43 posts categorized "Market Segment"


VDC Research Releases Results of its Quarterly Rugged Device Tracker

This week, VDC published the results of its quarterly device tracker, which follows both quarter-on-quarter and year-on-year numbers for major OEMs both globally and by region. 

Notebooks lag behind other form factors

The rugged market – including notebooks, tablets, handheld computers and forklift terminals – reached $4.1bn in 2013, a 6.1% year-on-year decline from a total of $4.3bn in revenues from 2012. Excluding notebooks the market increased by 1% over 2012. The strongest performing category was rugged tablets which grew by 22% year over year. The impact of consumer-grade smartphones and tablets being used in an enterprise setting continues to make itself felt on a global level, particularly among field mobile workers and for customer-facing applications.

Q4 continues the upward trend

Performance in Q4 2013 built on the improvements in market conditions we began to witness during the second half of 2013. During Q4 2014, year over year rugged mobile vendor revenues declined by 1%. Excluding rugged notebooks, the market grew by 4.2%. Performance during Q4 2013 was lead by the rugged tablet and forklift segments which grew by 31.6% and 13.1% respectively.

Quarterly tracker chart 2Android and Windows Embedded Handheld 8.1 present 2014 growth opportunities 

“The rugged mobile market is expected to continue to stabilize in 2014 and provide moderate to strong growth opportunities. We expect a stronger retail segment and improvements to investments in North America, which has recently lagged EMEA in performance,” states Kathryn Nassberg, an analyst for VDC. Continued strength in the rugged tablet segment, improved support and availability of rugged Android handheld and tablet offerings along with first generation rugged handheld Windows Embedded Handheld 8.1 will fuel much of the 2014 opportunities However, headwinds and downside risk clearly still exist, especially in the form of adoption of lower cost consumer mobile devices and overall access to capital. 

For more information, click here

For a copy of the report, please email info@vdcresearch.com




BlackBerry’s Uphill Battle to Regain Enterprise Confidence

It’s no secret that BlackBerry is working to maintain its relevance in enterprise mobility. CEO John Chen emphasized just last month at Mobile World Congress that the firm had engineered a new strategy to restore customer’s confidence in BlackBerry. Both in Barcelona and at a meeting with analysts in January, Chen has stressed the relationship with enterprise as central to the company’s strategy and success. Potential revenue enhancing opportunities have emerged, such as the news that the company intends to support the Windows Phone platform with its upcoming BES 12 release (BBM support for the Windows Phone platform was also disclosed), and the announcement that Ford will be using the company’s QNX platform for its next-generation Sync system—however, while these initiatives have potential, we see the company’s reluctance to abandon its hardware orientation as hurting its long term prospects. While there remains a window of opportunity to maintain relevance with a device centric strategy (The firm made a wise choice by partnering with Foxconn to defray the downside of its unsustainable (and unprofitable) manufacturing operations), we believe the upcoming Z3 (low end consumer device) and Q20 (a QWERTY keyboard sporting enterprise-grade smartphone) are the company’s last chance. This is primarily due to the fact that there is a marked loss in mindshare with enterprise customers—according a recent VDC survey, the lack of confidence is quite stark.

Forecast is Gloomy

Our survey showed that BlackBerry’s support among larger enterprises (organizations with greater than $500M in annual revenues) has continued to has lose ground to both the Apple and Android platforms. BlackBerry also lagged significantly and was the least-supported OS, both among BYOD and enterprise-issued devices according to our study. When asked point-blank about their likelihood in investing in BlackBerry, the same companies showed a marked level of ambivalence:


While Apple and Android are the dominant mobile platforms in the enterprise, we believe that there is room for a third ecosystem—particularly one with enterprise-grade capabilities.

Need for Speed

While the new Z3 and Q20 devices are slated for later this year, BlackBerry needs to move quickly as new devices such as Samsung’s S5 (April) and Apple’s iPhone 6 (September?) are fast approaching. Both are high-end devices and feature notable enterprise-grade enhancements that will be difficult to match.  In the meantime, the company should continue to enhance its focus on its BYOD management solutions—else, the road ahead will continue to be long and increasingy uphill.

(Research and written contribution by Kathryn Nassberg)


Table-side Tablets are on the Menu for the Hospitality Industry

The casual restaurant business has garnered buzz this month with the announcement of Applebee’s partnering with E la Carte to place 100,000 tableside tablets in 1,800 of the restaurant’s locations in 2014. This follows on the heels on the announcement of Chili’s deal with Ziosk to provide tableside tablets in 823 of its locations in March of next year. These two collaborations, with that of Applebee’s in particular, represent the largest rollout of tableside tablets to date in the industry. Other sectors, however, are not far behind. Chicago Public Schools have over 60,000 iPads within the school system as of last month, while the Los Angeles Unified School District boasts a robust 44,000 iPads in its system. This also excludes other companies, such as AIA Insurance, KLM and British Airways who have begun deploying tablets to employees.

In an interview with Forbes, Ziosk CEO Austen Mulinder referenced the tableside tablet’s design with a focus on durability and its ability to withstand spills and being dropped The rise in popularity for such a device in the restaurant industry could like provide an interesting opportunity for manufacturers of ruggedized devices who have been losing ground to consumer-oriented devices in the workplace. . The consumerization of IT to date has primarily meant taking consumer goods and placing them in a business environment, but this revolves around the ease-of-use associated with such devices, which the ruggedized community has been slow to adopt. The surge in popularity of tablet devices in consumer-facing industries highlights the central role that mobile devices can take regarding customer service, engagement and loyalty. However, the nature of certain businesses – like that of the casual dining industry – have specific requirements in terms of durability, printing and I/O that cannot be met by using modified consumer goods. These devices require higher levels of durability, environment-proofing and the ability to read and process specific information. While this shift does present an opportunity for firms that have specialized in more ruggedized and enterprise-specific hardware, much of their success will likely hinge ability to meet the economics of the deals. Right now, however, this is still an evolving market with no clear leader, but is nevertheless an area rife with opportunity. 


Can Microsoft Take Off With First Notable Surface Deployment?

Following its Surface 2 and Surface Pro 2 that took place last week, Microsoft officially announced its first large enterprise deployments through Delta Air Lines today. As Delta comes aboard the Windows RT bandwagon through the purchase of 11,000 Surface 2 tablets, the company not only aims to lower its fuel and associated costs, but is also looking to enhance efficiency among its workforce. As per the announcement, Microsoft Surface 2 tablets, will initially be used as electronic flight bags (by leveraging Jeppesen’s FliteDeck Pro app that is targeted for the Windows platform) and will enable the airline to eliminate paper-based flight kits that happen to be heavy in nature. The rollout will start with pilots that are flying Boeing 757 and 767 fleets and will make its way into all Delta cockpits by the end of 2014.

This deployment is also significant since it is a natural follow-up to Delta’s commitment to the Windows platform. Back in August 2013, the company announced a 19,000 Nokia Lumia 820 Windows Phone deployment for its flight attendants. These devices are primarily utilized for Dynamics for Retail technology on onboard customer purchases. In-flight purchases that are enabled by these devices not only include food and beverages but also include paying for seat upgrades and receiving   e-mailed receipts as a result of these transactions. The company also announced that a near-term update would include processing digital coupons on customers’ mobile devices. This deployment (including the custom mobile POS solution) was developed by Avanade, Microsoft and AT&T and will operate over both Wi-Fi as well as AT&T’s 4G LTE Network. Delta’s and other airlines’ efforts for enterprise mobility solution deployments also comes in timely since FAA is looking to expedite the approval of electronic devices during takeoffs and landings soon.

While we have all heard of pretty large deployments with iOS and Android-based solutions, (or about smaller deployments based on Windows Phone 8 or Microsoft Surface), this is the first sizeable deployment for Microsoft’s mobile business. Given the fact that the second generation Surface devices were just introduced last week, such large commitments from a large corporation like Delta could get the company start things off on the right foot. Despite the confusion that Surface RT created with its inability to run Windows 7 software last year when it first came out, Surface 2 which is also running on ARM processor can be Microsoft’s special-purpose device targeted for the enterprises that are looking for lower-priced solutions and could use the long battery life. This second-generation Surface RT solution that has a lower price tag could also be a somewhat more expensive alternative to lower-end Android-based solutions for organizations that do not want to let go of the Windows platform.


Established Vendors Demonstrate They Can Innovate In Digital Payments

In July 2013, Visa provided multiple updates on the success that the company has so far received with its V.me digital wallet service. As you may remember, the company had an initial launch in United States in 2012, was already forming partnerships with US banks and went global by adding Canada, UK, Spain and France soon after. As of last week, the company has partnerships with over 90 financial institutions in the US, including Bank of America and PNC Bank, almost doubling the number of organizations supporting the service in an 8-9 months timeframe. Likewise, the company has confirmed that the number of merchants that are on board with V.me service has crossed 250 with over 25% of them signing up in Q2 2013. This can certainly be considered a success in an ecosystem with more established solution providers such as PayPal, Square and Google.  

This service enables consumers to make purchases (both online and in-store) using their smartphones, tablets or PCs without entering their account number, billing/ shipping information, etc. Instead, each shopper has a unique username and password to use in their transactions, which helps in addressing shopper-fatigue in filling out long forms. The company is also supporting accounts from its long-time competitors MasterCard, Discover and American Express. As part of its global expansion, the company has announced that it will launch its V.me solution in Australia before the holiday season to take advantage of the Australians who are receptive to online shopping. The company is aiming to benefit from its long history in the payments space, and its strong security features which include encryption and authentication.

Another important update came from Isis with its announcement for a nationwide roll out of Isis Mobile Wallet as a result of the early successes the company received in Austin, Texas and Salt Lake City, Utah. As you might recall, Isis is a joint venture that was created by carriers AT&T, T-Mobile and Verizon Wireless. Isis Mobile Wallet is using NFC technology to accept payments. Likewise, consumers can also redeem coupons and display loyalty cards just by tapping their smartphones. The number of mobile devices (spread across these three carriers) that currently support Isis is thirty five with more to follow in the upcoming months and years. The company also shared some interesting stats from its pilot that launched in Q4 2012 claiming that contactless payments are accepted in over 4,000 locations in these two cities (combined), more than tripling in the past 9-10 months. Hence, according to Isis, more than 80% of transactions took place at retail outlets such as gas stations, convenience stores, quick-service restaurants, grocery stores and such. Thus, with digital payments increasingly becoming a part of our lives, it will be interesting to see how the market evolves.


Mobile Payments Market Getting More Crowded In Americas Market

Last week, Sweden’s iZettle announced that it is expanding out of Europe and bringing its mobile
payments system to Mexico. The news did not come as a total shock, given the announcement from earlier this month that announced the partnership between iZettle and the Spanish bank Banco Santander with Santander’s €5M ($6.6M USD)  investment in this Swedish start up. Along with this partnership, iZettle had gained access to Santander’s customers in the United Kingdom. Even though the investment looked relatively small in comparison to the funding that Square has received – the most recent one being $200M in Q3 2012 – it is very significant since Mexico marks iZettle’s first
non-European market and is also a market where Square is not participating in. With so many people knowing iZettle as Square’s “European cousin”, this bold move could very well be just a stepping stone to the Swedish company in their plan to further expand into Americas market.

Trying to conquer the Latin America market does come with a price though. iZettle had to develop a new device which is kind of like an all-in-one type of solution for all platforms to enable the company to process payment both through chip-based and mag-stripe based solutions. The cost of tweaking its solution was reflected through an increase in its transaction fees from its flat 2.75% fee in Europe to 3.75% for chip-based transactions and 4.75% for mag-stripe based transactions in Mexico. Likewise, the reader is also being sold for about $40 to the merchants except to the Banco Santander customers who will be getting a discount. The opportunity, on the other hand, is also massive given the majority of the business in Mexico being small and medium-sized enterprises that could likely prefer buying such readers over investing in more traditional payment solutions. According to iZettle’s CEO, 95% of the cards in Mexico are chip-enabled. Just like the fact that this is seen as a key reason for Square not yet moving to European market, this could very well be an important factor that is keeping the company away from expanding into Mexican market. iZettle already had presence in multiple country markets in Europe – including UK, Spain, Sweden, Norway, Denmark, Finland and Germany – while Square’s operations are limited to US, Canada and Japan following a recent expansion.

While Square continues to take its time before moving into the Latin America market, the competitive landscape is definitely getting more crowded in this sub-region. Some strong players include Zoop in Brazil and Mobiliz in Mexico. Though it is not certain which country markets these companies will expand into next, there is also start ups like Clip, which raised $1.5M funding with its Square-like solution that will be primarily focused on the needs and requirements of the Spanish-speaking countries like Mexico. Albeit it is still too early to tell which companies will be “winning” at the end, forming strategic partnerships with “local” leaders does seem to make entering new country markets a little less challenging for these start ups.


Electronic Flight Bag Programs Are Ready for Take Off

Earlier today, American Airlines announced that the company has completed its Electronic Flight Bag (EFB) implementation, making it the first major commercial airline to deploy EFB throughout its fleet. Along with this deployment, the company is not only discontinuing paper revisions to terminal charts, but will also be replacing over 35 lbs of paper-based manuals and various materials that the pilots have been carrying in each flight. This will enable the company to not only be greener with eliminating 24 million pages of paper but will also help its bottomline by saving $1.2 million of annual fuel costs.

After getting FAA’s approval to use Apple’s iPad in all of the airline’s current fleet types and during all phases of flights, the company deployed over 8,000 iPads. Mobile software that the devices will be running is provided by Jeppesen, a unit of Boeing Digital Aviation. The FAA-approved Mobile Terminal Chart application by Jeppesen is allowed to be used from gate-to-gate throughout all phases of flights. Jeppesen has been serving the aviation market with its mobile EFB solutions - Mobile FliteDeck VFR, Mobile FliteDeck and FliteDeck Pro and has been partnering with organizations like AirWatch for an optional MDM capability in order to provide a complete solution to its customers. These solutions not only allow pilots to access and navigate terminal charts but also help them save time in getting updates. Other commercial airlines such as Alaska Airlines, United Airlines and Delta Air Lines have also deployed tablets to their fleets, along with large business jet fleet operators like NetJets, Flexjet and Flight Options.

The approval to use EFBs throughout all phases of the flight will likely attract more commercial airlines to fully deploy a solution. Especially with airlines like JetBlue that already have in-flight WiFi deployed, enabling them to send real time updates to pilots around weather and document updates,
replacing paper manuals with EFB programs would allow the pilots to be much more efficient while performing their duties in a secured manner.


New Vendors Looking to Erase BlackBoard's Hold on the K-12 Market

To say that the education software market is in a state of flux would be an understatement. The fragmented field of Goliaths such as BlackBoard and Desire2Learn are nervously holding tight to their reigns of market share as startups like  Instructure and Haiku sling their innovative software to schools left and right. The education market is ripe for change, and nowhere is this reflected more clearly than in the amount of new entrants and venture funding pervading this market.

The past few weeks have seen both Instructure and Silverback Learning Solutions receive venture funding to advance their educational software solutions. While Silverback – a newer entrant in the ed tech market – received a modest $2.5 million, this funding announcement is symbolic of an unsatisfied market. Silverback has a focus in the K-12 market and aims to combine educational resources, data, and accountability into a platform developed with ease of use and implementation in mind. It seems that many of the dominant players in this market offer solutions targeted at higher education, with expensive, robust tools that are not congruent with the needs and capabilities of the K-12 market.

The K-12 market in particular has been slow to adopt the technology that higher ed institutions have invested so heavily in. Extensive analytics, robust classroom management features and complex platforms simply have not found a home in the K-12 market. For one, many K-12 schools are public and therefore face budget constraints with little room for a massive technology upgrade or the training to leverage it. Further, priorities tend to point to achieving state standards and compliance with educational mandates, thus influencing the types of technology adopted.

Instead of more complex management tools, the prevailing trend seems to be changing the dynamic of the classroom. The main focus is on student to student and teacher to student collaboration as well as personalized learning. Any technology vendor looking to enter this space must also offer a solution that is feasible, intuitive, and easy to integrate with existing systems.

While there are software solutions such as Haiku and Schoology that strive to cater to these realities, they are not on the same level as the BlackBoards and Desire2Learns of the market. It is safe to say that the K-12 market is still relatively immature, but eager for an upgrade.

As a result, it will be interesting to see what revenue backed giants like BlackBoard decide to do moving forward. Will they create more K-12 centered solutions or opt to acquire the startups that have been inundating the market as of late. The only certainty is that the market won’t tolerate new entrants forever. Which vendor has the class to outperform the rest is still yet to be tested.


Solving the BYOD Challenge Without Managing Devices

Join me on February 6th to learn about enterprise-grade mobility solutions for BYOD environments

As a long-time industry watcher you've likely seen many acronyms come and go (WAP, ASP, ISDN, etc.) ‒ BYOD is no exception, and will ultimately disappear from our vernacular as well. However, given that we are in the early days of mobile enablement, the trend is sure to impact the modern workplace for years to come, and will pose both an opportunity and a threat for CIOs and IT administrators who will ultimately be supporting an increasingly diverse roster of mobile devices.

While some might argue that the "genie is out of the bottle" and that we are well beyond the point controlling to usage of personally owned devices in the workplace, there very well may be potential for the pendulum swing back toward more centralized IT practices for managing mobile deployments if the ROI garnered from BYOD programs doesn’t materialize. Regardless, the issue will be top of mind this year and next for CIOs as they grapple with device diversity, billing, security, acceptable use policies and more as our mobile workforce continues to grow.

The BYOD trend has a broad range of market participants focused on solutions to capitalize on the opportunity that mobile enablement can bring while mitigating against the risks that comes with personally owned devices being introduced into corporate environments. While there are many viable options that have come to market, one solution category we see gaining traction is enterprise-grade "workspace" or "secure container" solutions that can improve the security and manageability of mobile platforms.

If your organization is grappling with BYOD and in the process of implementing a BYOD strategy, we would welcome your participation in this important upcoming webinar being sponsored by Globo PLC ‒ Solving the BYOD Challenge Without Managing Devices. We will be discussing how CIOs are dealing with the complexity that BYOD programs introduce, as well provide guidance on how your organization can alleviate the pressures associated with the mobile enablement of its growing mobile workforce. Globo will be demonstrating its enterprise-grade mobile solution that is flexible, scalable and designed with BYOD environments in mind.



Exploiting Enterprise Mobility to Address Pain Points in Manufacturing Industry

Manufacturing organizations are using mobile solutions to give their increasingly mobile workforce access to real-time data on the go. Demand for increased visibility of assets, execution of business remotely, and goals to improve sales and customer service are some of the factors behind increasing adoption of enterprise mobility solutions among manufacturers.

Whether they are involved in process or discrete manufacturing, majority of the manufacturing organizations are highly receptive towards mobilizing traditional manufacturing applications such as asset management, shop floor management, field service and field sales management.

Here are some enterprise mobility investment drivers in manufacturing industry:

Give anytime anywhere access to employees. Besides gains in productivity and efficiency, the employees are looking to better communicate and collaborate, as well as making decisions on the go based on the real-time information available to them.

Enterprise applications remain to be the heart and soul of manufacturing. While manufacturing industry has been slow in making the transition to mobility (in comparison to the other vertical market segments), the process is expected to be much more smooth from now on since the traditional enterprise application vendors (e.g. SAP, Oracle, Infor, Epicor, etc) are on board. VDC anticipates more modules/ suites from these applications (e.g. ERP, CRM, MES, WMS, etc) to be mobilized in addition to the modules like Expense Management that lead the way in making the shift to mobile.

Jump on the mobility bandwagon now, if you haven’t already done so. Organizations have started to view mobility as an extension of their core processes and functions within the manufacturing environment. Inventory management, for example has been an application that many manufacturing organizations are using in their warehouses and DCs.