by Purushottam Darshankar
Amidst the gloomy economic scenario, year 2008 saw companies of all sizes, in many vertical markets, and across various geographic regions identifying enterprise mobility initiatives as key priorities, and that is unlikely to change dramatically in 2009. Organizations still face the challenge of tracking and managing decentralized workforces and reducing operational costs. Concerns around mobile security continue to inhibit the uptake of mobile solutions, especially among financial services organizations, however, the mobilization of enterprises is growing, from simple applications, such as email, to more complex one such as mobile SCM.
In 2008, Forrester’s survey results show that between 40% and 60% of enterprises in North America and Europe identified more mobility support to employees, implementation of fixed-mobile convergence (FMC) solutions, and formalization of a mobile strategy as critical priorities.
The iPhone launch in 2008 caused a mobile operating systems war which will continue in year 2009. The mobile device market will still continue to remain fragmented across BlackBerry, Windows Mobile, Symbian, iPhone and Android smartphones. The launch of iPhone has increased user interface expectation of end users as touch screen interface based phone will continue to dominate in 2009. As a result, iPhone will make a more significant dent in the enterprise mobility market, primarily among SMBs. However the BlackBerry will continue to lead the enterprise mobility market, knowing the security that BalckBerry offers. In 2009, vendors will develop devices that will address the dual needs of personal and professional use of mobile devices as well as implications on device size, battery life, keyboard requirements, and form factors.
In recent months, a number of major industry players that includes handset makers, and operators, have announced their concerns about handset volumes in 2009. According to IDC, total mobile phone volumes will be 1.9 percent lower in 2009 than 2008, the first downturn in annual shipment volumes since 2001. Lower prices will make converged mobile devices an attractive choice for consumers despite the fact consumers may choose to hold on to their current devices rather than replace or upgrade them.
In 2009, there will be rise in mobile application deployments in Asia Pacific region, particularly for mobile information applications such as email, calendar, and personal information. 2008 saw very interesting Location-based services applications for employee productivity improvements or worker efficiency. LBS will continue to remain a key component in variety of other applications including business, social networking and advertising domain. With 3G services to be rolled out in India, 2009 will see more advanced and data-heavy mobile applications and services on employee’s mobile device. These would require more sophisticated mobile middleware platforms to monitor and mange the applications.
Currently the enterprise mobility ecosystem is fragmented – companies offering mobile applications, mobile device management, mobile security solutions, mobile content etc. Many of these vendors have focused on developing specific type of application or services – such as SYBASE for mobile middleware, Pyxis mobile for financial market solution etc. In 2009, we will see mobility vendor consolidation as system integrator and mobile middleware vendors snatch up small players in the ecosystem, in order to expand their breadth in overall enterprise mobility service and solution capabilities.
As we look ahead to the challenging economic environment of 2009, the service providers, device makers, software vendors and mobile application developers will focus on their strategy to fulfill the demand for enterprise mobility solutions and the competition for products and services.