73 posts categorized "Mobile Application Software and Middleware"

06/27/2014

Google’s Android Evolution – Knox and Divide? The End of Fragmentation?

With “Android for Work” Initiative, Google’s Next OS Will Feature Samsung Knox Integration

Google made several important enterprise mobility-oriented announcements at its annual developer conference (Google I/O) earlier this week. The company provided details of its “Android for Work” initiative, which aims to help business users separate personal and corporate data. The effort is being supported by prominent handset OEMs (Samsung, Sony, Lenovo, Huawei and HTC), as well as PC OEMs, including Dell and HP. While these OEMs are eager to work with Google, it is likely that the company had to offer assurances (such as guaranteed timely access software updates and key security enhancements) to ensure a solid roster of vendors for the fall release of its next OS “Android L”. Google’s SVP of Android, Chrome and Apps Sundar Pichai shared key details of the next OS (and announced its beta release to developers), and demonstrated several new enterprise features for enhanced security and privacy. The OS will offer a “kill-switch” function (remote factory reset protection), new lockscreen enhancements, and alternative security features such as context and proximity that open up new opportunities for two-factor authentication scenarios (via a companion device such as a smartwatch etc.). The company also announced a new version of its popular consumer file storage, sync and share solution (Google Drive). Dubbed Drive for Work, the service combines the familiar experience of Google Drive with new admin controls, advanced file audit reporting, and eDiscovery services; key features that will allow the service to compete with established vendors such as Box and Dropbox. Google also announced several notable updates to its productivity software ― the company’s popular presentation software, Slides, is now available on mobile platforms. Google has also integrated QuickOffice with its app suite, and has brought the ability to work with Microsoft Office applications natively (no conversion required). However, the big announcement at I/O was the planned integration of Samsung’s Knox security service into the Android OS. While it is not definitive that Knox will serve as the foundational security element for the Android for Work initiative, VDC sees it as likely (Google has provided scant details relating to the integration in Android L’s documentation). Just last month, Google acquired Divide, a firm that developed a rich platform utilizing a similar containerization approach to separate personal and corporate data. While Divide created a superb UX and delivered core productivity apps (a PIM suite of email, contacts and calendar apps), the company’s security features pale in comparison to Samsung’s Knox. Here’s why:

Knox builds on the Security-Enhanced Linux (SE Linux) changes to the Linux kernel developed by the US National Security Agency (NSA) and debuted on the Galaxy S4 in 2013. Knox 2.0 was released earlier this year at Mobile World Congress and builds on the original Knox security feature set through upgraded certificate management, IPSec VPN capabilities and enhanced container security powers. Samsung’s latest Smartphone (the Galaxy S5) ships with Knox 2.0. Key Knox features include:

  • TrustZone-protected certificate management and On Device Encryption (ODE) (via a Trusted Execution Environment (TEE) through a partnership with Trustronic
  • A key store for managing encryption keys
  • Real-time protection for system integrity
  • Two-factor biometric authentication
  • Per-app VPN functions for SSL VPN solutions (with tighter integration with Juniper planned)

The integration of these features has enabled the Knox solution to achieve “Common Criteria Certification”. Knox was evaluated under the internationally recognized Common Criteria Evaluation and Certification Scheme (CCEVS) with an Evaluation Assurance Level (EAL) and Protection Profile (PP) that qualify it as a "trusted" operating system. While this validates the cryptographic foundation of the solutions security features and deems it viable for accessing enterprise networks and high-value information assets, Samsung has only achieved EAL level 1 (there are seven levels in EAL classifications and competitors such as Good Technology have been certified at level 4). While uptake in enterprise settings for Android have been slow, VDC sees the enterprise features that continue to be implemented by Google, along with the upcoming integration of Knox giving CIOs and IT leaders fewer reason to not support the OS.

Where Does Divide Fit?

Divides solution offers FIPS 140-2 validated 256 bit encryption, the ability to encrypt email messages (using S/MIME), as well as basic MDM features. Google announced that it planned to release an application (no carrier involvement required) for Android 4.0 releases (Ice Cream Sandwich) through 4.3 (Jelly Bean) claiming that it will bring backwards compatibility to the aforementioned security enhancements that will be embedded in Android “L”. While this will help significantly with fragmentation, it still leaves the ~20% of Android devices that run OSes < v. 4.0 in the cold. This is very likely where and how Divide will fit into the company’s plans to quash fragmentation. We will be watching for updates relating to this initiative closely.

So What Really Happened?!

"We want to thank Samsung for its amazing work with Knox. It's so good we're going to integrate it directly into our platform,"

Google’s SVP of Android, Chrome and Apps Sundar Pichai, 6/25/14

Sammy_blog

The announcement that Knox would be “contributed” to Android (see above) was not only unexpected, but had many industry watchers (and Google competitors) guessing and prognosticating. The reality is that we won’t know for certain how the two companies arrived at this arrangement. There has been speculation of a rift between Google and Samsung. Samsung continues to experiment with a competing OS (Tizen) and has clearly been moving forward with its own interpretation/implementation of Android. One thing is certain, though: Samsung is definitely not abandoning its Knox development (the company has > 2,000 engineers working on Knox) and will continue to evolve the platform and target the enterprise with its solutions. VDC views Google’s partnership with Samsung as significant due to its potential impact on the broader Android ecosystem. With businesses embracing BYOD policies, and turning to enterprise-grade solutions that cater to these deployment environments the rapid upgrade cycles for modern mobile platforms has OEMs eager to crack the business market. That is what is most fascinating about the partnership – it will give handset OEMs who have been unsuccessful in targeting the enterprise thus far (such as HTC and Lenovo) a means to compete with Samsung using its own technology. Apple, BlackBerry, and Microsoft have all sharpened their security messaging and are vying for enterprise mindshare.

VDC will be releasing an in-depth mobile security Report in early July.

04/11/2014

IBM Steps up Competition with MobileFirst Initiative

This week, IBM announced the expansion of its MobileFirst Consulting Services, its mobile solution portfolio launched in 2013 to streamline and accelerate enterprise mobile adoption. The announcement highlighted eight services designed to solidify mobile infrastructure consulting, mobile application management, and mobile device procurement and management services.  With this, IBM is further expanding its reach within a market that has matured and consolidated considerably within the past year.

IBM paves the way to go big with mobile solutions

IBM has made significant strides to increase the scope of its services, increasingly eschewing hardware in favor of applications and services and bolstering its already strong presence in the cloud. The firm’s acquisition of Fiberlink in November of last year came as no surprise and will provide the opportunity for IBM to be a significant player in their mobile infrastructure consulting services space. As early as 2012, VDC blogged that the roster of vendors offering EMM solutions would likely broaden to include a spectrum of technology-oriented vendors including hardware OEMs. Fiberlink, a mobile-first MDM vendor, was a smart and necessary acquisition if IBM wants to become a leader of MDM consulting services. In light of the tech giant’s recent activity, we believe that IBM is in a position to put programs in place to enable partners to sell its MobileFirst platform both as a managed service and on an a la carte basis. Given IBM’s resources and brand recognition, VDC feels it’s only a matter of time before IBM launches a large-scale marketing campaign to fully leverage its position and kick the competition into high gear.

Let the mobile hunger games begin

Recent activity in the mobile solutions market underscores how the sector is more competitive than ever. Wave after wave of acquisition have mostly cleared the way for larger companies, who are increasingly feeling the pressure to perform either on price or innovation. Following IBM’s acquisition of Fiberlink, VMware’s January acquisition of AirWatch and the much-anticipated entrance of Microsoft with its EMM solution offering announced at its Build event last week shows that the stakes are higher than ever. While these acquisitions provide the means to offer a broad portfolio of solutions, integrating these vendors quickly and efficiently is still critical.  

Those who have survived the acquisitions are digging in their heels for the long run: just last week, MobileIron filed its S1 in anticipation of going public and Good Technology isn’t far behind as it moves towards its own S1. The filings show a proven business model and investor confidence, but competition will still be high as IBM expands its reach and other large firms like Oracle and Dell enter the space. The market has matured at a lightning pace, with smaller and larger firms alike experiencing compressed timeframes as ever-larger companies enter the ring. 

(Reserach and contributions by Eric Klein and Katelyn Moroney)

03/17/2014

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:

Blog_graphic_31714

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)

02/28/2014

Unpacking Samsung’s MWC – Enterprise Implications

VDC met with Samsung at Mobile World Congress this week in Barcelona to discuss the company’s take on enterprise mobility as it announced the launch of the much-anticipated Galaxy S5. The smartphone, with its IP-67 rating for dust and water resistance is the second in Samsung’s lineup for a more ruggedized consumer device after the S4 Active. The latest product in the Galaxy family is leading the trend towards more durable, enterprise-oriented smartphones that continue to blur the line between consumer and enterprise devices that will only turn up the heat further on ruggedized OEMs, who are facing increased competition from their consumer-grade counterparts. In addition to a more ruggedized build, the S5 boats other enterprise-friendly security features such as two-factor authentication that incorporates both password and biometric verification, and the inclusion of its KNOX mobile security solution.

Refining mobile device management with KNOX 2.0

Although KNOX was originally announced at last year’s Mobile World Congress and launched in October of last year, Samsung has brought the security solution back into the headlines with the software’s second iteration as KNOX 2.0, which boasts a compliment of features like cloud-based enterprise mobility management (EMM) targeted at SMBs, a dedicated Knox Marketplace for enterprise applications, and support for third-party containers, such as Good Technology, MobileIron and Fixmo. While the newest version of the solution does not require applications to be wrapped (due to kernel enhancements) in order to work with KNOX, we wonder whether apps will need to be modified in order to work, and whether this could pose a potential problem for Samsung down the road.

As of yet, the activation rate remains modest, with 1 million user activations to date out of the 25 million devices that feature KNOX capabilities on the market today, although the manufacturer revealed to the media that it now see a monthly activation rate 210,000 devices. KNOX 2.0 firmly underscores Samsung’s belief in the solution’s potential in an enterprise setting, as the firm currently has 2,000 engineers working on KNOX and has partnered with 42 carriers globally to provide the solution.

Building a greater service presence

While Samsung has made considerable inroads into enterprise mobility with its hardware and MDM solutions, there are still considerable gaps on the service side that will need to be addressed, especially in looking to service Tier-1, multinational firms. Samsung has handily proven that it has the hardware capabilities to be successful with consumers, but to truly be successful in the quest to become more enterprise-friendly, it will need to get closer to clients. This is not to say that Samsung should build out direct sales; rather, the firm needs to establish a more direct relationship, both with partners and with end-users. In this vein, Samsung has had some early success; the company has been working closely with DMI on the massive DISA contact, and is expected to provide new details on the program’s expansion soon. Earlier this week Samsung revealed that it has entered into a strategic alliance with GEMA who continues to draw important partners into is ranks. While these relationships have put Samsung in a strong position, the company has a target on its back. BlackBerry has stumbled, but the company continues to maintain large enterprise deployments, and is betting big on the enterprise market as a mean of survival―others such as Lenovo and Microsoft are also in hot pursuit of the enterprise market and certainly have an opportunity to challenge Samsung going forward.

02/24/2014

Travel, Transport and Logistics organizations get on the Mobile Bandwagon

FeedHenry recently released a whitepaper in collaboration with VDC, examining the use of mobile apps in the transportation sector[1]. The findings underscore not only a trend in using mobile solutions to reduce operational costs and improve worker productivity, but also highlight the role they play in improved customer engagement and brand loyalty. Mobility is nothing new to this industry sector. However, the potential for innovation and transformation that can be gained from coupling smart device features with real-time transportation information cannot be ignored. Although the industry relies significantly on proprietary IT systems that were not conceived to be mobilized, the adoption of cloud computing and the emergence of new software tools liberates backend data to the mobile device - securely and easily.

An interesting finding is the extent to which the transportation sector is taking a more long-term, strategic view in the adoption of mobile technology as an integral part of operations. When asked which metrics were the most important to measure the benefits of mobile solutions, reduced operational costs and mobile worker productivity topped the list followed closely by “competitive differentiation and advantage”:

Most important metrics utilized to measure the benefits of mobile solutions in the transportation industry (Percent of respondents, multiple response question, n = 318)   Feedhenry2

 

The increased recognition of mobility as a driver of competitive differentiation speaks to a greater focus beyond here-and-now operational considerations and demonstrates a less opportunistic approach to mobility in favor of a longer term, holistic mobility strategy.

Overcoming legacy barriers

VDC research revealed that many transportation organizations have been delaying the modernization of aging IT systems and applications due to upfront capital costs, as well as maintenance and support. Until these legacy systems are superseded, companies need to look for ways to unleash the data and make it securely available to mobile devices. VDC believes that next generation mobile app platforms that use the cloud as a data abstraction layer can help to overcome these technical barriers and that organizations with a strong mobile mindset will benefit by using these platforms to create nimbler and more user-friendly applications that improve operational efficiency.

… with custom-developed applications as the key

Cloud-enabled solutions are helping organizations to move beyond traditional on-premise software licensing. Currently, 30% of respondents within the transportation sector stated that they were  developing their own applications internally – a proportion that VDC believes will only increase as the use of the cloud to connect mobile applications to backend systems will help to drastically reduce development time and costs.

Click here to download a copy of the complete report.

To join FeedHenry’s upcoming webinar on March 13th, 2014 presenting the challenges and a case study from a rail infrastructure provider, please register here.



[1] For the purpose of this Transportation covers Travel, Transport and Logistics

01/31/2014

Large-scale Deployments Increase Growth Potential for BLE, iBeacon

Bluetooth Low Energy (BLE) technology is poised to revolutionize consumer in-store experience in 2014, further augmenting already existing mobile retail applications. VDC research from last year revealed that 23% of retail organizations had rolled out mobile applications to supplement their current in-store services, and that an additional 42% planned to deploy mobile applications in 2014. BLE technology, like that of Apple’s iBeacon, strives to address this gap with increased location and engagement services by allowing devices to communicate directly with one another.

A cheaper, more precise way to engage consumers

BLE represents a drastic improvement from existing solutions like Near Field Communication (NFC) and GPS-based geo-location. Bluetooth beacons eliminate the need for close proximity for interaction between devices by vastly increasing the data transfer range from the current distance of 8 inches to 150 feet, and at a much reduced cost. Additionally, BLE has a greater potential consumer reach, as all mobile devices come equipped with Bluetooth capabilities, instead of requiring a specific installation, as is the case for NFC. The greater range and improved precision also allows for retail stores to use micro-triangulation services in-store to improve both analytical capabilities and in-store promotions, creating endless opportunities for personalized marketing strategies on an individual level. Consumers who opt in will be able to view information such as reward points, daily deals, and history of purchases upon entering a given store. Such interactions have the potential to increase both consumer spend per visit and overall brand loyalty.  As of January 2014, a handful of companies have begun trial runs for BLE technology, with Macy’s, American Eagle Outfitters, and Safeway Supermarkets all running iBeacon in select stores across the US.

iBeacon goes mobile

Other companies are looking to take the new technology out of the store and onto the road. This week, smart driving assistant maker Automatic announced its device, which plugs directly into a car’s data port will now support iBeacon, representing one of the largest BLE beacon deployments to date. Automatic speculates the roll out will transform the traditional iBeacon retail framework to provide their users with similar automotive services such as pay for parking, gas, or automatic alerts as they drive. If successful, this could help pave the way for greater integration of BLE as a payment solution, boosting acceptance for other POS solutions, like that of PayPal, which was announced in September of last year, but has yet to gain widespread adoption.   

BLE is lucrative, but barriers remain

While many of the advantages that BLE offers revolve around its energy efficiency and potential reach, these strengths are tempered by existing barriers to adoption. Although the energy requirements for businesses deploying BLE are low thanks to its design (the technology can run on coin-cell batteries for months or even years), this is not the case for mobile device users, who frequently keep their Bluetooth capabilities switched off to conserve battery life. VDC estimates that only small fraction of device users keep theirs switched on. Another barrier is the limited access for Android devices and even Apple devices to a certain extent. BLE’s current reach within the Android ecosystem is severely limited (the technology requires Android 4+) and Apple’s reach is not as pervasive as believed: only iOS devices from the 4S generation have the same capabilities. However, with the imminent launch of Android-based Datzing as an Apple competitor that can function on older phones, Android’s present gap in this market could narrow significantly in the year to come. Barriers also remain on the enterprise side, as BLE in its current incarnation requires individual apps. Currently, there is no central iPhone app to interact with retail beacons using iBeacon. For businesses that already have mobile apps, this presents less of a limitation, as the functionality can be added, but for firms, a dedicated app will need to be designed to capture the benefits of the new technology.

Privacy remains a primary conern

One of the remaining hurdles that BLE technology will need to overcome is the most pressing of them all: that of privacy. Right now, beacon technology is based on company-specific applications that require opting in. However, the question remains whether, despite the current opt-in setup,  users will want businesses to know their every step and whether payment software can be trusted to charge the correct amount to a customer’s  credit card. More importantly, the issue remains as to whether BLE can succeed given the current environment in which revelations of security breaches like that of Target are becoming increasingly prevalent. Additionally, there are growing concerns surrounding data collection and overall privacy that many companies will need to address in order to allay consumer fears. VDC believes that the inherent effectiveness of the technology has tremendous capacity for consumer buy-in and will likely overcome most concerns surrounding privacy and security, but firms will nevertheless have to work to earn and keep consumer trust as BLE continues to gain traction. 

 

(By Kathryn Nassberg.Research and written contribution by Katelyn Moroney, Research Intern for Mobile and Wireless)

09/30/2013

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.

06/27/2013

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.

06/24/2013

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.

05/15/2013

Can Apple Devices Rough the Rugged DSD Market?

According to a recent article from Mobile Enterprise Magazine, PepsiCo’s North American Beverages division has adopted Apple products into its Direct Store Delivery system. Not only are roughly 4,000 field merchandisers equipped with iPhones and 2,000 field managers with iPads, but PepsiCo has gone a step further and developed two iOS apps entirely in-house through its technology group:

Power4Merch

  • Enables merchandisers to view schedules, store and display details
  • Notifies merchandisers of driver arrival
  • Displays store details and account information

Manager’s Briefcase

  • Enables managers to coordinate and monitor deliveries, schedules and contracts
  • Displays pricing and planograms
  • Provides electronic versions of paperwork and automated notifications to merchandisers
Picture2This unprecedented move is sure to shake the DSD market, which is characterized by mature processes, long upgrade cycles and heavy reliance on legacy rugged devices. While consumer grade technologies have slowly but surely trickled into markets ranging from retail and healthcare to education and insurance, DSD organizations’ risk aversion and reliance on mature processes has thus far stunted adoption of smartphones and tablets in the DSD space.  PepsiCo’s move to implement iOS devices is even more risky given the considerable capital investment required to purchase solutions, integrate with existing (Windows-based) systems and train mobile workers. However, according to Brian Spearman (SVP of Go-To-Market and Service, PepsiCo North America Beverages), PepsiCo is seeing early success with this program, estimating that the new iOS apps save each employee an impressive 6 hours a week.

Use of Power4Merch and Manager’s Briefcase has actually increased the operational efficiency of the DSD system by facilitating real time communication, leveraging data, and eliminating the need for printed information such as schedules and order quantities.

Beyond facilitating advances in operational efficiency, DSD organizations are increasingly looking at consumer grade technologies as a means to enhance their brand and image in customer-facing merchandising activities. Devices such as the iPad are generally more visually appealing as well as easier to operate than traditional rugged devices. They boast high resolution and larger screens, making sales presentations and customer/end-user surveying activities more intuitive and effective. Further, many DSD drivers are already familiar with operating consumer grade technology, and companies may find it more cost-effective to leverage personal devices instead of those purchased by the company. These are clear advantages that could drive a shift towards consumer grade devices in the DSD market.

Picture1

A recent VDC survey of DSD IT decision-makers revealed that those in this price sensitive market feel that ruggedized devices may be overpriced relative to the value they provide. And yet, rugged vendors emphasize the total cost of device ownership, citing additional costs to manage and support consumer grade devices throughout their lifecycle (e.g. repairs, OS updates, and replacement cycle).  To address growing interest in the tablet form factor in the DSD market, vendors such as Panasonic and Motorola have been working to develop rugged tablets capable of utilizing apps and increasing operational efficiency as well. In the end, consumer grade devices are sure to make an entrance into the DSD market, albeit slow and cautious. Whether they will prosper will be determined when the first iPhone falls two inches to the ground and shatters. 

Stay tuned for more insights into the DSD Market.  VDC's Enterprise Mobility & Connected Devices Practice will be publishing its annual Direct Store Delivery Report by end of Q2.