Several themes seemed to govern most of the conversation at this year's Mobile World Congress (MWC) including the proliferation of tablets, the momentum behind the Android platform and of course what will become of Nokia now that it is an OEM aligned to Microsoft in the smartphone segment.
These conversations will continue throughout 2011 but one key area that seemed to stand out relative to previous years was the mobile enterprise. We have highlighted some of the key areas illustrating why below.
1. Devices: It's no secret that device proliferation is occurring at a rapid rate and we witnessed a few key announcements relevant to the enterprise. Samsung, in launching the Galaxy S II smartphone as well as its 10.1-inch Galaxy Tab, placed business at the heart of the launch by emphasizing some additional enterprise features. HP showcased some of its recently launched WebOS mobile devices and also demoed its mobile printing applications. Motorola also talked up its Motorola Pro smartphone. Missing from this cast of course was RIM but we expect more from them later this year.
2. Mobility Management and Security: Much was heard from the array of players increasing their focus on providing cross-platform device management (MDM) and mobile security solutions. The MDM market is in chaos at the moment with many participants coming at the opportunity from a variety of angles each trying to compete on features across hardware management, security and application management as well as a range of mobile device platforms. There is real momentum in the market currently, driven in the most part by the maturing channel and growing preference from enterprises for managed services.
3. Mobile Applications: Enterprise interest in mobile apps is growing, whether customer-facing or employee-facing and many application vendors were on show. Antenna Software won the best mobile enterprise product of 2010 and we were also positive on QuickOffice in the cross-platform employee productivity space.
4. Machine-to-Machine: Perhaps one of the largest themes in enterprise this year was the embedded space and opportunity in M2M. We noticed a lot of activity in this area from both module and software players as well as the mobile operators. The market is growing quickly and there is much co-opetition across the hardware, software, connectivity and service layers as well as a strong need for industry standards. It's clear from MWC that the next wave for the internet is in connecting the next billions of devices over the coming years.
In summary, the announcements at MWC demonstrate the trends occuring in many companies - that device proliferation continues to drive immediate enterprise demand for mobility management and security solutions as well as mobile applications. Specific form factors such as the iPad, and maturing business transformation technologies such as M2M, have rapidly elevated the strategic importance of mobility across many functions within organisations. This will continue to make the mobile enterprise segment incredibly hot, long after MWC, over the next 12 months.
Next up? I look forward to speaking at IPQC's Enterprise Mobility Exchange in Brussels May where many global CIOs will convene to discuss best practice in deploying mobility across their organisations. Feel free to check out the event.