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Thanks to Muppalla Sridhar, one of the organizers for Tech Symposium, I had the pleasure of moderating a panel entitled “ Enterprise Mobility – Challenges and Opportunities”. This is a summary from this session which will give a quick overview of various issues in this sector.

Thanks to my following fellow panelists who helped me with various questions including some from the audience

  • Sanjeev Gupta (General Manager, Avaya)
  • Ashwin Krishnan (Director, Product Management,Juniper Networks)
  • Indranil Chatterjee (VP Product Management, Openwave Mobility)
  • Toby Rush (CEO,EyeVerify)

The issues discussed can be split into the following main heading

  • BYOD – Bring your own device
  • Type of Device – Android, iOS or Windows
  • Making a Business Case
  • Security & Authentication
  • Applications and App Stores
  • Connectivity and Service Provider Issues

BYOD

With the consumerization of IT, consumers are more in control of what mobile devices they use. So rather than employees having multiple phones and tablets, enterprises have decided to allow employees to bring their own device or as someone put it more aptly as LYOD – lease your own device to the enterprise.

 Type of Device

Some discussions reaffirmed that RIM’s Blackberry failed to deliver to market expectation and is losing market share constantly. Apple iOS is very popular and almost the only tablet device in the corporate world. Android is important and with some new advancements like from Samsung in virtualization, it may become more enterprise ready. Microsoft Windows8 is great on paper but it is not clear if users will adopt it as fast as IT and/or Microsoft may like to see. Bottom line, any device that wins users will become the choice of enterprise as well.

 Making a Business Case

Sanjay Gupta, both in his session and at the panel, offered many examples of companies in healthcare and government who have justified use of iPad due to increased productivity like saving of 15 minutes per day of nurse time. May be we can share some of those slides in Slideshare at a later time.

 Security & Authentication

Security is paramount but focus of securing device needs to shift to securing enterprise data. VPN systems may not an ideal solution for securing mobile devices unlike PCs due to various reasons including power issues of mobile device. Toby Rush feels time for biometric security has now come with new cameras and additional capabilities on mobile devices and their software.

 Applications & App Stores

First and foremost, users need access to everyday files on their mobile devices something DocSync.Net offers. Then there is the issue of porting and running enterprise apps and with the fragmentation of so many devices this task is not easy. To know whether a particular app is secure or not is a challenge for which there are no clear answers but user education and enterprise authorized app stores were offered as possible solutions without any conclusion.

 Connectivity and Service Provider Issues

Ideally enterprises would like to get data only plans and family calling type plans for data services. The service provider billing systems will take some time to get there even if they are ready to offer such services. It was also felt that large operators like Verizon and AT&T have less incentive to offer these services and these services may initially come from regional operators.

 Conclusion

Enterprise mobility is a new frontier with many issues and so there are many opportunities for entrepreneurs and enterprising vendors in the eco systems to take advantage of it.

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Mobile Computing, Social Networking and Cloud Computing have been driving tech industry for 2010 and will likely continue to be the driver for this year. What differences, if any, will be felt in evolution of these trends this year. Here are some of my opinions and I sure would like to hear yours on these topics. Part-I of this blog deals with Mobile issues while Part-II will deal with Social Networking issues while Part-III will deal with Cloud Computing.

Mobile Computing Trends

The three big trends in Mobile Computing are:

  • Android and Mobile Phones
  • Tablets and iPad
  • Apps Apps

Android and Mobile Phones

Android was the big news of 2010 and will continue its march into mobile dominance. However, as Android moves more into the mainstream, battery life, fragmentation, usability and app store issues will come in its way of total domination. Apple will innovate again this time improving speech interface and competing with Google on replacing our remotes, wallets and keys with mobile phone. In the mobile industry, the dominance for No.3 spot will be fought hard between Microsoft, Nokia and RIM. Who do you think will be the winner in the end?

Tablets and iPad

Tablet was the big news of 2010 but competition to iPad only arrives this year. Android may take the second spot and battle for third spot will be fought between HP’s Palmtop, RIM’s Playbook and a player we don’t know about yet? Having used iPad for the last few months, I think Tablets have the potential to replace laptops for many users. What are your experiences?

Apps Apps

Apps was the big news of 2010 with limited monetization but new business models will emerge making monetization easier. HTML5 will become viable for many content applications and start to become the trend of 2011. In fact, that is the only way Microsoft, Nokia and RIM can neutralize some of the momentum of Android and iOS applications. You can see over 70 conversations on Linkedin at http://linkd.in/h7hhr5 about this topic

Conclusion

Google’s Android and Apple’s iOS will continue its dominance for mobile phone and tablets but battle for No.3 spot will be fought between HP, Microsoft, Nokia and RIM.

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