile devices and accessed outside company’s network will drive enterprises to invest more in MDM solutions in 2013. According to Gartner, Inc., over the next five years, 65 percent of enterprises will adopt a mobile device management (MDM) solution for their corporate liable users. However, MDM in its present form will only be a step towards secured environment. As more data related threats emerge, we can see a much robust and broader approach towards mobile security in enterprises.
Mobile Payments – The cashless economy
Google Wallets, Squarebucks and payment services from mobile operators; mobile payments that started to heat-up in 2012 will continue the momentum and gain wider traction in 2013. For consumers, it is getting more convenient paying through mobile and enterprises are willing to meet the new demands of consumers. However, as more and more people use mobile for payments, the opportunities for security breaches and frauds will grow, calling for a fresh approach and robust technical infrastructure.
Consumer Experience – New rules of engagement
2012 saw enterprises adopting mobility to engage with its consumer base. The buyers’ aspirations too have risen to a level where they want their device to help them shop. Till now, for most of the companies, mobility was restricted to providing consumers an alternate access to its products & solutions. 2013 will set new rules of consumer engagement as companies use enabling technologies like Augmented Reality, context based searches, Near Field Communications, and mobile payments etc., to offer immersive experience.
2012 was a pretty eventful year as mobile became a disruptive force in enterprises. 2013 is expected to be a major turning-point in enterprise mobility. An year that can well decide the course for the future. Let’s see how it unfolds.