What Everyone Ought to Know About Identifying a Mobile Computing Platform for Enterprise Mobility

What Everybody Ought to Know About Identifying a Mobile Computing Platform for Enterprise Mobility

What Everybody Ought to Know About Identifying a Mobile Computing Platform for Enterprise Mobility
The Osborne is now a Museum Piece

Guest Post by Timothy C B Cox. I always have said the mobile computer like the smart phone is not much use without applications, and it’s true for all  enterprise solutions which makes identifying a mobile computing platform for enterprise mobility such an important task.

But the platform does play an important part in the solution and should not be overlooked as just an easy decision because of our familiarity with smart consumer devices.  Recently Apple reported a drop in product margin’s, but their pricing has not really changed.  It shows smart phones are not going to get any cheaper anytime soon.

If anything consumer choice will be between the high margin expensive full featured hand-sets and the lower cost feature limited devices.  Or putting it another way, choosing between high margin devices and low margin devices.  Of course it’s in the interests of the vendor to urge the consumer to purchase the high margin product.

So future options are limited, I see them trying to protect existing product margins by releasing a new product with lower cost base.  I cannot see them compromising flagship products in terms of quality or features being a route for established brands when they battling with each other for market share.

For Example….

Samsung is currently being probed by the Taiwanese authorities for possibly paying people to post bad reviews and poor readability reports for the HTC One in Taiwan.  The HTC One uses higher quality materials in its case design and Samsung is concerned they may get into a new battle where their material costs increase to defend against other products, and this would be an unwanted downward pressure on their product margins.

The Apple iPhone is generally accepted to be of high quality design and build.  What Samsung fears is having to compete with another Android handset where the only real difference is quality of materials used in it’s industrial design.

Everyone selling is under pressure from falling margins!

Mobile Computing Platform for Enterprise Mobility

Rugged devices, though initially more expensive do last longer before being replaced, they are more stable in design and feature sets.  Typical customers do not like unpleasant surprises, because their investment is larger and the time to reach their ROI is longer.

You shouldn’t expect rugged device makers to jump onto latest OS releases or design features their customer base has a predefined expectation of their products.  If you look at Conical responsible for the open source Ubuntu Linux distribution, they have a two track release solution, a LTS or Long Term Support release and a general release.  Think of their LTS release as the enterprise edition (stable) with the general release aimed directly at the consumer (with latest features).

Rugged device manufactures also work to the LTS concept but all their products adhere to the LTS concept!  Where they commit to a number of years of support, service and updates for their platform.

Enterprise customers must get a stable platform to build their business; not to be distracted by worrisome and unimportant support and life cycling of the product.  It allows customer’s to manage their mobility system over a known period of stability in terms of the platform, allowing them to build and plan their applications and solutions with very low risk along with favorable Total Cost of Ownership TCO numbers.

Buy a consumer device for use in the mobile workforce and you will be going through some sort of product and/or software refresh every year.  Because consumer devices change with annoyingly regularity, to the delight of the vendors and retail stores, as it drains consumers wallets regularly.

In short, it’s not in best interests for consumer products to have a LTS approach, they rely on phones being replaced regularly to maintain revenues.  Google likes to tell the market they have 1.5 million phone activations every day, but they don’t let on if these are existing users upgrading or new customers.

In April 2013 Google changed from reporting new hand-set activations to only reporting device visits to their on-line app store called ‘Play Store’!

So a LTS products may not have all the latest features and leading edge (or bleeding edge) options like  consumer products.  But they are what is called ‘stable’ releases, nothing is included that may have a negative affect on smooth running of the device.  Be assured the LTS designed products do not suffer like some iPhone batteries have after a recent iOS update from Apple, and solved by two subsequent updates.

Imagine (as an enterprise user) having to manage, push and pay for (if pushed over 3G) an update to your mobile workforce.  Not to mention dealing with users suffering from shorter than expected battery life, this happen recently with Apples iOS devices.  Just because the vendor pushed an update to hand-sets automatically.

Get a new Windows Phone device, and even if you to use it in the enterprise, be ready to create a new Hotmail (Microsoft Live) account for each device.  Use Bing to find out more! Something else to manage and filter and control and lock down and…

It’s not the incorrect decision to purchase a consumer device, all companies are at different stages in their cooperate life.  Some have more important projects with bigger positive impact on their operations commanding a larger percentage of the available budgets.  Some may not be able to afford the initial costs of rugged mobile devices.

No matter how you look at it, there is someone who will supply a product to fit your financial requirements, guaranteed!  So I would go as far as to suggest that companies who can only afford consumer devices or think they are stretched too much to get into rugged devices should wait until they have the budget or consider leasing, because maybe they are spending their cash on the wrong kind of project and its better spent elsewhere!!

So don’t dismiss those who tell you ‘you’re making a huge/massive mistake by looking at consumer products’.  Help them understand where your company is today and what resources and projects you are working with.  It will save everyone a whole lot of wasted time and money!

Sometimes it’s difficult for people to understand why a company would choose what looks to be an inferior product.  I would like to be driving a Range Rover and I could if I wanted, but I drive a cheaper 4×4 because my children are still young and make a complete mess of the interior.  So choosing the cheaper car fits my situation today and I live with that decision and my car delivers exactly what I expect!

What Everyone Ought to Know About Identifying a Mobile Computing Platform for Enterprise Mobility

Timothy C B Cox Mobile Workforce Strategy Consultant based in Dubai. Get in touch with Tim through Linkedin

What Everybody Ought to Know About Identifying a Mobile Computing Platform for Enterprise Mobility

Call us to discuss how we can help you identify the right opertaing system for your enterprise mobility project.

Is Ubuntu relevant for Enterprise Mobility ?

Is Ubuntu relevant for Enterprise Mobility ?

Ubuntu is backed by Canonical

Firstly what is Ubuntu? It is a Debian Linux-based operating  system and is the most popular Linux version for desktop OS devices. It is used by those wanting more control over their system and as alternative to Microsoft. But, is Ubuntu relevant for Enterprise Mobility ?

 

Now as founder Mark Shuttleworth promised it has a mobile version offering users a desktop experience running on a smartphone. The OS for mobile is actually the same as OS for Ubuntu desktop, so if running solely on the phone or via an external monitor the display will be the same apart from screen size. This is similar to something we have already seen on the Motorola Atrix, but since Ubuntu is running as a full OS it will provide full OS features and interaction.

Ubuntu Industry Proposition

Variants of Ubuntu are already available on Nexus 7 and Android high end devices with multi-core processors. When installed on Android the user will only access Ubuntu when docked with an external monitor. It turns your smartphone into a smartphone/PC.

What about apps? There are already thousands of applications written for Ubuntu many of which are free. Developers have the easy task of changing the screen layout to fit a smartphone screen.

What does this mean for Android and iOS ?

Competition and possibly lots of it. The Ubuntu phone OS is aimed at two communities.

  1. The Enterprise where companies are looking to combine phone thin client and desktop into one highly secure device. The attraction being that you end up with all the security of UNIX in your in pocket whilst using the same Ubuntu management tools from the desktop and server deployments.
  2. The Consumer where network providers want to bring lean beautiful smartphones to market that help to differentate their offerings from each other.

One major advantage of Ubuntu phone is the ability to upgrade the OS when a new release becomes available. If you have ever had an older Android phone and are stuck on V2.1 you’ll know frustrating it is when you’d like to upgrade. Thankfully this is not the case with Ubuntu phone.

Will Enterprise Mobility Device Users Flock to Ubuntu?

Is Ubuntu relevant for Enterprise Mobility ?. Unclear at present but it has potential and should be good for apps that primarily access the web.

It will be interesting to see how Ubuntu does in the battle for market share apart from being free, it certainly looks to tick all the boxes for corporate users.

  1. Close alliance with ARM. Will help convince the corporate community to invest in new non “WinTel” product.
  2. Makes further sense of building apps in HTML 5. No need to adopt another “native” environment for mobile application development good news for return on investment.
  3. High Degree of Security. Already a key element of enterprise mobility deployments.
  4. Desktop/Phone Compatibility. Could enable a whole new category of apps combining mobile and at desk elements.
  5. It may well add another dimension to the ongoing debate about BYOD – Bring Your Own Device.

Get in touch to book your free webinar or consultation visit and see how we can help you wade through the options for your Enterprise Mobility project.

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Seven Key Enterprise Mobility IT Trends for 2013

Seven Key Enterprise Mobility IT Trends for 2013

Seven Key Enterprise Mobility IT Trends for 2013

It’s that time of year again when industry pundits stick their neck out and predict what IT trends will be hot in the next twelve months. Our footprint is mobile computing in business so our seven key enterprise mobility IT trends for 2013 are a tad more prosaic than 3D printing foldable screens and High Def smart televisions. But this stuff is important as trying to balance the never ending march of technology with achieving a return on investment is where the rubber meets the road for a mobile deployment.

1. Mobility in the Enterprise

To paraphrase Bill Clinton “It’s Mobile, Stupid..” Smart companies in the enterprise have been enjoying the productivity benefits of enterprise mobility for years and many of them are on their second or third refresh. However not many expected the explosion of mobility driven apps that have come from the huge adoption of smart phones and the rise of Android and iOS.  In some cases employees are now more mobile savvy than their IT departments.

The message for Finance Operations and IT leaders in any industry vertical is simple, get with it or lose out to competitors who adopt enterprise mobility apps to streamline remote worker processes improve productivity and reduce admin cycle times.  We don’t expect all the new adopters to adopt a strategic to this but we can hope…

2. More, Not Less Hardware Choices

The rugged hardware device industry long tail will continue. Motorola and Honeywell have acquired companies to maintain their volume position in the enterprise mobility market. But a never ending supply of no name white label handheld and tablet devices will come out of China and Taiwan offering lower price points and non-conventional ways to market. Expect the products and service offerings to become better.

3. Security and Mobile Device Management

According to a report issued by Dark Reading 47 percent of enterprises are predicting a bigger budget for security in 2013.  This has become a key area so expect Mobile Device Management MDM products such as Soti and ways of securing the apps infrastructure to mop up more IT spend.

4. Integration

Will simply become more important than ever. More mobile apps means more integration with existing ERP CRM and decision management systems.

5. Mobile Payments

In the consumer space 2013 may well be the year that consumers in stores start using the mobile wallet and contact less payment seriously.

Products such as Square that enable payments for Android and iOS and the Motorola MPM-100 will allow payment to be transacted at the point of delivery rather than at the end of an invoice paper chase. Expect this to enable more field based customer service activities in many applications such as retail dining home delivery and field service areas such as pest control.

6. Multiple OS Platform Support

Windows .NET is not going away just yet but the advance of Android and iOS into the enterprise space will compel solution providers to support apps on various platforms. Expect the Native Vs Web app debate to become more partisan in tone.

“I see an accelerated entry of Android into the marketplace, especially among companies who are integrating “hard” and “soft” workforces and deploying BYOD solutions”  Said Michael Forbes, Vice President of Marketing at axxun

7. The Cloud means BYOD right ?

Well maybe… Enterprises must come to terms with the fact that according to Forrester in excess of 66% of employees bring two devices to work. For Bring Your Own Device to work the need to separate private and business data will become…interesting.

Even if BYOD is not the approach of choice more enterprises are adopting some sort of cloud computing which means the prospect of an app being hosted outside the traditional in house network and paid for on a per use basis vs a perpetual model may well start to become the norm in 2013.

The Wildcards

Our seven key enterprise mobility IT trends for 2013 are factors we can already see at work. Both of our wildcards have generated a lot of press lately but are perhaps just over the horizon in terms of impact this year for enterprise mobility.

4G LTE

For sure more agile feature rich apps to increase data capture of  images videos and telemetry would be a great addition in many circumstances. How relevant this is to the typical enterprise mobility deployment will depend in part on the availability of a network and devices to exploit a super fast connection. Expect buyers to want to future-proof devices by specifying 4G LTE this year even if they don’t actually use it.

Ubuntu

Although the OS has been around a while the Ubuntu phone is a as Simon Phipps explains an intriguing addition to the mobility landscape.  It supports HTML5 so provides an alternative platform for existing web apps rather than creating another “native” approach.

We can help you wade through the options with your Enterprise Mobility project.

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