IDC’s mobility analyst, David Cannon, shares his thoughts on what’s driving mobility today:
Devices versus connectivity: In a lot of cases, it can be a chicken and egg scenario in terms of which comes first. After the connectivity is there, the applications will be delivered, as will the business models. We all unanimously agree that when you’re trying to extend out IT functionality, particularly CRM and email applications to mobile workforce of some kind, a smart handheld device isn’t going to cut it. Therefore, there is an opportunity in the market from a device perspective, to try and capitalise on that and come up with a killer device to push applications to the edge. Does that device already exist in the form of a mini-notebook? The answer is possibly yes.
Form factor: People have been working with PDAs for the last decade, and really what you’re doing is electronifying what used to be a paper-based form. When they moved to PDAs, the value-add was that they only had to put the information in once. The problem was information wasn’t being put into the system until they want back into the office. What we’re talking about now as the value-add is that it happens in real-time. Yes, there is a competitive advantage and ROI attached to that. Certainly, we’ve talked about core architectures and virtualisation, and there’s a play for thin clients going forward. You’re talking about people working at home, or working through a hypervisor solution, which means you can use a netbook with no software but plug it into a thin client at home and guarantee the security.
Market watch: My research shows the medium-sized market is the market adopting mobility the most. Traditional logistics, property management organisations bringing on field-force automation are the biggest users.. It’s quite important that we move into that stage where mobility is the enabler, because the big pushback I see from end users is they have a multi-device, vendor environment and to get a third party to create applications for all these different devices is a costly exercise to do. Then they can’t be guaranteed end users will use them.
Applications: For me, email is the killer app, and simple things like using managed email solutions is great. And the perfect thing for the channel is the telcos aren’t doing that yet. There is a great opportunity for solid managed email services for a white-collar environment and filtering down to the masses.