Glimpse into the future of mobile at Mobile World Congress 2013
The dust is settling on Mobile World Congress 2013, which makes it easier to see what topics from the conference will probably have the most longevity for businesses in the coming year.
Here are the three themes from MWC that I think will prove to be most pertinent for businesses wanting to make more of mobility:
- The mobile phone is a computer, enabling better productivity
Talking and texting is still a core function of the phone, but a larger and faster-growing aspect of the device is its capabilities as a fully functional (if small) computer. There was a real focus at MWC on operating systems which enable seamless, triple-screen productivity for the business person, and vendors like Microsoft are seeking to position their OS as the engine that facilitates that consistent experience across devices: phone, tablet and desktop computer.
- Managing the blurry line between personal and business device
Bring your own device (BYOD) is coming more to the fore, raising real challenges in areas of security and mobile device management. I was interested to see demonstrations at MWC where the user presses a key to activate a second, business-only profile on a personal mobile, giving access to corporate e-mail and applications which can be centrally managed by the company IT policy. Dual profiles will be interesting for companies needing to satisfy end-users’ requests for mobility.
- Network quality and cloud apps availability are paramount
The evolution towards greater business productivity on mobile, as outlined above, is only possible because of network quality, specifically the development of 4G. Cloud services (and highly functional mobile devices) are proliferating because of the improved speed and quality in mobile networks. The network is the foundation that allows users to feel that the mobile and tablet experiences are as responsive as the desktop experience.
Visiting the Mobile World Congress offers a good annual opportunity to get a sense of how the industry is developing, and what areas businesses need to think about for the next 12 months. For me, what was most notable this year was the maturity in the marketplace – evident in the emergence of industry-specific solutions from device manufacturers, for example (they are aiming clearly at healthcare and education) and in the broader range of companies exhibiting.
As mobility becomes one of most critical capabilities businesses can offer their staff, it will be interesting to see how those industry offerings develop even further in the coming year.
Gary Disley is Director of Marketing for eircom Business.