MobileCon 2012 news wrap-up
The major themes at MobileCon 2012, held October 9â€“11 in San Diego, California, ran the gamut from the impact of BYOD to the mobile Internet of Things and M2M. Here’s a recap of Ovum’s take on the show.
Opening day keynotes highlight profound impact of mobile on enterprise business models â€“ Mike Sapien, Sara Kaufman
Todayâ€™s keynotes touched on the key mobile trends on most enterprise agendas â€“ how to deal with the increasing use of mobile devices in the enterprise, how to exploit Big Data, and mobileâ€™s growing impact on how enterprises do business. Mobility is no longer just for technology leaders; it is a fundamental part of running a successful and relevant business.
Stephen Trilling, Symantec CTO, laid out the basic conflict facing large organizations in terms of balancing the need for end-user freedom of access and ease of use, while establishing and enabling the IT organization to maintain tight control, security, and data protection for corporate information. Bridget van Kralingen, senior vice president at IBM Global Services, highlighted a key shift that needs to take place in enterprise thinking and the objectives of BYOD programs within the organization. â€śInsight is becoming a commodity,â€ť said Kralingen. She went on to explain that what companies can do with this insight or help others glean from it will create â€“ and even become â€“ the value going forward. The great opportunity with BYOD, in her view, is in creating value from massive data, not in maximizing the limited data of old.
The keynote most relevant to enterprises came from Zipcar chairman and CEO Scott Griffith who reinforced how fundamental mobile has become to doing business. â€śCars are now IP addresses,â€ť Griffith noted. Mobile is transforming how enterprises do business as consumers increasingly access the Web via mobile apps instead of web browsers.
Zipcarâ€™s unique self-service user model relies entirely on mobility, is strongly influenced by social media, and is driving new business models and marketing techniques. Griffith noted that almost 50% of Zipcarâ€™s customer activity occurs on mobile devices, and that percentage is rising. Mobile is a key driver of customer satisfaction and the entire customer experience, from reserving a car, to extending a reservation, to sending and receiving invoices and receipts, to reporting and managing accidents or damage, cleaning, or repair orders.
RIM branches out and strengthens its roots â€“ Mike Sapien, Sara Kaufman
RIMâ€™s CIO, Robin Bienfait, opened Wednesdayâ€™s MobileCon keynotes with a question to enterprises: â€śDoes your company have a plan for mobility or is it just happening to you?â€ť Ovumâ€™s survey of enterprise CIOs and ongoing research on this topic suggests that although enterprises rate improving security and privacy as a top strategic priority, many are allowing the demands of their internal users to drive unmanaged growth of mobility in multiple areas within the organization.
Bienfait provided an overview of some of the key products RIM expects to help restore its brand equity, relevance, and market share following a tough couple of years in which the company has focused considerable attention on the consumer market. These latest launches are a departure from its consumer-focused efforts and suggest a strategy in which RIM is branching out into new territory and strengthening its roots in the enterprise market.
RIM will launch its Blackberry 10 operating system in 1Q13, which will support other mobile operating systems including iOS and Android. RIM will also launch Blackberry Balance, a â€śdual-personaâ€ť solution that separates business and personal activities on mobile devices. Both launches seem to be late in coming for RIM, but nonetheless address key enterprise needs that help to reinforce the companyâ€™s relevance with enterprise customers. However, Ovum is concerned that the future success of these products might not match Bienfaitâ€™s optimism. First, both products come across as being too good to be true. RIM will likely face issues integrating the social networking and collaboration applications (which include Facebook, LinkedIn, Twitter, Webex, and Jabbar, among others) with the Blackberry Balance single client interface. Second, success for both products will take time to develop. The question then becomes, Will it be in time to turn the tide for RIM?
SAP stakes its place in the mobile Internet of Things â€“ Mike Sapien, Sara Kaufman
Todayâ€™s MobileCon keynotes took a decidedly more commercial tone as SAP and RIM each laid out their visions and insights on how the use of mobility continues to evolve. SAPâ€™s Sanjay Poonen, President of Technology and Innovation, impressed upon the audience that the Internet of Things has become a reality and mobility is driving this evolution. Poonen went on to stress how important mobile apps will be for driving mobile commerce for enterprises.
As Poonen rightfully pointed out, the explosion of connected devices in every aspect of our personal and professional lives presents a huge opportunity in applications and application development and for new entrants in the mobile commerce space. In response to this trend, SAP is partnering with anyone and everyone it can. In what was effectively a long advertisement of SAP products and services, Poonen reviewed an impressive list of SAPâ€™s partnerships across a wide range of verticals.
With a reported 80% of Fortune 500 companies working on mobile applications, itâ€™s not surprising SAP has put a stake in every conceivable vertical, offering its customers and partners a wide range of mobile applications and management solutions from mobile device management, multifunctional enterprise application platforms, workflow, to ERP, and many more. A large number of these partnerships are with global telcos. SAP claims to have relationships with many of the top global operators and is working on a number of key vertical projects, including a healthcare initiative with Swisscom, â€śSupermobileâ€ť applications with Vodafone, and mobile wallet solutions with Telefonica. This is clearly ERP meets mobile meets cloud trends in one major effort.
A big driver of the mobile application and commerce opportunity in the enterprise, and of SAPâ€™s interest in it, is that global telcos essentially want everything we own (Internet of Things) and use on a mobile data plan â€“ our cars, pets, houses, appliances, vending machines, and retail products. So this other explosion of devices in mobile networks â€“ the M2M connected device explosion â€“ is where SAP sees a huge growth opportunity in enterprise applications and cloud services. These connections need the cloud, and service providers and enterprises in turn will use this as a tool to generate new, additional value. If successful, they will also generate additional service revenue, not just from consumers, but from consumersâ€™ connected stuff and multiple personal devices. At the same time, vendors will also shift their focus from standalone devices to users and their personal area networks (PANs).
Sierra Wirelessâ€™s new M2M solution reduces infrastructure and development time â€“ Mike Sapien, Sara Kaufman
Sierra Wireless announced a new AirVantage M2M enhancement that takes it to the cloud. M2M automation and software tools are not new to the industry, but this offer integrates a partnership with Amazon to create a new M2M cloud-based platform and management system that incorporates Amazon cloud computing services.
Amazonâ€™s infrastructure, combined with Sierra Wirelessâ€™s existing business and experience in M2M hardware and services, provides an interesting new way to create an M2M offering without investing huge time, money, or resources. This solution provides both the platform and the service, which gives outsiders a quick way to become an M2M vendor or create a specific M2M application.
M2M and cloud are both big themes at MobileCon this year as big brands, small companies, and service providers attempt to exploit new opportunities in mobile and mobile commerce. The use of the cloud platform will provide quicker time to market and flexibility that could make or break some business models. Sierra Wireless showcased examples including espresso and water purification appliances, but these solutions could be used with any appliance that needs to be monitored or managed.
With all the years it has taken the M2M business and associated revenues to develop, this seems to be one area that allows early pilots and experimental applications to germinate with lower risk. We expect to see more M2M solutions like this that will put pressure on many of the large M2M platform providers that have invested years in less flexible, more costly infrastructure.
This is a great example of a growing trend we are seeing in the market. Service providers are using lower-cost infrastructure and faster development models to meet M2M market needs and opportunities without the complexity, long time to market, or development resources required by more traditional solutions.
Mike Sapien, Principal Analyst, Enterprise Telecoms
Sara Kaufman, Analyst, Telco Strategy
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