02/27/2015

Event Recap ― IBM InterConnect

I had the opportunity to attend IBM's InterConnect event earlier this week in Las Vegas; the event was well attended (20K+ attendees) and showcased the depth and breadth of IBM's Cloud, Mobile, Security, and DevOps capabilities. The inaugural InterConnect event combined three previously separate IBM events (Pulse, Innovate and Impact). IBM's executives were successful in articulating the progress the vendor has made in the key strategic areas the company has focused on (analytics, mobility, security and cloud computing).

Robert LeBlanc, the company's SVP of Cloud, kicked off the event with a discussion of the importance of hybrid cloud. LeBlanc made is clear that progress was being made and that IBM was dedicated to "breaking down the barriers between clouds and on-premise IT systems, providing clients with control, visibility and security as they use the public clouds. Data location across an ever-growing number of clouds is an increasing concern for customers, and we are unveiling new application portability and developer services to make this easier to manage."

Interconnect2

While IBM had (arguably) the earliest vision for cloud computing, they needed to go big with their cloud messaging based on the visible traction that others have achieved (predominantly Microsoft and Amazon); in fact, the company's CEO, Ginni Rometty, spoke just yesterday at the company's annual investor briefing and made clear that she expects that the nexus of cloud, big data/analytics, enterprise mobile/social, and computer security would add promised to grow these businesses from $25B to $40B by 2018 (or ~40% of the company’s revenues in 2018).  

Holding out on Mobile

Interconnect1

While IBM revealed it had enhanced (and modularized) its MobileFirst Platform at InterConnect, it felt as though they were holding out on revealing key details on their partnership with Apple. However, with Mobile World Congress right around the corner, this makes sense, especially as IBM informed analysts/press/media that a press conference on the IBM/Apple partnership would take place at MWC on Monday, March 3.

The MobileFirst Platform enhancements provide enterprise-grade capabilities specifically aimed at:

Continuous Improvement: Collecting in app usage and feedback for enhanced sentiment analysis and crash analytics; more easily manage app iterations and release cycles.

Security: Protecting enterprise data from exposure through mobile exploits using advanced user authentication and supporting app authenticity, encrypting local data and performing app scanning.

Contextualization and Personalization: Developing proximity-aware mobile apps to create relevant, contextual mobile experiences that connect insights from digital engagement and physical presence.

Enabling Data Rich Apps: Providing mobile data through the platform's Cloudant module that allows organizations to store, sync, scale and connect to data in enterprise systems.

IBM had several of its prominent mobile customers (Bancroft, Comdata, ICICI Bank, and Kohl's) share their stories on how the mobile application(s) they have developed have transformed their workflows and day-to-day routines. What I found to be most impressive was the user adoption the companies achieved (and how quickly the apps were embraced).

Partner Enablement (Mobile Perspective)

The MobileFirst Platform Foundation 6.2 has created far-reaching opportunities across a broad spectrum of industry verticals. One such application is CSC’s integrated digital Electronic Patient Record (EPR) solution, Lorenzo Mobile. Through the use of Worklight, the EPR is a platform- and device-agnostic solution that meets all relevant health care IT standards. Key security features include SSL-encryption, dual-factor authentication through NFC and PIN, and IBM’s MaaS360, while also enabling PAC integration and unified push notifications and offline capabilities. While the soon-to-be launched solution will likely remain UK-only for the foreseeable future, rather than taking on health care giants like Siemens and Cerner, Lorenzo Mobile nevertheless represents the potential for the industry-changing potential of emerging solutions providers.

The VDC Mobile Team is off to Barcelona this afternoon - we're looking forward to hearing more details from IBM at the show. Be sure to follow us on Twitter for coverage of #MWC15!

With Kathryn Nassberg, Analyst

Is Augmented Reality Primed for Warehouse Automation?

The trend of augmented reality (AR) has been picking up steam. Much of the recent hype stemmed from the Microsoft announcement of its HoloLens last month, where there was considerable buzz surrounding consumer applications for the device that bordered on the futuristic appeal of 1950’s world of tomorrow. However, the more grounded applications for Augmented Reality that are emerging are firmly planted in the realm of enterprise. Warehousing and logistics have long been a hotbed of activity for portable and wearable technology, where the opportunity to free up a workers hands has immediate productivity benefits and a strong ROI profile. Wearable voice-enabled picking solutions and wrist and finger mounted scanning solutions have been successfully used in these environments for over a decade. These early wearable logistics solutions, however, have also not changed materially opening the door for innovation.

 Much of the recent wearable technology attention has been directed towards heads up displays and smart glasses. What became evident very early was that this technology was not suitable for mass market consumer applications. However, in the enterprise for B2B applications, the barriers regarding aesthetics and implications for social interactions can more easily be overcome. Therefore it is not surprising to witness the level of interest and evaluation these solutions have garnered for workflows in logistics, field service and others where the benefits of hands free operation could be clearly articulated.  The question, however, is whether these next generation wearable solutions are ready for prime time and whether they significantly improve workflows – and/or lower cost of ownership – when compared to existing automation solutions.

There have been several prominent and well designed demos designed to show the potential smart glasses and AR overlays in the warehouse. VDC recently had the opportunity to speak with a prominent Tier-1 logistics company to understand what its early-stage technology incubator was doing with its AR evaluation efforts.

The future isn’t quite here

Although the application of AR and smart glasses could support various workflows across operations, the firm in question focused its initial evaluation on the most approachable opportunities in warehouse operations and, more specifically, picking, packing, and sorting applications. The higher level objective was to test the overall viability of these solutions and also measure the results against traditional RF scanning solutions. At the end of the day the key takeaways suggested that picking productivity improvements and picking accuracy improvements were very real in addition to ancillary benefits from employee satisfaction and paper reduction. However, what was also clear was that the underlying technology was not sufficiently mature.

While smartglasses and AR overlap technology was clearly easy to use and employees took to it fairly quickly, key challenges surrounding scanning functionality (i.e. using a scanner integrated with the glasses), severe battery life limitations, unstable connectivity and price point of some of the options represented real issues.

However, the bigger question for us was WHY? Not so much why the company was testing smart glasses and AR overlays, but rather why was its picking workflow so inefficient and error prone to begin with. The use of (error prone) paper pick lists, handheld RF scanners and other process inefficiencies could (or rather should) all be mitigated with the adoption of other technology best practices widely accepted for these workflows, namely wearable voice-based solutions.

Existing solutions today – either purpose built from vendors like Vocollect (Honeywell) or multi-modal solutions from vendors like Wavelink – have proven themselves as especially effective for applications such as high speed picking. Recent research conducted by VDC reveals that end users of these solutions experienced at least a 10% increase in picking productivity and 10% increase in picking accuracy after deploying these solutions. If cost remains a reason why many warehousing operations have opted to remain with handheld devices over voice-based solutions, AR will do little to alleviate the issue. At the end of the day, technology should serve as a means to an end, rather than serving as the end itself. While the pace of innovation in enterprise mobility is continues to pick up speed and organizations should constantly be pushing themselves to do better, often times the “shiny new toy” does not quite live up to expectations and the “tried and true” represents the better option. 

 

With David Krebs, EVP

02/26/2015

MWC 2015: Pre-Show Expectations

Barcelona is again set to become the epicenter of all things mobile with MWC 2015 upon us. A team of four VDC analysts will be roaming the exhibit floors at Fira Gran Via - not to mention the odd Tapas bar in Barcelona's Barrio Gotico. With our calendars maxed, we are eagerly anticipating this year's story-lines. Using our 2015 research calendar as the backdrop, some of the themes we will be following closely include:

1. (Non-iOS) Mobile Device Announcements. Clearly what creates the most greatest buzz at these shows - and MWC 2015 won't be any different - are the mobile device announcements. Minus Apple, MWC represents the launching pad for other OEMs, especially those running Android. With the massive success of Apple's iPhone 6 and widely circulating reports of Apple's share of smartphone profits reaching almost 90% (astounding considering its market share of ~15%), this will be a VERY important show for Android OEMs (and more specifically Samsung). All eyes will be on Samsung on March 1st when it is expected to release its flagship S6 smartphone. While there is not much expected in terms of real innovation (rather incremental improvements), we should expect substantial improvements in build quality, a much more seamless OS stack (less bloatware) and some gimmicky functionality like wireless charging. Although it is premature to suggest this as a "make or break" device for Samsung, the pressure is certainly mounting as the company is increasingly vulnerable with marginalized competitive differentiation. 

2. Windows 10. Although under Nadella Microsoft is becoming more adept at competing without the benefit of OS dominance, it sure would enjoy the fruits of a successful Windows 10. While it is unlikely for Windows 10 to substantially move the needle for Microsoft in terms of smartphone OS share, many of VDC's enterprise mobility clients are rooting for a strong showing. Several OEMs are using the crowded Android landscape as an opportunity to differentiate through Windows 10. We will be very interested to see how the vision of Windows 10 translates across all form factors. 

3. Enterprise mobile apps and the IBM-Apple alliance. Apple's absence from IBM InterConnect this week certainly did not go unnoticed, prompting many to question the strength of the relationship. Although Apple is not exhibiting at MWC, a IBM press conference that will cover the "next chapter of their relationship" will be compelling. While not a top-line needle mover in 2015, this relationship is perhaps even more important for IBM as it looks to offset the challenging outlook for its overall business and as it looks to transition its revenue base to cloud services, analytics technology, security and businesses related to mobile devices and social networks. Beyond IBM, messages from other enterprise IT stalwarts SAP and Oracle and their mobility initiatives will be important. With more organizations eager to provide mobile access to key enterprise applications and to transform existing workflows, these vendors need to be doing more - and have the opportunity to do more. 

4. No more secrets: mobile security is no joke. The recent cyber attacks at Sony and hacks/compromises at Gemalto (cracking encryption keys in SIM cards) as well as Home Depot and Target compromises only scratch the surface about the extent to which information can be compromised. This cannot be the new normal. Secure communications is becoming much more critical and not only in the highly regulated, highly sensitive market segments. Start-ups such as Blackphone and USMobile are expected to play an increasingly prominent role. In addition, Blackberry, long the torchbearer for best in class mobile security, is teaming with Google to do what others have failed at, legitimizing security for Android devices in the enterprise. Secure mobile browsing and secure messaging are two of the areas driving significant requirements.

5. Creation of meaningful value.  It is high time to shift the conversation from technical capabilities to the creation of tangible business value. Avoiding the inevitable spec sheet comparison, it is time to pressure vendors on how the solutions are being applied to derive real benefits. From an enterprise mobility perspective, this can be measure in terms of workforce performance, customer satisfaction, employee satisfaction and retention, asset cost of ownership, among others. With a large share of enterprise mobility investments still being influenced by "employee convenience," the time is ripe to place greater emphasis on how these solutions can benefit real business outcomes.

These are among the many topics we are looking forward to hear more about at MWC next week. Looking forward to seeing you there!

02/19/2015

Mobile Payments Race Heats Up with Samsung’s LoopPay Acquisition

Samsung announced yesterday its acquisition of the Burlington, MA-based startup LoopPay Inc. for an undisclosed amount after reports of the two companies working together a mobile payments solution in late 2014 towards. The announcement heralds Samsung’s entry into the mobile payments fray, pitting it squarely against Apple and Google Wallet as the market for the digital wallet continues to evolve.

Making a digital wallet retailers will work with

The mobile payment market, particularly in the US, has undergone considerable change in recent years although much of the progress has been dependent upon both the cooperation from banking institutions and retailers’ willingness to adopt newer point-of-sales terminals. The latter in particular has been a key stumbling block for NFC-enabled solutions, like that of Google Wallet, which launched in 2011. Although the announcement of the iPhone 6 and Apple Pay did much to raise general awareness to the technology, its impact remains somewhat limited. Estimates from Apple from its Q1 earnings call show that less than a quarter of a million retail outlets out of a total numbering in the millions have the ability to accept Apple Pay. While this obstacle will eventually overcome as the migration continues from traditional the magnetic stripe to the EMV chip and PIN system, the tipping point for a major revamp to the greater retail market likely will not occur for at least another year, despite liability dangers looming on the horizon. Samsung’s acquisition of LoopPay helps to bridge the gap by offering a system that uses Magnetic Secure Transmission (MST) technology that that functions with existing point-of-sale infrastructure, which means it can be used with some 90% of existing credit card terminals, although the system requires the purchase of either a card case or fob in addition to the download of the app – an approach similar to that of Square. As some note, while pertinent now, the migration towards EMV could mean that Samsung is providing a solution to a short-term problem with the acquisition in a market that is rapidly evolving.

No mobile payment solution to rule them all

In addition to facing off against Google Wallet and Apple Pay, Samsung will be pitted against other emerging services, like that of CurrentC. While many retailers have sought less cost-intensive mobile payment solutions through proprietary apps using QR codes, retail giants Wal-Mart, Target, CVS and others formed the Merchant Customer Exchange (MCX) in 2012 to create a merchant-owned mobile payment system. The system gained notoriety when participating companies sought to block the implementation of systems like Apple Pay and Softcard and fell victim shortly thereafter to a sizeable security breach in which the email addresses of participants of the pilot program where accessed. In addition to claims of collusion, CurrentC has been lukewarm given the multi-step payment process using QR codes versus NFC’s more streamlined contactless payment method. As a result, the mobile payment market is becoming increasingly fragmented as it has pitted consumers who are seeking convenience against retailers who want to maintain greater control over transactions without having to adopt costly point-of-sale technology.

Balancing convenience and security 

The recent and high profile security breaches that have occurred at some of America's largest brands (Anthem Healthcare, Target, and the Home Depot) demonstrated that breaches can not only be expensive (several retailers we're forced to pay some $200M each in damages in the past 12 months alone), but can harmful to brand loyalty. Consumers disclose a treasure trove of identity theft information with each transaction they consummate. This makes finding the right balance between security, privacy and convenience a key priority for mobile payment vendors. While security remains paramount, consumers won't adopt a payment solution that is cumbersome. While PCI-compliant (and sophisticated encryption) is embedded into every payment solution, moving forward, VDC sees a key challenge for vendors to work with experts (i.e., the credit card industry, as well as privacy advocates, cybersecurity experts, government agencies – following the more military-oriented path towards security forged by JP Morgan) to draft, implement and enforce rigid sets of cyber protections across a fragmented payment market with significant “co-opetition” and channel conflict. 

With Eric Klein, Senior Analyst 

02/13/2015

Revamping the Enterprise Inbox

Email, which has long been an established piece of enterprise productivity and at the tail-end of innovation, has received a considerable makeover in recent months. An increasingly mobilized workforce in recent years has meant that the majority of emails are now read first on a mobile device. The result is a palpable trend in the market to revamp email where ease of use and productivity is maintained in a cross-platform and touch-centric format. Many of these innovations include more seamless calendar integration, improved triage, search, and archiving functions, as well as enhanced communication tools that integrate chat and voice that are particularly well-suited to mobile platforms like the smartphone.

 

Major players, including Google, IBM, and Microsoft have worked to further integrate email into their mobile offerings and acquiring firms to help bolster their position. Recent acquisitions by Microsoft and HP of Accompli and Voltage respectively, as well as the emergence of companies like Mailpile, ProtonMail and Nacho Cove lend credence to this trend towards a more mobile-first experience for enterprise email. Even companies that have traditionally focused on consumer markets are throwing their hat into the ring: last month, Amazon announced its own email service, WorkMail, to be powered by the increasingly popular Amazon Web Service. Thomas Döhler, General Manager of the WorkMail team, notes that enterprise is at the point where email is now part of the business process. Rather than a simple communication tool, it has become an integral part of general business processes and a receptacle where critical business information is stored and controlled. Email, without question, is the most ubiquitous means of enterprise communication, despite the recent rise in popularity of social collaboration and texting. While newer iterations will look to integrate these social features into the mix to enhance productivity, email will remain the primary means of enterprise communication for the foreseeable future.

 

It is worth noting, however, that this is not the first time that email has undergone a significant revamp. Over the years, numerous companies have tried to reinvigorate email, but failed to fundamentally alter the nature of the inbox. However, the growing importance of mobile platforms in business has meant that mobility has forced a willingness to change among companies in how they treat email. The result has been a rethinking in how email is accessed and integrated into a cross-application and cross-platform ecosystem. 2015 will mark a watershed year in which there is a growing willingness to change how companies treat email and could see a fundamental change to the nature of the inbox if the challenges surrounding privacy and security can be sufficiently addressed.

 VDC will be taking a closer look at the challenges faced in this month’s VDC View. Stay tuned for more information.

 

with Eric Klein, Senior Analyst

02/06/2015

How Quickly Will DYI Mobile Initiatives Give way to Mobile Managed Services?

Mobile device proliferation has IT departments reconsidering how to best deliver increasingly business-critical mobile IT services.

While business analysts are now more experienced with identifying the right use cases and design requirements for mobile applications, designing, developing, integrating, managing, and maintaining these apps remains a significant task. Mobilizing and integrating manual business processes and workflows with modern mobile platforms is not only complex but costly, particularly when considering that many legacy applications and systems are not being abandoned. Creating new mobile applications to integrate with legacy systems requires both a high degree of specialized skills and additional software. As a result, enterprises are quickly discovering that mobile enablement is not only costly and time-consuming, but that managing and maintaining their deployment environments may be best handled by an external 3rd party.

VDC sees expanded usage of mobile devices to facilitate day-to-day business as an enabler for IT to reassert the importance of its role in digital transformation initiatives. However, considering that these initiatives are (likely) already underway, selecting the right partner(s) to deliver a suite of more reliable and robust mobile IT services will become increasingly important – particularly for organizations where mobile initiatives have become business-critical. VDC's research shows that even the largest enterprises are inadequately staffed with the mobile expertise required to properly manage and maintain a rapidly growing mobile deployment environment. Professional services vendors have proved their ability to deliver strategic business impact to their customers, not just operating cost reductions. Additionally, these vendors are increasingly well equipped to help their customer implement mobile innovations with more speed and less pain.  

That said, end-to-end “as a service” mobility solutions will ultimately be the de facto choice for many enterprises going forward. Considering the early stages of true mobile enablement in enterprise, managed mobility services from managed service providers (MSPs), communication service providers (CSPs), and systems integrators (SIs) are poised to benefit from the current mobile boom. Due to limited mobile IT support capabilities, VDC expects organizations to expand their relationships with third-party solution providers that specialize in mobile solution support and integration. The services opportunity will expand well beyond traditional mobile hardware support and break-fix services that are common today. Mobility-oriented services to support expanding deployment environments, application and database integration, as well as security, asset management and logistics services will be key areas of focus for professional services firms going forward.

VDC has just released a comprehensive Report on the market opportunity for Mobile Professional Services. Vendors were profiled in this Report include:

CSPs: AT&T, Sprint, Verizon Business, and Vodafone Global Enterprise
SIs: Atos, Cognizant, HCL, IBM Global Services, and Infosys
Mobile-First Solution Providers: DMI, Enterprise Mobile, Stratix, Vox Mobile and Zebra Technologies

Click here to download the Executive Brief, or email me for more information.

A Salute to Erstwhile Colleague Chris Lanfear

The VDC Research family is broken-hearted after hearing of the passing of former colleague Chris Lanfear on February 4th of a brain aneurysm. Chris joined VDC Research in 1999 and spent almost eight years with the firm. His contributions to VDC during his tenure were immeasurable, many of which are still felt today. He helped cement VDC as the go-to research and advisory resource for the embedded software community. Deeply respected by his clients, he brought a very creative yet actionable approach to his interactions, fostering relationships that endured. Always accessible to his colleagues, he challenged us not to conform and to find the implications that really mattered to our clients. Passionate about marketing, he was quick to realize the potential of new mediums and launched VDC's inaugural blog, On Target: Embedded Systems. 

A testament of his value to his clients, Chris left VDC in 2007 to join one of his clients, ENEA, spending five years with them in various senior marketing roles. He ultimately decided to return to the analyst ranks, joining the TBR team last summer, covering digital marketing technologies. 

Our deepest sympathies go out to his wife, Laura and two daughters Julia and Tessa. The family has requested that in lieu of flowers, donations be made in Chris' name to The Brain Aneurysm Foundation, 269 Hanover Street, Building 3, Hanover, MA, 02339. www.bafound.org/donate. 

Chris, you will be missed. 

01/30/2015

The Notebook Market is More “PC Plus” than “Post-PC”

Despite cries that the enterprise notebook is dead, the form factor is making a long-awaited comeback, as businesses realize that tablets are not the notebook replacement they once believed. After a period of declining year-on-year sales, notebooks have been rebounding in the enterprise, as well as showing signs of positive growth in the consumer market. The use of mobile devices to support line-of-business workers across numerous sectors continues to grow as organizations benefit from an increasingly connected and productive workforce, according to VDC's most recent research. Industries continue to internalize the benefits of a mobilized workforce, as data from VDC shows an anticipated average increase of mobility-based budgets for 2014 of 10.6%. Although mobile workers will continue to leverage a variety of form factors including smartphones, tablets, and notebooks, the overall durability and resilience make this form factor increasingly desirable. This harkens back to Microsoft’s vision PC Plus vision for the market back in 2011. While they might have misjudged Windows 8’s ability to usher in that era, the recent figures for notebook shipments have borne out the idea, especially as tablet sales continue to stall. VDC anticipates that the enterprise notebook market will continue to grow, reaching almost 80 million units in 2014 – nearly half of the total notebook market. While the market has matured considerably, it is still far from the “post-PC” erosion predicted by many, especially as newer generations of the PC, like the Surface Pro 3, gain traction.

After a particularly soft year in 2013, overall notebook performance rebounded in 2014, especially in the enterprise sector. Much of the momentum came from the retirement of Windows XP, which forced many organizations to upgrade their installed base, while others either scaled back or placed tablet initiatives on hold in favor of notebooks. VDC expects the upgrade cycle will continue well into 2015 with the anticipated launch of Windows 10 to provide an additional uplift, albeit at a lower year-on-year rate. However, this will likely remove any incentive for enterprises to consider further deployments of Windows 8.1, whose reception has been lackluster both among consumer and enterprise markets alike. Although enterprise notebooks are primarily the domain of Windows, Apple’s presence continues to grow, with the iPad and iPhone serving as key gateway for OS X. VDC estimates that Apple’s share of the enterprise notebook market will reach 7.5% in 2014, especially with growing support of Windows applications on iOS and OS X making the inclusion into IT solutions an increasingly viable option. This is reflected in the most recent figures released by Apple, which showed 14% YoY growth from Q1 2014.

VDC estimates that, of the 80 million notebook shipments to the enterprise in 2014, approximately 28% – or 22 million units – were deployed in support of line-of-business applications. These applications range from field-based insurance adjusters and sales agents to service technicians and hospital care workers. An additional 440,000 rugged notebooks are forecast to ship in 2014, primarily supporting line-of-business workers in public safety, military, and industrial markets. Much like the overall notebook market, the rugged notebook market is emerging from a period of significant contraction in 2013 and the first half of 2014. Demand began to gain momentum toward the second quarter of 2014 with the increased rate of modernization to upgrade aging installed bases. However, overall, rugged notebook unit growth through 2018 is expected to be modest at 2.9% annually. As enterprise mobility continues to evolve, the notebook will remain the workhorse of devices for the foreseeable future.

01/22/2015

A Return to Innovation as Microsoft Lifts the Veil at Windows 10 Event

 

Windows 10_image

Yesterday saw Microsoft reveal more details about the upcoming Windows 10 OS. After two years of limited success with Windows 8, Microsoft has sought to recapture its audience with a return to the familiar with the reintroduction of the Start button as an integral feature, as well as expanding the system to serve as a unified platform across all form factors. In addition to improving the functionality of the Action Center, Windows 10 will also incorporate Cortana across form factors, including the PC. With this suite of features and improvements, Microsoft hopes that it can leverage its position as market leader among PCs to increase its mobile market share, which has languished in the single digits since launching.

Shifting towards a unified experience

One of the more profound elements to Windows 10 is that, unlike Windows 8, the OS moves beyond a limited set of devices to encompass a much broader spectrum of options. Microsoft CEO Satya Nadella emphasized this point, stating that the notion of mobility that the firm is pursuing is not so much about mobility of computing on a given device, but rather, “the mobility of experience across devices.” Taking cues from how Apple has moved to allow for seamless transitioning between devices with applications, Microsoft aims to increase the fluidity of the OS experience as it continues its shift towards its goal of “Windows-as-a-service.” This is a much-needed transition for Microsoft, which has struggled to overcome a reactionary approach to the market, especially as end-users are frequently looking to take their work from one form factor to the next. The reality is one where the device itself is becoming less central to the process, as the market for current enterprise form factors has matured considerably, becoming fairly homogenous in the process.

The return of the prodigal OS

There has been considerable buzz around Windows 10 among both consumer and enterprise end-users. For the latter, it has been a prolonged period of wait and see; there has been a reluctance to adopt Android due to concerns around security, the complexity of migrating legacy applications, and considerable OS fragmentation. Nevertheless, Tier-1 and Tier-2 companies in North America are following their European counterparts’ lead in overcoming their reluctance to adopt Android. Still – many express a desire for Windows. If Microsoft can provide the OS to enterprise in a timely manner, the move could sap much of Android’s enterprise momentum, especially in the rugged sphere, as 2015 increasingly looks to be a key turning point for the enterprise market. Microsoft’s announcement that the OS will be provided gratis to users of Windows 7 and 8 will likely help the OS gain traction quickly.

 Windows 10 beefs up its EMM capabilities

While Microsoft has struggled with its mobile initiatives in recent years, its long history serving the technology infrastructure needs of large organizations puts Microsoft in a strong position to deliver enterprise mobility solutions in the coming years. With its upcoming Windows 10 release, Microsoft plans key security enhancements and options that are requisite in heterogeneous mobile deployment environments. The Windows 10 release will feature sophisticated containerization capabilities that will give enterprises more control over their content, allowing for content to be marked as corporate, encrypted, and then be wiped if the relationship between the corporation and user has ended. Preventing data leakage has been a key area of focus in Windows 10; corporate data can be identified as corporate vs. user, encrypted, and wiped on command. The 10 release will further expand into biometric capabilities and enable authentication with your biometric identity anywhere in Windows (Windows sign-in, remote access, User Account Control, etc.). App management features also take advantage of 10's biometrics and can be incorporated for Windows Store apps, functions within them, and be used to control certificates.  VDC sees the aforementioned containerization features and a refresh of its System Center Configuration Manager software (along with ensuring the legacy SCCM 2007 release is compatible with Windows 10) as critical success factors; Microsoft’s Intune device management platform must also evolve and incorporate more cross platform capabilities. We expect tight integration of its prolific Microsoft products (Outlook, Office, and SharePoint) in the 10 release – if Microsoft can deliver the consistent and familiar experience across platforms that it promises, the vendor will almost be guaranteed to be a viable contender in the enterprise mobility market.

Bringing innovation back

Microsoft topped off its Windows 10 event with by revealing the HoloLens, an augmented reality HUD that incorporates holographs and floating video feed capabilities for enhanced two-way communication. Although still in its infancy, the technology presents enterprise potential, much in the way that mounted wearables are currently testing the waters. While the payoff for Microsoft will likely be far from immediate, it marks a profound shift for the firm and a decisive break from the Ballmer era and a transition back towards innovation. In a rapidly shifting market where older firms like HP and BlackBerry are struggling to remain relevant, Microsoft is keen to shed its image as a reactionary relic of a bygone era. Yesterday’s announcement is definitely a step in the right direction. 

 

With Eric Klein, Senior Analyst

01/15/2015

Meet w/ VDC's Mobile Team at #MWC15!

#MWC15 is <6 weeks away!
 
VDC's mobile team will be making the trip across the Atlantic again this year to visit the largest mobile technology tradeshow of the year, Mobile World Congress in Bacelona, Spain. Last year, the conference boasted 85,916 attendees! Below are the statistics from last year's event:
 
Mcw14_stats
While we are at the conference, we welcome the opportunity to meet with attending vendors to learn more about their enterprise mobility solutions and any show-related (or other recent) announcements.

Feel free to contact us directly to arrange for a meeting:

Eric Klein: eklein@vdcresearch.com (@eakleiner), 508.653.9000 x141
David Krebs: davidk@vdcresearch.com (@dm_krebs), 508.653.9000 x136

Haven't decided if you're attending MWC yet?

Check out the Mobile World Congress website for more information on the conference program as well as information on all of the companies that will be exhibiting.

We look forward to seeing you at the show!

 

Recent Posts

Event Recap ― IBM InterConnect

Is Augmented Reality Primed for Warehouse Automation?

MWC 2015: Pre-Show Expectations

Mobile Payments Race Heats Up with Samsung’s LoopPay Acquisition

Revamping the Enterprise Inbox

How Quickly Will DYI Mobile Initiatives Give way to Mobile Managed Services?

A Salute to Erstwhile Colleague Chris Lanfear

The Notebook Market is More “PC Plus” than “Post-PC”

A Return to Innovation as Microsoft Lifts the Veil at Windows 10 Event

Meet w/ VDC's Mobile Team at #MWC15!

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