Gartner mobile technology trends 2013 to 2017

MDSL listened recently to an interesting and informative webinar hosted by Mr Nick Jones, vice president and distinguished analyst at Gartner, on mobile technology trends between now and 2017.

Nick made the point that mobility is now so central to the ethos of the enterprise that it has become a flavour which you can slot into what he called a multi-channel strategy for the enterprise, with many organisations appointing chief mobility officers (CMOs) and chief information officers (CIOs) to oversee this area. The days when there was one single road to success have disappeared.

He noted that there was a lot of synergy between mobile, cloud, social media and the big data analytics within the enterprise, now that mobile devices are so ubiquitous. Staff can now use their mobile devices to link up to their own private clouds, as well as to the corporate cloud and almost any corporate network.

Nick made the point that there were now no enterprise devices — Apple and Android have cornered the market, as the Bring Your Own Device trends continues to gather force and consumerisation has swept the planet. While manufacturers such as HTC, Tyson, Mozilla and Firefox continue their attempts to muscle into the market, it is perhaps a case of too little too late – and even the mighty Microsoft has only managed to ‘bag’ itself third place in the mobile race because it was so slow and confused getting into the market.

Gartner predicts that, by 2014, 65% of all phones purchased will be smartphones, rising to 82% in 2017. Android, with an estimated 75% market share, will remain the dominant operating system, with the Apple OS close behind and Microsoft windows trailing third with 12% of the market. Gartner does not see RIM, Tyson or Firefox as presenting much of a threat to the three leading players, although RIM can hold onto its niche market probably because of the quality of BB10 – albeit very late to the party.

The other enterprise-connected mobile device, of course, is the tablet and its many variations. While Microsoft Windows will always be the operating system of choice for the enterprise – mainly because of the Microsoft-Intel tie-in (Wintel) with PCs, particularly with Intel’s new Haswell and Broadwell chips coming out – Apple still has the number one position for its tablet operating system with Android a very close number two. Consumers will continue opt for Apple for style and Android for price and functionality.

In the next few years, mobile technology will become exceptionally varied, with everything from 27 inch tablets to transformables, Windows 8 and touch ultra-books bringing diversity into the workplace, not to mention the arrival of new smartphones and feature phones as prices drop. Android will have the widest price and performance range – from between $40/$50 for a smartphone right up to its high-end, where user interfaces will become far more sophisticated. There will be a greater blurring of the dividing line between feature phones and smartphones.

However, the introduction of more and more features to smartphones – feature recognition, for example – plus the sheer number of applications which have to be supported, could become a major problem for the enterprise. Businesses will have to think very tactically in the next few years to keep up-to-date with all the new developments in this field, and be able to respond appropriately without overreacting, while new disciplines such as Mobile Device Management and Mobile Application Management will come to the fore.

The enterprise will keep on top of the “app explosion”, since soon (if not already) there will be a mobile app for almost everything. There is an increasing integration with the wide range of smart, networked consumer electronics via mobile apps, providing a synergy between mobility and the world of Machine-to-Machine (M2M), or the “Internet of Things”. These connected devices include smart watches, a smart fork connected to an app to tell you – if you didn’t already know – that you’re eating too quickly or unhealthily, and smart devices connected to everything from baseballs to light bulbs, enabling your mobile handsets to become the hub of your personal body/area network. Food for thought, indeed.

In Part 2: Why tactics are the new strategy; what mobile security will look like; mobile tools and mobile testing. Read more

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