Mobile Trends for 2010
With the New Year approaching, it's time for industry players to gaze into their crystal balls and articulate what big developments they foresee for the future of the wireless sector.
In 2008 the mobile industry experienced a watershed year, as new operating systems including webOS and Android, gained traction in the market, while new alliances were forged -- Verizon and Google -- and older ones -- Apple and AT&T -- came out of the honeymoon phase.
Motorola and Palm, stalwarts that had lost the luster of earlier eras, jumped back in the market with come-back bids based on Android and webOS, respectively, and released several franchise handsets.
Research In Motion began aggressively courting consumers, while Apple's iPhone OS was updated, in part, to help the iPhone become more enterprise-friendly.
Many mobile management firms scrambled to extend support for the fragmented OS landscape, adding support for webOS, the iPhone OS and Android.
Everyone, it seems, opened an app store.
So, as the year draws to a close, let's look ahead.
Weighing in for 2010 is Antenna Software, which outlined 10 key mobile enterprise trends we'll see over the next 12 months that IT departments should be aware of when planning their wireless strategy.
1. The Big Productivity Squeeze
Many companies have realized that mobility allows them to run efficiently while also helping to increase worker productivity and improve customer satisfaction at every touch point in the field. Because of this, analysts say the mobility market is poised for double-digit growth at a time when overall IT spending is predicted to remain flat over the next 12 to 18 months.
The mobile middleware market is expected to grow from $853.8 million in 2008 to $1.6 billion in 2013, at a CAGR of 13.6 percent, according to IDC's Worldwide Mobile Middleware 2009-2013 Forecast and 2008 Vendor Shares from July 2009 .
2. Left to Their Own Devices
Forward-looking IT departments will stop fretting over personally liable devices and embrace them as a potential opportunity for improving user satisfaction -- which will also boost productivity -- while cutting costs. In the long run, many mobile managers will realize it is not feasible to standardize on just one device or operating system.
3. App Stores Ready for Business
There are thousands of apps in consumer app stores today, but only a fraction are relevant for the enterprise. Moreover, businesses want to be able to vet and control their mobile enterprise applications, as well as deploy them in a highly secure, reliable and manageable fashion. Company-branded and controlled app stores will enable enterprises to do just that, easily accommodating a wide range of users on multiple and varied devices.
4. Middleware Finally Gets Sexy
Increasing diversity and complexity in the mobile market will mean middleware will play a more integral role in the enterprise. IT departments will need mobile applications that integrate with a variety of systems from legacy back ends to Web 2.0 social media.
5. The Outlook for Mobility is Cloudy
More businesses will realize the benefits of a SaaS-based mobile delivery model in 2010 -- as it gives them the flexibility to scale their deployment up or down, stay ahead of the developments and focus on strategic issues rather than tactical ones.
Almost 40 percent of organizations plan to deploy a SaaS-based mobile solution in the next 12-18 months, according to a recent IDC report, "Enterprise Mobility in the Cloud from October 2009."
6. Smaller Windows, Better Visibility
Business intelligence (BI) will become increasingly mobilized and, in turn, mobility will drive better BI. As more workers use mobile apps, data is accrued in real time to feed BI engines. Executives will be glued to their mobile screens for the latest stats on their business.