Our predictions for enterprise mobility trends in 2017
Every new year, technology writers highlight the trends to watch out for over the next twelve months.A shortlist appears like a roll call of the overhyped and frankly under researched buzzwords that are always milling about the technology industry. This year it’s all about VR, AR, AI, 5G, Machine Learning, IoT and Autonomous vehicles.
In this post, we’ll try and get a little more grounded. Below we identify some trends that we believe will impact the lives of those responsible for mobility within the enterprise. Along the way, we also highlight a couple of things you can safely ignore and hopefully give you some headspace to focus on what’s really important.
On 15 June this year, those of us living in the EU will be toasting the end of roaming charges – just in time for summer. Their end should offer considerable comfort: no more wondering whether all your employees are on the right roaming package or whether they’ll ignore those pesky SMS roaming alerts. And no more returning from holidays to discover that while you have been sunning yourself your partner has used up the entire company’s roaming allowance watching Game of Thrones.
The Growth of Data
Ironically, the abolition of EU roaming charges in June should encourage a leap in data usage abroad. Already, operators who have introduced ‘roam like at home’ packages have seen customers use up to 10 times the amount of data they traditionally used while out of the country. Combine this with the massive growth in video consumption, as messaging apps transform the ways in which people communicate. Consider the impact of Facebook Live, Twitter Live and Instagram Live to start with and add Snapchat (where upwards of 10 billion videos are watched each day). Now examine the traffic coming from your company mobile devices and it will become pretty clear that it’s not all driven by intensive emailing and rapid data entry on enterprise apps!
The Rise of Microsoft
One notable trend we’ve noticed over the last twelve months is a willingness among enterprises to consolidate their end-point management on Microsoft. By bundling Intune as an offering Microsoft has already established a foothold in the enterprise MDM arena. By simultaneously narrowing the functionality gap with standalone MDM vendors Intune has become a realistic alternative for some enterprises. This year, as MDM licenses come up for renewal, the advantages of a free and single toolset may prove irresistible to some enterprises.
A longer bet would be that Microsoft establishes a firm foothold in the phone market. The Surface Phone is due to debut in summer and will address a significant gap for those who invested in an earlier generation of Windows phones. If it can make a success of this product the chances of Microsoft gaining market share in the enterprise phone market are reasonable, given the advantages for manageability and deep integration with enterprise IT that Microsoft can offer.
The Dogs that won’t bark
It is well understood that in the medium to long term, the Internet Of Things has the potential to revolutionize how we live and work. Nonetheless, we don’t expect IoT to significantly impact enterprise IT in 2017. That’s not to underestimate the transformative power of this technology across many industries. It’s just to recognize that in the short term the applications are likely to be niche or standalone and remain outside the mainstream concerns of enterprise IT professionals.
5G is another technology that won’t have a major impact on our market in the short-term. Today it’s a technology which the carriers are only starting to implement in testbed situations. And even when it does arrive its impact will be felt only gradually.
Finally, it would be remiss to finish this post without noting that this month marks the tenth anniversary of the first iPhone (it actually shipped in June 2006, but Steve Jobs originally made his announcement on 9 January in perfect time to steal the buzz from CES). Looking back, it is remarkable to think not just of how the mobility landscape was utterly transformed by the emergence of this killer device (think Nokia and Blackberry to mention just two) but that the first version didn’t even support 3G.
Hopefully, Apple will have something special in store for us all when the tenth-anniversary edition is launched later this year.