Last week, tens of thousands of service providers, vendors, developers, partners, enterprise IT decision-makers, enthusiasts, press, and analysts descended on Barcelona for the annual festival of all things mobile. As in 2013 and 2014, vendors and providers concerned with enterprise mobility had a large footprint at the show. Among the much-hyped hardware releases, talk of the Internet of Things (IoT), and various other announcements, a few key themes emerged for those of us focused on mobile management and security for businesses.
Android for Work is front of mind
Android for Work was the most prevalent point of discussion among enterprise mobility management (EMM) software vendors, even if Google was not making a big song and dance about it. Offering a secure container to easily separate work and personal activity and data on the same device (allowing enterprise IT to secure and manage the corporate data while leaving the personal side alone) will make Android adoption far more palatable for a lot of businesses. Android for Work is available on a range of devices from different hardware vendors running the latest version of Android (Lollipop), or as a downloadable app for other devices running Ice Cream Sandwich or newer versions. With full backing from Google – which finally appears to be taking the enterprise seriously – and support from a wide range of EMM vendors, this spells huge competition for Samsung Knox and other similar solutions aiming to provide a secure container on Android.
Digital workspaces to enable multiscreen, cross-platform working are a common goal – with partner ecosystems key
All major EMM vendors are now driving their product strategies around the key theme of digital workspaces. Managing all apps and devices (including IoT devices) from one platform is the goal they have in mind, as made evident in conversations with the likes of VMware, Citrix, Microsoft, SAP, IBM, SOTI, and AVG. Managed mobile service providers such as Tangoe, DMI, and Mobi are also talking in these terms.
However, no vendor can yet offer everything required to provide this digital workspace holy grail, so they are all trying to plug gaps with partnerships. Building partner ecosystems was another key theme at the show – you were more likely to hear an announcement from EMM vendors about new partners than about a specific product launch.
The SMB segment is under renewed focus
The SMB segment has been underserved by mobility management vendors, with one or two previously attempting to engage with it without much success. There is a realization among vendors that they won’t be able to sell directly to small businesses, but that mobile carriers provide a potential channel as trusted brands with existing relationships. AVG is a good example of a vendor looking to launch mobile management and security for SMBs and targeting carriers as key partners.
Harnessing the Real Transformational Power of Mobile Enterprise Apps, IT0021-000054 (February 2015)
2015 Trends to Watch: Enterprise Mobility, IT0021-000031 (November 2014)
Richard Absalom, Senior Analyst, Enterprise Mobility and Productivity Software